Bowl Week: Rose Bowl Preview – Ohio State vs. Oregon

OSU FootballLast time the Buckeyes were playing in the Rose Bowl, most of the current Buckeyes were in the first or second grade. Hopefully some of them saw one Joe Germaine lead the Buckeyes down the field against Arizona State in one for the ages. We sure would like to see something like that again!

But we’re not here to talk about the past. (What am I saying? We Buckeye fans live for past glory.) Really, though. Let’s talk a little about tomorrow’s game.

While we’re at it, let’s see what others are saying:

A few words on the Oregon defense. Buckeye Football Analysis has a look at both their schemes and how they match-up with OSU. Oregon does do some interesting things on defense, but they are susceptible to the deep ball if Ohio State is committed to establishing the run. Ohio State should have the personnel to take Oregon’s CB’s one-on-one.

Sam @ WWAHT says:

I think Oregon’s defense is far, far better than most Ohio State fans are giving it credit for, and that anyone that thinks Ohio State is going to bulldoze the undersized Oregon front did not watch either team very much, and certainly did not watch Ohio State’s game against Purdue, or Oregon’s game against USC. The Buckeyes are perfectly capable of moving the ball on the Ducks, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

I think I’m going to respectfully disagree with Sam here. With regards to Oregon’s defense, I will say that Ohio State should have its way with them. This is a defensive unit that feeds off the success and momentum of their offense. When their offense is able to put the opposing teams in a position to play catch-up, Oregon’s defense is able to do things they normally wouldn’t be able to if the game is close. If OSU’s Defense can stop Oregon from scoring, I think the Duck Defense could be in trouble.

As far as OSU’s offense going up against the Ducks D, BFA astutely notes:

Ohio State is fortunate in that their primary rush plays–Power (Dave,) Iso, Zone read–are precisely the plays that teams have had the most rushing success against Oregon with. Ohio State must establish the run game between the tailbacks and Pryor a la Stanford to open other things up. To do so, they need to mix and match between the pro and spread sets to keep Oregon off balance and not let them freely flip between their 7 and 8 man fronts. The Dave and Zone read plays, in particular, will provide big play opportunities versus Oregon that OSU must take advantage of.

I hear you rolling your eyes over there!

Ohio State’s offense gameplan is simple enough. Keep them off-balance and pound away. I’d like to see some more of that counter action with Brandon Saine. I think Brian spelled it out it best: TGDCD

Why the hell doesn’t Michigan have That God Damned Counter Draw in its arsenal? Michigan is now a shotgun team that uses a metric ton of rolling pockets and in my experience TGDCD is 80% touchdown, 20% fail. Ohio State didn’t even mean to call it and they scored on it.

We all know what Ohio State’s defense has been capable of. Shutting down Masoli and keeping him between the tackles will be the utmost importance. I’m still maintaining the belief that Blount looked like he wasn’t at game speed yet against Oregon State and could potentially be a non-factor. I also think Brian Rolle and Ross Homan are licking their chops thinking about swallowing LittleMichael James whole. These are two statements that could make me look woefully stupid, but I’m willing to make them.

See Corey at Eleven Warriors for a counterpoint to my statements.

It’s Masoli that makes my stomach hurt. Things he does with those stumpy little legs and shifty hips could break some OSU ankles and make people look silly. OSU’s back four will have to be ready to make some serious open field tackles. Sayeth James Laurinaitis (via PlayMaker Mobile [no link to actual content]):

Masoli concerns me. He is a true dual threat. He can run, he’s got speed, good shakes and he can throw. Plus he can run you over. He really is perfect for that system. They have two good running backs in Blount and LeMichael James, but if you focus too much on stopping them you lose site of Masoli. Larry Grant went to San Francisco City College and has been telling me about Masoli, because they played together. If he wins that game against Stanford he deserved to get his name in the Heisman talk. He’s that good. He’s not a prototype so he flies under the radar a little, but next year, he’ll have an opportunity to be one of the guys being talked about. The key to this game is making Oregon one dimensional, take away that zone read. You have to stop their running game and turn them into a passing team. If you don’t stop the run against Oregon you have no chance of slowing that offense down. Joe Bauserman is crucial. He’s got to give the defense good looks. He’s got good speed and good shakes so he can emulate Masoli, but you still have to stop the real thing. It won’t be easy, but that’s the key to the game.

Here are four words I thought I’d never hear: “Joe Bauserman is crucial“. But Little Animal should know a thing or two about preparing for an offensive attack like Oregon’s. Masoli concerns me, too.

So here we are, twenty-four hours (and counting) from kick-off. Time for Ohio State to regain some of that National Respect© and start preparing for a run at a title in 2010.

And now we’re looking for some final score predictions. Vegas has Oregon favored by 4 points, a line that hasn’t moved a whole lot since the game was announced.

I say Ohio Sate 31 Oregon 27

What say you?


  1. I have waffled back and forth on this game for weeks.

    Last week Ken Gordon reported that all of the sports journalists (even those from Oregon) were amazed at how overconfident Oregon’s defense was acting to the reporters – the Ducks have apparently been strutting around talking cocky about how terrible OSU’s offense is.

    The overall failure of the Pac 10 so far is a good sign for the Bucks, too.

    Nothing would surprise me – even a blowout by either team. But I think the most likely scenario is that SOMEone wins 24-20. Given Tressel’s trend of winning most games decided by 7 or fewer points, I think it’ll be OSU.

  2. This was a great win tonight. As a longtime Ohio State fan, I was fed up with losing in big games. Glad the streak ended tonight.

    Pryor played well, glad Tressel let him play a lot more than most of the season. Hope next year we’ll be in the BCS title game.

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