September 22, 2008

From one OSU to another

Many here in Orange Country watched for the results of the OSU game on Saturday.

But with this being a bye week for Oklahoma State, the OSU in question was Ohio State. And since the only acceptable reasons to watch a Big 10 team is if they're beating up on Notre Dame or playing the Cowboys' next opponent, it was OK to check up on the Buckeyes this time.

In case you didn't realize, Ohio State played Troy. Yes, those same Trojans who batted around the Cowboys like a catnip ball in 2007. With memories of that game still burned in the minds of Poke fans, catching a glimpse of the Trojans a week early at least gives one an idea what to expect from them on Saturday.

And what happened? Troy traveled to Columbus and scared the dickens out of the Bucks for three quarters, going into the final frame down 14-10. Two touchdowns in the fourth made the score a little more lopsided, as the Buckeyes won 28-10, but fans in Ohio Stadium were left hanging a little longer than they thought they would be.

Things like comparative scoring and judging how a team does the week before they play another is a crapshoot of course, so their performance against the Buckeyes can only mean so much. But largely, this game should be a reminder that the Trojans are talented and have the ability to hang with the big boys in the BCS conferences. Of course, Cowboy fans don't need help remembering that after last year's debacle, which did have some good come from it. (Anyone want to make a change away from Zac Robinson now?) Even so, this game serves as a reminder that the Trojans aren't a pushover like Washington State and Missouri State are and Houston is looking to be. Those teams are a collective 3-8 so far this season; Troy is 2-1.

The Trojans were able to move the ball against Ohio State, which is a concern. They racked up 315 total yards at the Horseshoe, 218 of that passing. That number could go up if they are able to spread things out like they did in Columbus. Just to compare, Houston passed for 387 yards in Stillwater a few weeks ago and the Trojans look to be more put together overall than the Cougars. This could mean another shootout in Stillwater this weekend.

But on the flip side, this loss added to a stat Troy like to forget. From the 2003 season onward, the Trojans are 0-15 on the road against BCS-level competition. That obviously bodes well for OSU, as those teams in that run range in stature from the likes of Florida and Georgia down to Iowa State and Minnesota. Of course, that streak will end at some point, so that's not a guarantee of a game result in this one, but it is a nice stat in favor of the Pokes.

With the relatively close one in Ohio, the Trojans could be coming to Stillwater with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove. Between that game and the one against the Cowboys last season, they're not going to fear coming to the Stillwater Shoe. This indeed could be a very tough out for OSU. We'll see in five days.

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