OSU Tries to Regroup
Ohio State had to carry the weight of blowout losses in the previous two BCS championship games for eight months before getting a chance to play again.
They won't have to endure an offseason of criticism before returning to the field after their latest big loss - just one week's worth.
After suffering their worst defeat in nearly 14 years, the No. 13 Buckeyes will try to bounce back Saturday at home when they host unbeaten Troy.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Ohio State –21.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 61% of bets for this game have been placed on Ohio State –21.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Ohio State (2-1) had lost just three times in its past 35 games before traveling to top-ranked Southern California last week, and two of those losses had come with the national title at stake. The Buckeyes were heavy favorites to beat Florida in the 2007 BCS championship game and lost 41-14, then fell behind by three touchdowns in last season's title game en route to a 38-24 loss to LSU.
Last Saturday in Los Angeles, the end result was even worse for Ohio State. Playing without injured tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells, the Buckeyes turned the ball over three times and couldn't stay close to the No. 1 Trojans, losing 35-3.
It was Ohio State's most-lopsided defeat since a 63-14 loss to Penn State in October 1994.
Limping back to Columbus, which was stricken by power outages due to high winds over the weekend, coach Jim Tressel simply wanted his players to put the loss behind them.
"I was hoping on Sunday when we got back to watch the film the power would be out, but it wasn't," Tressel said.
"We were never able to take control on offense or defense. We must now roll up our sleeves and realize we can't play like this and win."
Ohio State ran for 71 yards on 34 carries without Wells, who is listed as questionable against Troy (2-0). Tressel said he'll see how the running back responds in practice this week.
"His cutting work and push-off and more football-oriented stuff will begin again (Tuesday)," Tressel said. "If he can handle that, we can upgrade him from questionable to probable."
The Buckeyes also face a cloudy situation at quarterback. Todd Boeckman was first-team all-Big Ten as a junior, throwing for 2,379 and 25 touchdowns, but freshman Terrelle Pryor - expected to be a change of pace for a few series a game - now could be a threat to take even more playing time.
Boeckman looked overmatched against USC, throwing for just 84 yards while tossing two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He was also sacked four times.
Pryor, who at one point early in the game was alternating snaps with Boeckman, played more in the second half. He finished 7-for-9 for 54 yards while also running for 40, giving the Buckeyes an ability to make plays from outside the pocket that Boeckman doesn't provide.
Tressel said he and his staff felt if Ohio State had to play a game early in the week, the split between Pryor and Boeckman would be "50-50."
"Terrelle has been very impressive," Tressel said. "There's not many freshmen that I've had with very limited reps that have been able to conceptually pick up as much as he has, and he's a pretty special player."
After losing by 32 to USC, Ohio State this week will face a group of Trojans coming off an even more lopsided win. Troy piled up a school-record 736 yards of total offense last Saturday in a 65-0 victory over Alcorn State.
The Trojans, members of the Sun Belt conference, have made a regular habit of visiting top-level opponents since joining Division I-A in 2001. They're 1-13 against ranked teams with the lone win coming at home over Missouri in 2004, but they've come close on the road. Since 2004, they've lost by four points at LSU, seven at Florida State and 10 last season at Georgia.
"It is the chance of a lifetime," linebacker Bear Woods said of Troy's first meeting with Ohio State. "It is a great opportunity for this program and for me."
Troy's offense is led by a pair of sophomores - quarterback Jamie Hampton and tailback DuJuan Harris (6.7 yards per carry). Hampton threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns - running for another score - against Alcorn State in his second career start.
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