Preview: Ohio State at USC
By Staff, with contributions from the PAC-10 and Big Ten
September 9, 2008 (Updated 9/11)
The home opener for the Trojans is the much-anticipated showdown of highly-ranked teams as USC and Ohio State, No's. 1 and 2 in the CCR Top 120, meet at the L.A. Coliseum at 8pm EDT Saturday.
USC has won five in-a-row vs. Ohio State, but the teams have not met since 1990. Seven of the previous 21 USC-Ohio State matchups have come in the Rose Bowl. The last Buckeye win was in 1973.
USC has not played since Labor Day weekend when it traveled to Virginia and stomped the Cavaliers 52-7.
Ohio State ran its record to 2-0 with a 26-14 home win over Ohio this past Saturday. With that win, Ohio State became only the fifth school in college football history to crack the 800-win barrier. Michigan holds the national record with 870 triumphs all-time and is joined by Notre Dame (825 wins), Texas (822) and Nebraska (810) in the current 800-plus victory club. Penn State follows OSU in sixth-place with 791 all-time victories.
It is unciear if Buckeye running back Chris "Beanie" Wells will be ready to play against the Trojans. Earlier in the week, head coach Jim Tressel said he would be. By Thursday, he said that was doubtful.
Against Ohio, Dan Herron replaced Wells and rushed for 50 yards and a TD on 12 carries. Ray Small secured the win with a 69-yard punt return for a score in the 4th quarter.
LB James Laurinaitis has 14 tackles to lead an Ohio State defense that ranks 2nd nationally in yards per game. USC ranks 11th with just one game under its belt.
On offense, USC quarterback Mark Sanchez was 26-of-35 for 338 yards and 3 TD's in the win over Virginia. In two games, Ohio State QB Todd Boeckman is 30-of-45 for 297 yards and 2 TD's.
The Trojans were a 1.03-point underdog in the preseason computer analysis, but are now a 3.63-point favorite.