College Football Preview: Ohio State at USC

Kickoff: Saturday @ 8:00 PM ET, ABC
Records: Ohio State (2-0); USC (1-0)
Spread: USC –12.5

Mark Sanchez
Game Matchup:
The biggest question surrounding this game is whether or not Ohio State running back Chris “Beanie” Wells will see the field. Wells injured his leg in the opener, missed last week’s win over Ohio and has been deemed “doubtful” by Buckeyes’ head coach Jim Tressel for Saturday night’s grudge match. If Wells can’t play, Daniel Herron, Mauirce Wells (who struggled against Ohio last week) and Brandon Saine will all see action Saturday night.
The Trojans are coming off a bye after dismantling Virginia 52-7 in the opening week of the season. QB Mark Sanchez threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, but he’ll face a much greater challenge against a talented, and highly experienced Buckeye defense. One thing to keep an eye on is how Sanchez and an inexperienced USC offensive line holds up against the pressure OSU will likely bring for the entire game.

Don’t make the mistake most will in assuming that just because Ohio State struggled with Ohio last week that they’ll get smoked by USC. The Trojans looked good against Virginia, but the Cavaliers’ talent level has dipped dramatically from last year and the Buckeyes match up very well against USC’s pro-style offense. The issue for OSU is whether or not their run game can be effective without Beanie Wells. The Trojans have the best linebacker corps in the nation and an outstanding front seven. If they shut down the Buckeye running game and force QB Todd Boeckman to beat them through the air, OSU is going to be in trouble. Pete Carroll’s Trojans are also incredibly tough to beat at home, but forget the blowout; this should be a tight game. USC 24, Ohio State 20.

Also be sure to check out our official Ohio State-USC smack talk thread.

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