No. 3 USC Trojans at No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes Preview and Pick
NCAA Football Betting Preview
No. 3 USC Trojans at No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes
Saturday September 12th, 8:00PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – USC -6.5
One of the most anticipated college football games of the season will take place from the Horseshoe this Saturday evening when the no. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes host the no. 3 USC Trojans in a colossal showdown. The national spotlight will be on these two teams in what promises to be an exciting football game. The Trojans stomped the Buckeyes in a 35-3 thrashing one year ago at the Rose Bowl led by a dynamic USC defense that shutdown the Ohio State offense. However, Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes will seek revenge this year in the heavily anticipated match-up between two of the biggest programs in college football. The Buckeyes offense has been on the verge of blossoming and many hope they will explode in a big way against the Trojans.
USC has a freshman quarterback at the helm for the first time in history by the name of Matt Barkley. Barkley was sharp against a weak San Joes State team throwing 15 for 19 with 223 yards and a touchdown. However, the Trojans offense will see a much bigger challenge from a talented defense from Ohio State. Will the Buckeyes defense be able to rattle the young quarterback? Terrelle Pryor knows a thing or two about taking on some pressure. Pryor received a lot of playing time last season as a freshman and now carries the reigns for the Ohio State offense. The Buckeyes were less than impressive barely escaping Navy this past weekend. However, Pryor the dual threat quarterback will look to break down the Trojans defense and help the Buckeyes get back to national prominence.
In last year’s battle, Ohio State was held to a mere 207 yards of total offense. Ohio State also relinquished 3 turnovers in the game leading to their demise. However, out of the darkness there was one bright spot that shined through in last year’s embarrassing loss and that was Terrelle Pryor. Pryor received his first taste of big time football last year throwing 7 for 9 against the Trojans for 52 yards while adding another 40 yards on the ground. The dual threat on the ground as well as the arm is what the Buckeyes hope will keep the Trojans defense on their heels.
However, Ohio State was not impressive in their opening victory against Navy. Pryor looked pretty solid throwing 14 of 21 for 174 yards, but the Buckeyes defense simply could not stop the run. Navy racked up over 180 yards on the ground which nearly led to a big upset. The Buckeyes defense will likely not see the same option style running game that kept them guessing this weekend, but rather it will be the pass defense that gets the test this Saturday. Ohio State ranked 14th in overall defense from 2008 and 24th against the pass. However, the secondary lost some key players like Malcolm Jenkins and will have to find a way to stop the Trojans air assault. If the defense can come through, the Buckeyes will have a chance at the upset. If not, it could be another long disappointing battle with USC.
The Trojans dominated last year’s game, but that was in large part to an extremely talented defense that was the best in the country last year. USC had to replace many of those guys on defense. Not that the Trojans are in lack for talent, but they simply had to replace too many playmakers to be as good in 2009. However, that is not to say they still will not be plenty good perhaps just not as dominant. The Trojans main objective on defense must be to control the ground game. Ohio State is at their best when they are running all over the field. If they can control the ground game, they force Pryor to beat them with his arm which is quite frankly a questionable task.
The Trojans offense will provide a balanced attack from Barkley and tailback Joe McKnight. McKnight is on the verge of a big year and could be the x factor in this Saturday’s showdown. The Trojans running back averaged over 10 yards per carry in limited action this past week and will have every opportunity to run wild against the Buckeyes. However, the Ohio State defense is talented up front and if the Trojans are to really put the game away it will have to be done by the passing game. If Barkley can handle his first big game behind center and provide a strong air assault, the Trojans have a great shot to knock off the win again this year.
Pick – USC -6.5
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