Southern Cal 35, Ohio St. 26
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Ricky Ervins rushed for a career-high 199 yards and two touchdowns and No. 18 Southern Cal used an overpowering ground game to beat No. 15 Ohio State 35-26 on Saturday in a game called by officials with 2:36 remaining.
Heavy rains and lightning in the second half thinned a crowd of 89,422 at Ohio Stadium. Officials met with both coaches twice in the fourth quarter, but did not stop play.
After Ohio State (2-1) had scored with 2:38 remaining, and Southern Cal had recovered the ensuing onsides kick, officials called the game.
It was the first time in 101 years of Ohio State football that a game had been called before completion.
Southern Cal (3-1), which had totaled 248 yards rushing in its first three games, ran for 331 yards on 48 carries against an Ohio State defense that came in ranked third in the nation against the rush.
In a 31-0 Pac-10 loss at Washington last week, the Trojans had rushed 25 times for 28 yards, but they gained that much on their second attempt of the game.
Ervins, who did not play in the fourth quarter, had been held to five yards on nine attempts against the Huskies, but picked up 164 yards and both of his touchdowns in the first half.
Unlike last year when Ohio State scored first before USC roared back for a 42-3 victory, the Trojans got off to a fast start as Willie McGinest blocked a punt by Ohio State’s Jeff Bohlman and Zuri Hector returned it eight yards for the Trojans’ first score.
Ervins rushed four times for 55 yards on USC’s next possession, capping an 80-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.
Ohio State countered on a 46-yard field goal by Tim Williams and a 17-yard touchdown pass from Greg Frey to Bobby Olive.
But Ervins carried nine times for 53 yards on a 73-yard drive as Southern Cal went up 21-10 at halftime.
The Trojans made it 28-10 when fullback Scott Lockwood broke through a hole in the middle and cut to the left sideline for a 66-yard touchdown run. He had totaled 33 yards on 12 carries in the first three games.
After Ohio State scored on a 29-yard pass from Frey to Jeff Graham - Frey hitting Bernard Edwards for the two-point conversion - USC quarterback Todd Marinovich scored on a 1-yard run.
Ohio State’s Raymont Harris scored on a 1-yard run and Frey hit Graham for the conversion points before the officials met with both coaches and called the game.
Marinovich hit 11 of 23 passes for 119 yards with two interceptions as USC totaled 450 yards on offense.
Frey completed 19 of 36 passes for 262 yards with an interception and freshman tailback Robert Smith had 54 yards on 12 carries to lead Ohio State, which had 341 yards on offense. Ohio State rushed for just 79 yards.
Ohio State lost for the fifth straight time to the Trojans. Southern Cal coach Larry Smith is 4-0 in games against Ohio State coach John Cooper.