College Football Preview Week #2: Ohio State vs. USC

Opening weekend was a tale of two warm up games for Ohio State and USC.  While the Trojans rolled San Jose St. 56-3, the Buckeyes barely held on to take down a pesky Navy squad by a count of 31-27.

Week two will be a much more difficult task for each team, but one team will walk away from the Horseshoe with a 2-0 record.  Here is a breakdown of the featured match up on September 12:


Questions answered:  Despite the inferior opponent in week one, many wondered how true freshman, Matt Barkley

Freshman QB Matt Barkley looked sharp in his USC debut last weekend

Freshman QB Matt Barkley looked sharp in his USC debut

weekendwould respond in his first start.  Barkley lived up to the hype, at least in week one.  He was15-19 forlast 233 yards and a touchdown and directed the SC offense to a staggering 621 yards of total offense. If he passes this test, USC could make another serious run at the BCS title, not only for this season, but for the next four.

Key concerns:  The Horseshoe.  This will be  another huge test for Barkley as it will not only be his first start in a hostile environment, it will likely be the loudest under the most adverse circumstances.

Ohio State

Questions answered?:  Not really.  A big question surrounding OSU was the traditional power running game, especially against an inferior opponent.  The Buckeyes totalled 153 yards on the ground but looked very average against Navy’s defense.

Key Concerns:  If the Bucks can’t establish a ground attack, they will be in for a long evening on Saturday.  With the strong ground game from USC’s stable of backs, a less than stellar ground game for OSU will mean that the Trojans will put all the pressure on OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor. 

OSU's success on offense will largely depend on the play of Terrelle Pryor

OSU's success on offense will largely depend on the play of Terrelle Pryor

Ohio State Offense vs. USC


As previously mentioned, the Buckeye ground game was somewhat of a disappointment against Navy, and despite sending three linebackers and a defensive tackle in the first two rounds of last spring’s NFL draft, Pete Carroll’s defense has only reloaded.  They are deep and talented again, and look for Taylor Mays to lead a dominant defense on Saturday.  EDGE: USC

USC offense vs. Ohio St. defense

Even though the Trojans have a much more traditional running game than Navy’s triple option attack, the speed and depth at running back will be a  drastic difference from what the Buckeye defense saw last Saturday.  The establishment of a running game should allow Barkley a few opportunities to take some shots down the field.  Edge USC

Special Teams

USC has a senior kicker in Jordan Congdon, so the OSU crowd should not be a huge factor here.  The Trojans also feature some quality kick/punt returners, often utilizing their depth at RB to contribute in this area.  Joe McKnight and CJ Gable are both players who have the ability to break one at any time.

As for Ohio State, they, too, have a senior kicker, and similar to the Trojans, they have big play potential in the return game, highlighted byrunning backs, Dan Herron and Brandon SaineEDGE:  Push

Prediction:  Ohio State will look to prove that last weekend’s game against Navy was combination of this mistakes and miscues that are part of an opening day game, and we will likely see, over the course of this season, that the Midshipment are a quality football team.  Look for the Buckeyes to come out and play with much more passion and emotion on defense, and they will likely attempt to give the running game more of a chance.

USC will look to prove that despite the departure of several players to the NFL this spring, Pete Carroll’s top rated recruiting classes have filled any and all holes.  Due to USC’s depth and balance in the running game, and with the athletes they have on defense, I expect the Trojans to leave the Horseshoe with a solid victory. 

Final Score USC wins 33-17.


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