This was not how they drew it up.
The Trojans committed four turnovers and No. 8 USC fell to No. 5 Ohio State, 24-7, in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night in Arlington, Texas.
Sophomore standout Sam Darnold committed three of those turnovers, throwing a pick six, followed by a fumble that turned into 14 points for the Buckeyes in the second quarter.
It was evident early on that it was not the Trojans night as wide receiver Deontay Burnett fumbled the ball on the opening drive, giving Ohio State excellent field position on their first possession.
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett ran the ball in on a read option for the Buckeyes first score and Ohio State jumped out to an early lead.
After Ohio State started the second half with a field goal, they scored 10 points in 13 seconds when Darnold made an ill-advised throw on the first play of the ensuing drive, and Damon Webb took it to the house for an interception return for a touchdown.
The 23-yard interception return for a touchdown was the first pick-six of the season for Ohio State, and it came at the best time for the Buckeyes.
Darnold's second turnover of the game came midway through the second quarter when he was sacked by Tyquan Lewis, and lost the ball, allowing another Ohio State score by Barrett off the turnover.
Trailing 24-0, the Trojans finally got on the scoreboard following a muffed punt by K.J. Hill, and USC scored six plays later on a run by Ronald Jones II.
On the same field they won their first championship under head coach Urban Meyer three years ago, Ohio State's saved the day as they sacked Darnold eight times in the game. All four touchdowns in the game came off turnovers.
The Trojans had their chances in the second half, but a missed field goal, followed by another fumble by Darnold—this time inside the red zone—put a sour end to USC's 2017 season.
Both teams were snubbed by the college football playoff this season despite winning their conference championship.
For many USC seniors and star players, this was the final game of their collegiate career. One of those players could be Darnold, who is projected to be the second quarterback taken in the NFL draft should he decide to turn pro.
The Buckeyes meanwhile will see junior cornerback Denzel Ward and quarterback J.T. Barrett head to the NFL after each declared for the NFL draft earlier in the week.