Stadium: Autzen Stadium (54,000)
Coach: Chip Kelly (1st year at Oregon and overall, 10-2)
2008 Record: 10-3 (Defeated Oklahoma State in Holiday Bowl, 42-31)
2009 Record: 10-2
Base Offense: Spread
Base Defense: 4-3
Letterman: Returning - 49; Lost - 20
Returning Starters: Offense - 4, Defense - 5, Specialists - 1
Returning Stars: QB Jeremiah Masoli; DE Will Tukuafu
- Ann Curry: Anchor, The Today Show
- Steve Prefontaine, long distance runner
- Norm Van Brocklin, Hall of Fame quaterback
- David Ogden Stiers, actor of MASH fame
- Norv Turner, Head Coach, San Diego Chargers
- Mary Decker, long distance runner
- Mark Few, head basketball coach, Gonzaga
- Peter Jacobson, pro golfer
- John Madden, former football coach and TV color commentator
Cheerleading Scouting Report:
After a slow start out of the gate, the Ducks have become one of the hottest teams in college football. Their quick paced brand of offense combined with the explosive talent of Masoli and James, have made the Ducks a media favorite this year. Everyone enjoys seeing a team that can put up points, and Oregon can definitely do that.
Behind him (if he hands off), he has a couple of the best running backs around the country. First is LaMichael James, who has 1,476 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. He has gashed opponents all season long with his speed, as he averages 6.9 yards a carry (123 yards a game). Second though, the Ducks will have LaGarrette Blount, who returned for the Oregon State game after his suspension in the Boise State game. As he showed in that contest, he provides the size and power that the Ducks miss in James. At 6-2 240 pounds, the Buckeyes will have their hands full trying to tackle him.
One cannot forget about Masoli's arm or the passing attack of the Oregon offense either. He has 2,066 yards on the season to go along with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. He completion rating isn't mind blowing (58.9 percent), but he seems to come up with big plays when he and the team need them most. His favorite target is junior wideout Jeff Maehl, who has 52 catches for 686 yards and six touchdowns. The other name the Buckeye defense will have to watch out for is tight end Ed Dickson (551 yards, 6 TD). The Buckeyes have struggled at times against quality tight ends, and shutting Dickson down should be a high priority. Other names to watch are D.J. Davis (230 yards, 2 TD), Jamere Holland (199 yards, 2 TD), and Lavasier Tuinei (187 yards, 0 TD).
The Oregon defense on paper is average at best, but they have done enough to help the Ducks to a 10-2 record. They are giving up 23.6 points and 329.4 yards a game, the majority of that coming through the air. They have done a good job forcing turnovers, especially interceptions where they 13 on the season.
The most favorable matchup for the Buckeyes may be in the trenches against Oregon's defensive line. Their line is much smaller, and will try to rely on speed (especially against the Buckeye tackles). The leader of the unit is defensive tackle Brandon Bair, who has 43 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. While he may be the leader, the most explosive player is defensive end Kenny Rowe. At 6-3 232 pounds he is small, but has caused havoc in the backfield. On the season, he has 11 TFL, 8.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles.
The linebacking core is a lot more solid, with better size and playmakers. The two major leaders in this unit are Casey Matthews (72 tackles, 4 TFL, 2.5 sacks) and Spencer Paysinger (72 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 1 sack). Eddie Pleasant rounds out this unit, with 50 tackles and 7 tackles for loss. The secondary has two of the best defensive players on the Oregon defense in John Boynett (78 tackles, 2 INT) and Javes Lewis (77 tackles, 2 INT).
The Buckeyes come into the Rose Bowl as the underdog, and many are expecting the Ducks to run away with the contest. Buckeye fans are hoping that Tressel will open things up to score with Chip Kelly and company, but expect him to try to pound the ball as much as ever. Oregon loves getting into a shootout, and playing into their style would be an error. Instead, the Buckeyes will try to pound the ball against a vastly undersized defense, which shortens the game and puts the tempo in Tressel's hands rather than Kelly's.
On the other side of the ball, the Buckeye defense will have their hands full. The Ducks will move the ball and they will put up points. The key is not letting them put up 40 plus points as they have against Pac-10 opponents (Speaking of the Pac-10, their slow start in the bowl season has to be a positive sign for Buckeye fans). The defensive line will be a huge key, and pressure on Masoli combined with discipline against the zone read are a must. If they can be consistent in those two areas and the defense as a whole can force a few turnovers, you have to like Ohio State's chances.
We are cautiously optimistic...
Father vs. Son Prediction Battle:
Dave: OSU 30-27
Drew: OSU 28-24