Drew Thurman (10:09 am)

Offense:

The Buckeye offense finally looked like an offense again on Saturday against Minnesota. The Buckeyes accumulated 414 yards, and probably could have had over 500 had they not taken the foot of the gas in the fourth quarter. Still though, the most impressive statistic of the day had to be the 7.5 yards the Buckeyes averaged as a team on the ground. A lot of this can be credited to Beanie Wells being back in the lineup. This truely was Beanie's day, and his returned sparked a lot of energy throughout the offense. His 106 yards looked very impressive, and Minnesota truely had no answer for his power and speed.

After Beanie, this was also another big day for Terrelle Pryor. Pryor rushed for 97 yards in the game, and had two huge touchdowns. The first one of 33 yards got the offense going for the rest of the game. He only had 70 yards and one touchdown in the air, but was 8 of 13 and had no interceptions.

The third man that stepped up in this game was Brian Robiskie. Many complained about Robiskie's performance early this season, but he looked to finally be back in sync with 90 yards and 2 touchdowns. I credited this to the emergence of Terrelle Pryor and Robiskie's health finally improving.

Outside of these three gentlemen, they only thing I was really impressed in was the offensive line. It's sad that I am impressed when the offensive line actually does its job, but I was. Many of the offensive linemen made it clear that Tressel had fired them up this week, and they played like it (Thank you Jim Bollman). They opened holes all day against the Golden Gophers, and helped the team rush for 279 yards. Let's hope they keep this attitude up!

Defense:

The defense looked really good in this game. Sure they gave up 15 points in the fourth quarter, but that was with subs in the game and a less aggressive approach with the game in hand. So, I grade the defensive unit based on the first three quarters. In those quarters the defense gave up just 6 points. On top of that, Minnesota accumulated 149 of it's abysmal 268 total yards on late drives in the fourth quarter.

The Buckeyes defense also forced three big turnovers in the game. Donald Washington had an interception, finally putting his name back on the map for fans. He still did not have a single tackle in the game, but it is nice to see him out there again. The Buckeyes also forced two fumbles in the game. The one that was most confusing had to be the one Anderson Russell came up with. There is no way this should have been a fumble if the referees would have whistled the play dead, but I was sure glad for the luck. We are starting to see this late whistle trend from referees on plays like that, and I just don't understand what is going on!

There were a few individuals who had good games against Minnesota. Obviously Laurinaitis had a huge game with 12 total tackles in the game, but he was not the only linebacker who had a big day. Ross Homan had 10 total tackles in the game, one of which was a tackle for loss. The Buckeyes need Homan to step up, and this was a good sign. I am a little worried about him when we play teams that have better tight end weapons, but this was a solid game for Homan. Lastly, this was a good game for Anderson Russell who had 7 total tackles and two forced fumbles.

Special Teams:

The special teams once again was not too flashy, but they did do their job. Ryan Pretorius was 2/3 in the field goal department, and his long was 44 yards. Aaron Pettrey had seven kickoffs, and 3 were touchbacks. So the kicking game was not bad at all. AJ Trappaso averaged 54.5 yards on 2 punts, showing us once again that he can boot the ball. I am not sure I like him in short punt situations, but he can punt it a mile.

There really is not much to say about the return game against Minnesota. Ray Small did not return any punts in the game, but it was nice to finally see him fair catch the ball. Brandon Saine returned three kickoffs in the game, and really didn't impress me that much. He did boulder a few Gophers over on each return, but he looked a step slow. I really hope that Saine can finally get himself 100 percent healthy because he is a major weapon.

Overall:

This was a game both the players and fans needed. There was excitement in the air, and the Buckeyes did a lot of good things in the game. This team has some big tests upcoming, and this game surely had to help with their confidence.

The Buckeyes are going to have to get better at the little things if they plan on winning the Big Ten though. Once again the team was plagued with 10 penalties for 90 yards. Two of these were terrible calls (facemask, and pass interference on Jenkins) that set up a field goal for the Gophers. With that said though, the Buckeyes are shooting themselves in the foot a lot, and this has to improve.

Overall though, I was very excited with what I saw on Saturday. This next week is going to be very difficult for this team, and getting guys like Wells and Robiskie back in sync was huge. If this team gives the effort they did against Minnesota every week, they have some great things ahead!

 
 

Drew Thurman (5:01 pm)

 The Buckeyes finally looked like they had some energy again today against the Golden Gophers. Why the difference? Well, lets see...

-The students were back and loud
-Beanie returned with 106 yards
-Pryor once again provided lots excitement
-Lots of young guys playing
-The changes on the defensive line
-Tressel finally fired up the offensive line

This team is starting to hit its stride again, and if Beanie stays healthy watch out! There was a lot to hang your hat on today, even despite the late points by Minnesota. Many of you are upset about us letting up at the end, but I am not sure why. Why risk an energy to a key player, and why not play some youngsters? This was still a very huge step in the right direction for the Buckeyes, and those late points took nothing away from that. Let's get over the stupid public perception thing!

Anyways, I am watching some pretty crappy Big Ten football right now (AKA Michigan, Purdue, and Wisconsin), and I still love our chances in the Big Ten. Sure the Illinois vs. Penn State game tonight will be telling, but I feel we are hitting our stride at the right time. Go Bucks!

Check us out tomorrow for a full write up of the game!  

 
 

Drew Thurman (4:33 pm)

Mascot: Golden Gophers

Stadium: HHH Metrodome (64,172)

2007 Record: 1-11

2008 Record: 4-0

Coach: Tim Brewster (2nd Season at Minnesota, 5-11)

Letterman: 42 Returning, 18 Lost

Returning Starters: Offense - 8, Defense - 7, Specialist - 2

Base Defense: 4-3

Base Offense: Ace (3 Wideouts)

Returning Stars: QB Adam Weber, DE Willie VanDeSteeg

Overview:

After winning only one game a year ago, Minnesota has come out 4-0 to start the 2008 season off. The level of competition they have played has been average at best, but they are undefeated regardless. They struggled in week one against Northern Illinois (1-2), but then have won rather easily over Bowling Green (1-2), Montana State (1-2), and Florida Atlantic (1-3) since.

On offense the Gophers have been very balanced thus far. They are led my quarterback Adam Weber. Weber has thrown for 967 yards with 7 touchdowns with an impressive one intereception. Weber has one extreme favorite target in wideout Eric Decker. Decker was almost an 1,000 yard receiver last season, and already has 454 yards and 4 touchdowns to start the 2008 campaign. Besides Decker, expect Weber to hit Duane Bennett and Ben Kuznia as well. Don't count out Weber's feet either. Despite being sacked 6 times, he still has accumulated 149 yards on the ground with 2 touchdowns.

The ground game is "done by committee," in typical Minnesota fashion. The man that will lead the charge is running back DeLeon Eskridge. So far, Eskridge has 211 yards 5 touchdowns. He is averaging 4.3 yards a carry which is the worst of any of the running backs that get significant playing time. Those other runners are Duane Bennett (147 yards, 2 TD) and Shady Salamon (122 yards, 2 TD).

On defense, Minnesota brings a much more mature unit than a year ago. They have given points though. Besides the Florida Atlantic game where the gave up just three points, the Gopher defense has let some weak opponents accumulate a lot of points. So far Minnesota has actually been led by it's defensive backs. That unit has come up with 6 of the 8 interceptions forced by Minnesota, and have three of the top four tacklers on the team. The most impressive of the defensive backs in probably junior safty Tramaine Brock. He already has 28 tackles, 21 of which are solo and an interception.

Outside of the defensive backs the Gophers also have very strong defensive ends. Expect to hear the names Lee Campbell and Willie VanDeSteeg a lot on Saturday, especially Van DeSteeg who already has 6 tackles for loss.  

Cheerleaders:

Notable Alumni:

Bob Dylan - Singer/ Songwriter
Peter Graves - Actor
Ron Pearlman - Actor
Flip Saunders - NBA Coach
Tony Dungy - NFL Player and Coach
Marion Barber III - Cowboys RB
Herb Brooks - Hockey Coach (1980 Olympics)
Kevin McHale - NBA Player

Prediction:

On offense I think you see the Buckeyes really try to pound it at Minnesota's defensive tackles and linebackers. With strong defensive ends and a quick secondary, look for the Buckeyes to keep it between the tackles a lot. Beanie will probably get 8-12 carries at most I would think, so you will still see a lot of Boom Herron. Of course Pryor will once again be a huge factor for the Buckeyes. I think Tressel opens up the playbook even more for Pryor this week, and we get to see him run some interesting formations. Once again, his ability to extend plays with his feet will set up the long ball to our wideouts.

On defense I could see the Buckeyes struggling against Minnesota's spread. The Gophers do a little bit of everything, and once again this could be very frustrating to watch our defense defend. The key will be stuffing the run early and forcing Weber to throw the ball for the victory. Look for Malcolm Jenkins to guard Decker and keep him in check for most of the game. I think Minnesota will move the ball with lots of quick hitting passes and some draw plays out of the backfield.

Overall, the biggest advantage the Buckeyes have is that they are playing at home. Oh, and also the fact the Glen Mason will be an honorary captain on the sideline. I think Minnesota will move the ball, but I expect our defense to clamp down in the red zone and force field goals. If Beanie stays healthy, look for us to get our mojo and confidence back. I think it will be a fight early on, but the Buckeyes break away in the fourth quarter. Time for the Big Ten schedule...

Final Score: Ohio State 33 Minnesota 16

 
 

Drew Thurman (12:45 pm)

I once again have taken some trends I have seen on the forums, and decided to insert some of my own opinion. Time for fact or fiction...

Trend in Opinion #1: Ohio State's defense has gotten worse in the tackling department instead of better.

My Opinion: Fact. Just go back and watch Jernigan's 45 yard touchdown grab this last week, and the answer to this is easy. I do not know if it is passion, coaching, or what, but the defense has looked terrible trying to wrap people up. The only guy that looked really good in this department against Troy was Jermale Hines. He seemed to be around the ball all day long, and really lowered his shoulder to make the hit. Besides that, the tackling for the defense graded out at a C at best.

Trend in Opinion #2: Jim Tressel does not know how to use Terrelle Pryor's skills.

My Opinion: Fiction. It is pretty hard to base Tressel's game plan for Pryor based off of a few games. Besides that, he is a true freshman! Florida did not open all the playbook for Tebow at the beginning of his freshman year, and neither is Tressel. Believe me, Tressel has a lot up his sleeve for Pryor. This should be evident by looking at Tressel's history. Look at Troy Smith's career for instance, Tressel opened the playbook more and more as Troy got more experience under his belt. The same will be true with Pryor. It is easy to get anxious because of his extreme talent, but just be patient. Tressel has big things in store for Pryor!

Trend in Opinion #3: The Buckeyes this year are plagued with "senoritis."

My Opinion: Fact. This offseason Buckeye fans rejoiced that the Buckeyes were returning so many starters. Now four games in, it seems that has hindered us more than helped. Michigan last year faced a similar problem, and now the Buckeyes are dealing with it. Think about it, this senior class has been through a lot together, and have seen some highs and lows. After already being beaten badly in two National Championships, this team looked like they gave up in the second half against USC. I am hoping that this is not a trend for when the Buckeyes face difficult times this season, but you have to wonder how much fight these seniors have left in them.

The most encouraging thing for fans had to be the excitement of the youngsters in the Troy game. They seem to be adding a spark that has been missing since Beanie's injury, and I hope we see some more of guys like Posey, Thomas, Williams, and Sabino. They all seem to be more motived, and playing them could help this team find its stride again.

Trend in Opinion #4: The Buckeyes will lose two more games before the season ends.

My Opinion: Fact, but I say that with reservation. There are a lot of question marks for the Buckeyes, and if those get answered who knows how good this team could be. The first one has to be Beanie's health. If Beanie is healthy we become a very scary team, but without him we will struggle in a few upcoming games. The second question mark has to be our defense, and in particular our defensive line. The Buckeyes have shuffled things around a little bit this week, and they needed too! This team has to get more production from the defensive tackles or it could get ugly, especially against Wisconsin. The last big question mark is Terrelle Pryor's play. Yes he looked great against Troy, but how does he handle the Big Ten schedule as a freshmen? If he can keep mistakes to a minimum and continue to look to pass first, this team will continue to perform.

Even with all that said though, if the run defense does not improve this will be a long year. Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Penn State will all throw different kinds of rushing attacks at us. If we perform the way we have on defense so far, two more losses is not out of the question at all!

 
 

Drew Thurman (9:55 pm)

I am not sure how many of you got to see this interview with Terrelle Pryor, but it is very impressive. No offense to Todd Boeckman, but this interview further shows why Pryor should be the starting quarterback at Ohio State. We need a real leader at that position, and Pryor models leadership and class. He is not just talent on the field, but someone fans can be proud of off the field. We need more guys that bleed scarlet and gray like this. I loved this interview, so enjoy...

 
 

Dave Thurman (2:27 pm)

One of the most outstanding characteristics of the 2002 Silver Bullet defense was their swagger. Guys like Will Smith, Mike Doss, Chris Gamble, and Matt Wilhelm walked into the stadium with an air about them that said, "We're bad, we know it, and you can't do anything about it!" Call it confidence, cockiness, or whatever you want, but that team knew they were good and they dared the opposition to move the ball on them. The offense was often unreliable during that National Championship run, because Maurice Clarett was hurt so often, and Craig Krenzel, for all of his moxie and leadership, possessed a very average arm. So the defense took it upon themselves to make big plays, and keep the other team from scoring. It was as if they took it personally when an opponent dented the end zone.

Move ahead to the past couple of years, and the one thing I see missing from the defense, more than any other, is that swagger. We've had some great individual players like Gholston, Laurinaitis, and Jenkins, but I don't see that "take no prisoners" attitude. I think we play on our heels most of the time, waiting for the other team to make a mistake, instead of forcing errors on their part. We hope they will self destruct, and too often it doesn't happen.

Now to be fair, our defensive line is simply not as talented as that 2002 group. I'm not sure if it's lousy recruiting or poor player development or both, but this is one of the weakest defensive lines I have seen in many years. I have a hard time believing that a good coach couldn't get better results, but I also have come to the conclusion that this group isn't as talented as the D-line that helped win OSU a national title.

However, on paper, our back seven this year is as talented as any team in the nation. So why aren't they playing better? Why do they struggle to stop people on third down? How come they miss so many tackles? Above all, I think they lack that intangible I am calling "swagger." They don't have meanness, the "go for the juggler" mentality, the "in your face" confidence that is needed. Every so often I see a glimpse of it from Malcolm Jenkins, and I think Jermale Hines and Kurt Coleman are close. But by and large I see guys who lack aggressiveness and self-confidence. That is particularly true with the linebackers. While Baby Animal is a great talent, the one thing I would like to see from him is more attitude. And he's by far the best we've got. Freeman plays scared half the time, and simply doesn't hit people with bad intentions. I had high hopes from Homan, but he looks a little slow and unsure out there. When is the last time you saw him deliver a blow that rattled someone's teeth? Honestly, I'm suprised we haven't seen more of Brian Rolle because he seems to have that killer instinct the others lack. And rest assured linebackers need both toughness and attitude. More than any other position they are supposed to be mean and fearless. Look at some film of Spielman, Katzenmoyer or Hawk. Go back in the NFL archives and watch Dick Butkus, Jack Lambert and Mike Singletary. Linebackers are supposed to have a mean streak on the field. I just don't see that with this group, and I think that is part of the problem. They need to regain that swagger.

Of course, at the end of the day, it comes down to coaching. Many are calling for Heacock's head, and I think the time has come to consider such drastic action. Our defense isn't aggressive enough, and good players are not making good plays. I believe a fiery, in your face coach, with a "take no prisoners" attitude could wake up this defense. I believe a new approach would lead to more sacks, more big plays, and a more intimidating presence. There was a time when teams feared facing the OSU defense. It's time to restore that sense of dread and panic. I for one am ready for some old-school swagger. How about you?

 
 

Drew Thurman (7:30 pm)

Mascot: Trojans

Stadium: Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium (30,000)

2007 Record: 8-4 (New Orleans Bowl Champs; defeated Rice 41-17)

2008 Record: 2-0 (LSU Game Postponed)

Coach: Larry Blackeney (18th year at Troy; 92-29-1 in IAA, 46-39 in 1A)

Letterman: Returning 53; Lost 17

Returning Starters: Offense - 7, Defense - 7, Specialist - 0

Base Defense: 4-3

Base Offense: Spread (4 wideouts)

Returning Stars: RT Dion Small; MLB Boris Lee  

Overview:

After getting beat by one set of Trojans, the Buckeyes face no small test against the Troy Trojans. On offense the biggest man to watch is quarterback Jamie Hampton. Hampton is a dual threat quarterback who has thrown for 5 touchdowns and rushed for 2 touchdowns in his two games. Hampton will look to throw first, but if the Buckeyes bring pressure he can make the big play with his feet.

The Buckeyes can also look to see a whole host of running backs coming out of the Troy backfield. DuJuan Harris gets the majority of the carries, but also expect to hear the names of Maurice Greer and Fernandus Edwards as well. All three have scored touchdowns for the Trojans. At wideout there are two main targets for Hampton; Jerrel Jernigan and Kennard Burton. Both receivers already have double digit receptions this season.

On the other side of the ball, expect to see a very athletic Trojan defense on Saturday. The Trojans will first get a lot of play out of their linebackers, especially out of Boris Lee. Lee is as good of a linebacker as there is the country, and was actually a Lombardi candidate as sophmore last season.

Cheerleaders (Best Picture I Found):

Notable Alumni:

Osi Umenyiora - New York Giants DE

DeMarcus Ware - Dallas Cowboy LB

Lawerence Tynes - New York Giants K

Prediction:

After a very hard week for Buckeye fans, this game needs to provide some answers. On defense the Buckeyes are sure to come out pretty angry after last week. The key will be controlling this frustration, and not making stupid plays and penalties. I think you will see more blitzing, but Hampton could cause us problems when we do. If the defensive ends over pursue like they did in the Ohio game, Hampton will pick up first downs with his feet. Overall, I think we see the defense give up more yards than we would like, but they make up for it with a couple of forced turnovers.

On offense the Buckeyes will be trying out a lot of new things. I think the USC game was just a preview of what Pryor can do, and against Troy we see his coming out party. I see Pryor having a multiple touchdown game, but having one turnover in the process. Look for the running game to struggle early and get stronger as the game goes along. I expect Boris Lee and the Trojan defense to come out fired up and stuff our running backs. The upset role will only last so long though. The offensive line will get refocused at half time, and the running backs will pick up a couple of touchdowns in the second half (Herron and Saine). Hopefully a wideout emerges! 

All in all, the Buckeyes will slowly get their feet under them in this game. Beanie being absent will still hurt dearly, but I see the team getting more confidence in this game. It will be a major battle in the first half though, but the Buckeyes will slowly pull away in the second half.

Ohio State 31 Troy 10

 
 

Drew Thurman (7:05 pm)

Firecoachtressel.com

Are you kidding me? When I found this website I could not believe it! I totally believe in expressing opinion, but this is a disgrace to all Buckeye fans. I am as frustrated as the next guy about the USC game, but it is important to put things into perspective. We are not talking about some middle of the road coach, we are talking about a guy that has brought a National Championship to Buckeye nation while dominating the Big Ten! Are we going to fire a coach every time we go through a little difficulty?

Thanks to the Ozone.net, firejimtressel.com is an unavailable URL to visit. The same outcome needs to come of this website! Jim Tressel put Ohio State back on the map after some real rough times at the end of the John Copper era. Sure things have not gone the way any of us have planned the last few seasons, but Tressel leaving would put us in an even greater hole. Seriously guys, this website is ridiculous!

Please check this website out, and let the creator know what you think...

Email: roodle72@firecoachtressel.com

 
 

Drew Thurman (12:55 pm)

Barack Obama has built his campaign on a single word, change! After two National Championship losses and the embarrassment that took place Saturday night versus USC, I cannot think of a better word for the Buckeyes. It's time to change! I excuse the lack of change the previous two seasons because at least the staff could think, "Well, we did win the Big Ten and go to the National Championship." The loss against USC though exposed the same problems, and the third time I hope is the charm. This team has some rough days ahead in less some changes are made, so lets look at those changes: 

1) Special Teams has to improve...

I like many people thought that the Buckeyes special teams would improve after its mediocre performance a season ago. Wow, I was sure wrong. The special teams really did nothing right in the loss against USC. Let's take a look at some of the blunders...

* Saine and Herron looked terrible returning kickoffs, and averaged 15.3 yards per return. 
* AJ Trapasso's punting left something to be desired. He did have to punt 7 times (many in in the shadow off his own goal post), but his bad punts seemed to come at the worst time. 
* Ray Small refuses to fair catch now, opening himself up for fumbles on many punt returns.
* Ryan Pretorius missed yet another big field goal on Saturday night. Since his performance against Youngstown St, I have been very disappointed. 

If we are going to win the big games, special teams has to start playing better. We are losing the field position war because of bad punts and returns, and this is way more valuable than many would believe. It's time for change on special teams!

2) Defensive play schemes have to improve...

If Tressel does not see the problems with our defensive approach, he needs a wake up call! The Buckeyes defense has been so exposed in the last three big games. When teams spread things out we look clueless, and we give up a ton of big plays. We refuse to attack, and instead continue to sit back in zone schemes.

I think we all know that Jim Heacock's days need to be numbered. Go back and take a look at the film against USC. The defense looks terrible, but the worst part of the defense was our defensive line. Who coaches the defense and defensive line for Ohio State? DING, DING, DING...that is correct, Jim Heacock! I know Heacock is Tressel's boy and has always been by his side, but it is time to cut the ties. It's time for change on defensive coaching staff!

3) Quarterback play has to improve...

I know many of you might be shocked I am saying this, but the quarterback play has to improve. I have defended Boeckman a lot, but I think this team needs the change. Boeckman has caught some bad breaks, but it is hard to defend those two terrible interceptions on Saturday night. It is amazing to me that Pryor looked more poised under pressure as a freshmen than Boeckman did as a sixth year senior. This team is going to be Pryor's next season, and I agree with Eleven Warriors in saying lets play him now. Sorry Boeckman, it's time for change at the quarterback position!   

4) Offensive play calling has to improve...

No offense to Tressel, but the playing calling duties need to be handed off. I thought we had some good playing calling early on against USC, but we stayed way too conservative the rest of the game. We refused to open up and throw down field, which allowed USC to bring the house for most of the second half. We lack creativity in these big games, and I am sick of our vanilla offense. Obviously the defensive troubles highlight this problem even more, but this needs to be changed as well. We cannot get over the hump if we are going to continue to limit our offense. Most head coaches have given this responsibilty up a long time ago, and I think Tressel needs to do the same. It is time for change in the offensive play calling!

Like it or hate it, these are some things that need to change for the Buckeyes to not slip from being a top tier team. I for one will be rooting this team on until the bitter end, but that does not mean I do not want change. This team could go in two different directions after the lose to USC, and I hope changes are made to help us head towards the positive!  

 
 

Drew Thurman (10:25 am)

Mascot: Trojans

Stadium: LA Coliseum (92,000)

2007 Record: 11-2 (Rose Bowl Champions, defeated Illinois 49-17)

2008 Ranking: AP #1; USA Today #1

Head Coach: Pete Carroll (8th season, 77-14; 39-3 at home)

Letterman Returning: 46 (26 Lost)

Returning Starters: Offense - 4, Defense - 7, Specialists - 2

Base Defense: 4-3

Base Offense: "I" Formation

Returning Stars: WR Patrick Turner; LB Rey Maualuga

Overview:

During the Pete Carroll regime USC has been loaded with stars. Players like Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, LenDale White, and Dwayne Jarrett just to name a few. This season is much different for the Trojans in that respect though. Thanks to the best recruiting in the country USC has a much more team approach this season than they probably have ever had under Carroll. This is most evident in the backfield. The Buckeyes defense are going to see a whole "stable" of running backs from the Trojans. It will be no small task to stop them. Add to that Mark Sanchez. In the opening game against Virginia he looked very impressive throwing for 338 yards and three scores.

The defense of Trojans is actually more impressive though. Led my star linebacker Rey Maualuga, the USC defense is very fast. The strongest part of the defense appears to be the ability to stop the run. With a strong linebacking core, the Trojans look to stuff the run first. With that said, they did have two sacks against the Cavaliers in Week 1.

Cheerleaders:

Notable Alumni:

Neil Armstrong: Astronaut
George Lucas: Filmmaker
John Wayne: Actor
Bret & Aaron Boone: Pro Baseball Players
Craig Stadler: Professional Golfer
Will Ferrell: Actor
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf: US Four Star General

Prediction:

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Buckeyes as they enter this game. Will Beanie play? How will Washington and Coleman look in the secondary against USC? How will the Buckeyes respond to its performance against Ohio? Like I said, there are a lot of questions.

On offense, I expect the Buckeyes to open the playbook much more than last week. In fact, this will probably be necessary for success. With or without Beanie, I don't see us winning this game on the ground. Even if he can play, I just cannot foresee him being as effective as he normally is. So the Buckeyes must air it out much more than they have early on this season. I really think the offense will struggle at times, but this should be a defensive battle.

On defense, I expect this unit to be very aggressive. Sure the Trojans had a big day against Virginia, but who cares. Virginia followed up that loss with a 16-0 victory against Richmond. So that Cavalier team is very unimpressive. I am not saying that USC is not dangerous, but we need to put the Virginia win in perspective.

The most notable guy on offense is Mark Sanchez. He had a huge day against Virginia, and you better believe the Buckeyes are aiming for him. I expect Sanchez to have a much more modest game against the Buckeyes, and have a tough time when they bring pressure. The other side of that though, is the Trojans running attack. The Buckeyes cannot just gear up for McKnight, but have to be prepared for 4 to 5 different runners. This is a tough task for any team. With that said, if the Buckeyes keep Sanchez honest the rushing attack can also be held in check.

So, the Buckeyes come out pumped after a down performance against Ohio. They bring out a few new plays early on which suprise the Trojans, but the Trojans have a few themselves. Eventually though the defenses take over, and it is much more of a battle to put up points. Beanie plays, but does not look like himself in the game. The Buckeyes defense makes up for him and provides a score thanks to a turnover. In the end though the Trojans just have too many weapons for the Buckeyes, and start to really establish the running attack in the second half. They pull away slightly in the end with a big touchdown from Sanchez to Patrick Turner. Final score...

USC 28 Ohio State 17