DALLAS — Tate Martell did again Tuesday what he has done most of his freshman season, which was give the Ohio State defense a tough quarterback to deal with as he worked with the scout-team offense.

His efforts have been praised by coaches and teammates several times this year, and such was the case as he emulated USC quarterback Sam Darnold, even though at 5 feet 11, Martell isn’t exactly a carbon copy of the 6-4 Darnold.

What has impressed offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson most about Martell has been his switch to a selfless attitude, keeping in mind that when he signed with the Buckeyes almost 12 months ago he was considered the top dual-threat QB prospect in the country. Wilson thinks the influence of fourth-year starter J.T. Barrett and first-year OSU quarterbacks coach Ryan Day had a lot to do with it.

“In time, Tate became a sponge and started absorbing,” Wilson said. “The highly touted quarterback and all the accolades that he comes in with kind of get shoved aside. He really took off (at the) midpoint of this season.”

Martell even played running back and receiver on the scout team when asked.

“And he has been a phenomenal quarterback,” Wilson said, adding that “for a freshman and as a quarterback, he has grown a lot. He is still young, but he has grown up being a good teammate.

“That's hard at quarterback, because at quarterback, you're always ‘the guy.’ And because of that, he has earned a lot of respect from a lot of peers on this team.”

No ‘Roll Tide!’ from Dobbins

Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins didn’t hesitate when asked who he will root for in the Clemson-Alabama semifinal game in the College Football Playoff.

“I just don’t think Bama deserves to be there,” he said.

Alabama has only one loss but didn’t advance to the SEC title game after losing to Auburn, and it lacks marquee victories.

“I think we should have been there,” Dobbins said. “We shot ourselves in the foot, but the committee is all about who is the best team. I think the last few games of the season, we proved we’re one of the best teams.”

Trojans knew they were long shot

Like Ohio State, USC was a two-loss conference champion that hoped to make the playoff. But the Trojans’ disappointment is tempered by the reality that they were a long shot to be selected.

“This is the best situation we could be in right now,” All-Pac-12 linebacker Cameron Smith said. “I remember when Kirk Herbstreit announced this game, and it sounded like he was even more excited to watch this game than the playoff games. There is so much tradition behind both universities.”

Barrett has last meeting with media

In his four years as starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett has met with the media countless times. On Tuesday at the Cotton Bowl, he had the final news conference of his career, other than what he will say postgame. It’s not one of the things he will particularly miss.

“I don’t think we have bad vibes between us,” he told reporters. “I do it because I feel I’m OK at it and everybody wants to hear from the quarterback, which is fine. Talking to the media, it’s cool, but I’m not going to miss it.”

But he accepts it, even after defeats, as a responsibility of his position.

“That’s part of the game,” he said. “You play quarterback, and after a loss you still talk to the media.”