Friday, September 17, 2010

GAME PREVIEW: BUCKS NEED TO AVOID HANGOVER VS. BOBCATS

COLUMBUS — After Ohio State's convincing 12-point victory over the highly-ranked Miami Hurricanes last Saturday, the main concern this week going into their game against 1-1 Ohio University will be trying to avoid a pesky hangover.

Well, if you remember the last time these two teams faced one another in 2008, then you know that if it weren't for an OU muffed punt in the fourth quarter, and a Ray Small 69-yard touchdown return minutes later, the Bobcats could have easily handed the Buckeyes a defeat of Appalachian State proportions.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said that there's no need for tricks or Knute Rockne speeches. No, all he needs in order to motivate his players this week is to simply show them film of the Bobcats.

"Absolutely," Tressel said, when asked if film can be a motivating factor. "We'll show the film. It's the same coaching staff. A lot of our guys were playing (in that 2008 game), so absolutely we'll use that film. They haven't changed their scheme dramatically. They've changed some. We've all changed a little but we'll absolutely use that and we'll use last year's films.

"I mean they played Tennessee off their feet now, 33-24. I mean, it was a whale of a game."

The second-ranked Buckeyes will be up against a familiar foe this week in Ohio quarterback Boo Jackson, who was a major thorn in the side of the OSU defense during that near upset two seasons ago. Jackson used his incredible athleticism to gash the Buckeyes defense for nearly eight yards a run. It was quite a memorable performance.

Ohio State defensive tackle Dexter Larimore stated that the younger Buckeyes could very easily look past the much inferior Bobcats this week. But for the veterans, those electrifying images of Jackson are still dancing in their heads.

"I think our seniors and our leaders understand that if you look back two years ago, this was a team that we struggled with," Larimore said. "On defense we took out their starting quarterback and Boo Jackson comes in and has a heck of a game. All of a sudden, he's running all over the place, converting third downs, getting first downs with his feet, throwing and slinging the ball all around.

"I think this could be a chance where normally you could overlook a team," Larimore continued. "But this year's team with the guys that we have, and the seniors that we have, we'll get our young guys ready to play on Saturday."

Larimore said that he knows there will be no Miami hangover because he's already seen how his team has reacted since the big win.

"The attitude was we did a good job, we did what we needed to do," Larimore said of the Buckeyes reaction after the win over Miami. "But I was proud of the guys that they didn't really think that all of a sudden they are the best team ever. Some teams when they win a big game like that, you think you're so good that you can't be beat or something.

"But I saw a lot of guys come in (after the game), watch film, get in the weight room, get extra work done, and really understand that this is a long season and that every week is going to be a battle. Teams are going to be giving us their best shot. I think we have handled things very well."

The Bobcats finished as champions last season of the Mid-American Conference East Division, and looked great in their season opener against Wofford. OU was upset by Toledo last Saturday, as Jackson threw three interceptions in the loss to the Rockets.

However, Tressel said that the Bobcats will always be a threat with head coach Frank Solich at the helm.

"Ohio University is a reflection of Frank Solich," Tressel said. "He's hard working, tough, disciplined, they're going to have fundamentals. He's had his coaching staff with him all six years ...

"He's always been around excellence and he's one of the real good ones."

Ohio U quarterback Boo Jackson
Bottom Line

As big of a pain as it is for the Buckeyes defense to go up against Boo Jackson this Saturday, it will feel like a warm hug compared to what the Bobcats will be facing against OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor put up nearly 350 total yards against the speedy Miami Hurricanes defense last week, we can only imagine what he has in store for the Bobcats this Saturday.

As I said before, this year's Buckeyes may be the best team Tressel has had since arriving in Columbus 10 seasons ago. Of course, some may argue with that sentiment.

However, one thing's definitely for certain, the Buckeyes are much better and more experienced team than they were in 2008. That's bad, bad news for the visitors from Athens.

Lee's Call: OSU 48-3