It's never too late for Rose Bowl trash talk!

April, 13, 2010
4/13/10
12:31
PM ET
It appears that Oregon's new system for delivering offensive signals, which was developed, at least in part, in response to a belief that Ohio State stole hand signals during the Rose Bowl, has earned some Big Ten attention.

Writes Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg:
Did the Buckeyes steal signals? We might never know for sure, but I don't think it's why they won the Rose Bowl. I saw a physically superior group of defenders execute the scheme and their fundamentals against a gimmicky offense. Ohio State was extremely well prepared for the game, and Oregon ball carriers didn't have the room to run or the arm tackles that they were accustomed to in the Pac-10.

Oregon had its chances to win, and the Ducks didn't make enough plays. Sideline signals are an important part of the game.

So is not fumbling the ball through the end zone for a touchback.

A couple of things here.

First off, the final line is notable: If Jeremiah Masoli and LeGarrette Blount don't screw up a handoff near the Ohio State goal line, the Rose Bowl probably would have played out far differently.

And if wishes were fishes then cows would fly. What if, what if, what if: The Ducks fumbled, case closed.

Still, if Buckeyes fans would be so humble as to remember the momentum of the game to that point, there would be no ridiculous talk of "domination."

Oregon rushed for 179 yards and averaged 5.4 yards per carry against the Buckeyes. That's nearly double what they'd been giving up during the regular season.

Ohio State rushed for 153 yards -- 42 yards less than it averaged during the regular season -- and averaged 3.0 yards per carry, which is 1.5 yards less than the season average. Ohio State running backs accounted for just 87 yards, with a long run of 11 yards.

There are two reasons Ohio State won the Rose Bowl. It got vastly superior quarterback play -- a career-best performance from Terrelle Pryor -- while Masoli reverted to his Boise State passing form: 9-of-20 for 81 yards with a pick.

The second reason? Ohio State's defensive line, to steal a Chip Kelly phrase, won the day.

I even asked Kelly about this very topic last week.

"Their D-line was better than our O-line," Kelly said simply. "That was the best defensive line we saw all season."

So, no, hand-signal thievery wasn't the chief excuse, er, reason.

Not that it didn't happen.

On the plus side for the Ducks, all five starters are back on the O-line. Ohio State's D-line is now more of a question.

Of course, it's likely Ohio State is feeling a bit better than Oregon about its quarterback situation.

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