Friday, August 04, 2006

Season Preview: Ohio State

Last Season: The Buckeyes were 10-2 losing only to future #1 Texas and future #3 Penn State in Happy Valley. THEosu shared the Big Ten championship with PSU and went on to the Fiesta Bowl where they beat the Notre Dame fighting Weises, firmly planting them one notch above Jesus, just below God.

Outlook: Those in “the know” all believe that the Buckeyes are on the verge of a national championship with most preseason magazines ranking them in the top 5. The schedule is in their favor with games against Northern Illinois, Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Indiana, at Illinois, and at Northwestern which should all be wins. They get favorable matchups with Minnesota and Penn State at home. They have tough road matches at Michigan State and Iowa and of course, the finale at home against Michigan who they’ve beaten 4 out of the last 5. The tough game early will be at Texas but if OSU can get out of September unscathed, they may go into the Michigan game with it all on the line.

Returning starters: 7
Key Losses:
WR Santonio Holmes (977 yards, 11 TD)
C Nick Mangold (1st round Draft pick)
G Rob Sims (4th round Draft pick)

Key Returnees:
QB Troy Smith (2282 yards, 16 TD, 722 yards rush, 11 TD)
WR Anthony Gonzalez (373 yards, 3 TD)
WR Ted Ginn Jr. (803 yards, 4 TD)
RB Antonio Pittman (1331 yards, 7 TD, 161 rec yrds, )
T Kirk Barton
G T.J. Downing
C Doug Datish

Returning starters: 2
Key Losses:
LB A.J. Hawk ( 121 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 16.5 TFL)
LB Anthony Schlegel (82 tackles, 2 sacks, 7 TFL)
DB Donte Whitner (73 tackles, 4 sacks, 9 TFL)
DB Ashton Youboty (56 tackles, 1 sack, 6 TFL)
LB Bobby Carpenter (49 tackles, 8 sacks, 10.5 TFL)
DB Nate Salley (43 tackles, 1.5 TFL)
DE Mike Kudla (41 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 11.5 TFL)
DT Marcus Green (37 tackles, 1 sack, 4.5 TFL)
DB Tyler Everett (33 tackles,1 sack, 1TFL)

Key Returnees:
DT David Patterson (48 tackles, 8 sacks, 15 TFL)
DT Quinn Pitcock, (43 tackles, 3 sacks, 8 TFL)

Game Outlook: Last year’s game was a classic with Penn State eking out a win when QB Troy Smith fumbled late in the game to seal the victory for the Nits. The Buckeyes will be looking for revenge, and should have one of the nation’s best offenses with one of the beefiest offensive lines. There will be good matchups for both teams with veteran wide receivers against new secondaries. THEosu has the edge at defensive line, while PSU has the edge at linebacker. Given that Penn State hasn’t won at the Shoe since 1978, it will be an uphill climb for the Lions, but this game may hinge upon which team comes in undefeated. Whichever team gets through their second game with a win, (Notre Dame for PSU and Texas for OSU) might have the momentum coming into this one. If both do, expect ESPN Gameday and a whole lot of hype.

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