Drew Thurman (10:25 am)
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
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.
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
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