If Ohio State was looking to prove it belonged it the College Football Playoff, mission accomplished.

The fifth-ranked Buckeyes lead No. 8 USC 24-7 at halftime of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Friday night.

Ohio State has taken advantage of three Trojans turnovers, beginning with a first-quarter Deontay Burnett fumble, which led to a 1-yard J.T. Barrett touchdown run. The Buckeyes added to their lead with a 26-yard Sean Nuernberger field goal early in the second quarter, which was followed by a Damon Webb pick-6 interception of USC quarterback Sam Darnold.

Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis proceeded to strip Darnold, setting up a 28-yard Barrett touchdown run. The Trojans finally got on the board following a Buckeyes turnover of their own, when wide receiver K.J. Hill fumbled a punt return, leading to a 1-yard Ronald Jones II touchdown run.

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