Jim Tressel says Beanie Wells will play against USC

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel says that injured running back Chris “Beanie” Wells will play against USC this Saturday. Tressel will evaluate Wells’ progress throughout the week to determine how much the Heisman candidate will play.

Beanie WellsOhio State’s co-captains said Wells did individual work Monday but did not participate in team drills at practice.

Wells missed the fifth-ranked Buckeyes’ Week 2 matchup against Ohio. He sustained an injury to his right big toe in the season opener against Youngstown State.

“I saw him on the side a little bit running,” linebacker James Laurinaitis said on a conference call with reporters Monday night. “He looked good, kind of doing drills, testing it out. From what I could tell he looked really great, but who really knows but him?”

Wells wasn’t in a walking boot and seemed to be moving well as he watched the Ohio game from the sidelines.

“He’s doing a lot on his own right now,” wide receiver Brian Robiskie said. “I’m hearing that he’s doing pretty good and everything with him is just day-to-day right now. If he gets the OK and they tell him he’s ready in go, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to play.”

This is obviously outstanding news for the Buckeyes and for college football fans in general who are anticipating such a great matchup. But it’ll be interesting to see how much the injury will affect Wells’ mobility. Ohio State didn’t have the same offense last week with Maurice Morris in the backfield and will need Beanie to be close to 100% going against one of the best front seven’s in the nation.

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The official Ohio State-USC smack talk thread

One of the most anticipated games on the 2008 college football schedule is now only days away as No. 5 Ohio State (2-0) travels to Southern Cal to take on Pete Carroll’s No. 1 USC Trojans (1-0). Kickoff is set for 8:00 PM ET Saturday on ABC.

The biggest question surrounding this game is the health of OSU Heisman Trophy candidate Chris “Beanie” Wells, who sat out the Buckeyes’ win over Ohio last week with a leg injury. Wells has been able to run in practice and is expected to play, but the team is still being cautious with their top offensive weapon.

The Trojans come into this game well rested after having last week off. In Week 1, they routed Virginia 52-7 and promptly climbed into the No. 1 spot in the polls. Quarterback Mark Sanchez threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns on 26 of 35 passing.

The smack talk for this game started back in July when former USC quarterback Carson Palmer ripped the Buckeyes despite playing professionally in the state of Ohio. A Los Angeles radio station was interviewing Palmer when he had this to say about OSU:

“I cannot stand the Buckeyes. It’s amazing to hear what those guys think about that university and what they think about that football program and Tressel and all the crap I gotta put up with being back there.

I just can’t wait for two years from now when SC comes to the ‘Shoe and hopefully we’ll have a home game that weekend, and I can go up there and watch us pound on them in their own turf.

I’m really getting sick of it, and I just can’t wait for this game to get here so they can come out to the Coliseum and experience LA and get an old-fashioned Pac-10 butt-whoopin’ and go back to the Big Ten.”

Palmer backpedaled a bit, but the damage was done. His comments set the stage for an incredible matchup. Below is a complete list of Ohio State and USC blogs and information sites to get you primed for the matchup.

Top Ohio State Buckeyes Sites
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Around the Oval
The Buckeye Blog

Top USC Trojans Sites
LA Times: USC Trojans Page
Conquest Chronicles
USC Trojans.com
FAN Nation: USC Trojan’s Blog

The storied programs have played each other a total of 21 times, but it’s been 18 years since their last meeting. USC beat OSU in back to back seasons in 1989 (42-3 in Los Angeles) and 1990 (35-26 in Columbus), as well as holds an 11-9-1 series edge over the Buckeyes. At the Coliseum, USC is 4-2-1 against OSU.

Oddsmakers have made USC a 10.5-point home favorite for Saturday night’s game.

Ohio State avoids disaster, rallies to beat Ohio without Beanie Wells

Ohio University was 15 minutes away from pulling off a massive upset but the Bobcats couldn’t hold on and fell to No. 3 Ohio State 26-14. The Buckeyes played without Heisman candidate Chris “Beanie” Wells, who was resting a leg injury. Wells could be ready to play next week at USC.

Ohio vs. Ohio StateIt was over when… Ray Small returned a punt 69 yards to lift the Buckeyes lead to 26-14 late in the fourth quarter.
Gameball goes to… Ohio: Cinderella almost found a slipper in the Shoe. The Bobcats gave the Buckeyes a very big scare.
Stat of the game… 9-17: Ohio converted nine of 17 third downs against Ohio State. OSU D will have to improve that stat vs. USC.

Not having Wells certainly didn’t help the Buckeyes, but his absence wasn’t the main reason the game was so close. Ohio State still rushed for 162 total yards, but the Bobcats just flat out came to play. Ohio produced a couple of big plays, including a sack and fumble recovery of OSU quarterback Todd Boeckman in the end zone that gave them a 14-6 lead in the third quarter, as well as moved the ball effectively on the ground against the Buckeyes’ usually stingy defense. But in the end the OSU defense stepped up and Small’s punt return allowed the Buckeyes to avoid a huge embarrassment.

Week 2 College Football Primer

Time to check out the big games, top matchups and potential upsets as college football heads into Week 2.

Top 25 Action:
None. Nobody in the top 25 plays each other this weekend, which must have the television networks really, really excited.

Chris Keep your eye on:
Ohio (0-1) at No. 3 Ohio State (1-0)
The Buckeyes should have no problem with instate rival Ohio this weekend, but it’ll be interesting to see if head coach Jim Tressel plays injured running back and Heisman hopeful Chris Wells. With a trip to Southern Cal on the docket, there’s no reason to play Wells this week against a cupcake like Ohio. (Although I’ll be the first to note that the MAC deserves more attention than what it gets. See the “Upset Watch” section for proof.) A running back-by-committee of David Herron, Maurice Wells and Brandon Saine should be more than enough for OSU to roll the Bobcats, so there should be no reason for “Beanie” to even dress.

Upset Watch:
No. 8 West Virginia (1-0) at East Carolina (0-1)
While it’s true that I wouldn’t even have mentioned this game had it not been for the Pirates knocking off VA Tech last week, East Carolina has proven that it can hang with top programs. ECU will be looking for its third straight win over a ranked opponent, although West Virginia has won seven straight over the Pirates coming into this contest. Oddsmakers clearly feel that ECU can hang with the Mountaineers given that WVU is only an 8-point favorite.

Dan LeFevourCentral Michigan (1-0) at No. 2 Georgia (1-0)
Yes, outside of the MAC last year the Chippewas got smacked by Kansas (52-7) and Purdue (45-22). But as Bowling Green proved by beating PITT last week, the MAC has some talented teams and CMU is currently the class of the conference. They have a Hesiman candidate at quarterback in Dan LeFevour and a playmaker at running back in Ontario Sneed. There’s no doubt Georgia has better and deeper talent and it’s tough for any team to win between the hedges (let alone a MAC team), but could UGA overlook little ol’ CMU with a trip to South Carolina on the schedule next week? Obviously oddsmakers don’t think so as they’ve made the Dawgs a 24-point favorite.

Other notable games:
Miami (FL) at No. 5 Florida – Saturday, Sept 6, 8:00pm ET
No. 15 BYU at Washington – Saturday, Sept 6, 3:00pm ET
Mississippi at No. 20 Wake Forest – Saturday, Sept 6, 3:300pm ET

Heisman hopeful Chris “Beanie” Wells injures foot

ESPN is reporting that Ohio State running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Chris “Beanie” Wells left the Buckeyes’ game against Youngstown State with an apparet foot injury.

Wells fell to the ground in pain before he was even hit, fumbling the ball away on a first and goal at the Youngstown State 2 before grasping for his foot.

Wells writhed on the ground in pain while he was attended to by several doctors and trainers, with his teammates standing around him watching. Coach Jim Tressel also ran onto the field.

The junior had 111 yards on 13 carries, including a 43-yard touchdown burst as the Buckeyes rolled to a 26-0 lead at the time of his injury.

This would be a massive blow to No. 2 Ohio State if Wells’ injury is serious. Hopefully it’s not and he won’t miss anytime, but Buckeye fans have to be incredibly concerned.

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