It is official—the stage is set.
Oregon outlasted Oregon State in "The Civil War" and will now face the REAL OSU.
That's right—The Big Ten champion vs. the Pac-10 champion in the granddaddy of them all.
The No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) will face the No. 7 Oregon Ducks (10-2) on Jan. 1, 2010 in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl presented by Citi.
The Ducks are a very talented offensive team and to this point have proven they can score plenty of points to win games, especially in the clutch.
The Buckeyes aren't quite as flashy, preferring to pound their opponents with their unrelenting and very successful running game while boasting one of the top defensive units in the nation, yielding less than 11 points per game.
Will the experience and leadership of junior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli be the difference in leading the Ducks to victory and another big-stage loss for Ohio State, or will youth win out as sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor looks for the first bowl win of his Buckeye career after a narrow, near-miss loss to Texas a year ago?
One thing is certain: When these two teams meet in Pasadena, something must, and will give.
They say defense wins championships and Ohio State gets the edge on that side of the ball—but it remains to be seen if defense, or offense, will ultimately win the 2010 Rose Bowl.
Oregon—By The Numbers
Jeremiah Masoli has 2,066 passing yards, 659 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 15 passing touchdowns, five interceptions, and a QB Rating of 138.
Masoli, LaMichael James, and Kenjon Barner have combined for 2,437 yards on the ground and 29 rushing touchdowns. That's an average of 203 yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game.
After missing 10 games due to suspension, LeGarette Blount is also back in the mix and may have an impact against the Buckeyes for the Ducks.
Oregon's top receivers are Jeff Maehl (52 receptions, 686 yards, six touchdowns), Ed Dickson (42 receptions, 551 yards, six touchdowns), D.J. Davis (22 receptions, 230 yards, two touchdowns), and Jamere Holland (13 receptions, 199 yards, two touchdowns).
Ohio State—By The Numbers
Terrelle Pryor has 1,825 passing yards, 707 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns, 16 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a QB Rating of 128.
Pryor, Brandon Saine, Boom Herron, and Jordan Hall have combined for 2,207 yards on the ground and 19 rushing touchdowns. That's an average of 184 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game.
Ohio State's top receivers are DeVier Posey (52 receptions, 727 yards, seven touchdowns, plus one passing touchdown), Dane Sanzenbacher (27 receptions, 506 yards, six touchdowns), Duron Carter (13 receptions, 176 yards, one touchdown), Ray Small (15 receptions, 175 yards), and Brandon Saine (15 receptions, 165 yards, one touchdown).
Small is also a solid contributor as a punt returner.
1/01/2010—Game 13—4:30PM EST—TV: ABC
Ohio State—Oregon Tidbits
• This will be the eighth meeting between Ohio State and Oregon.
• Ohio State leads the all-time series 7-0 (1958, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1968, 1983, 1987).
• Ohio State is 6-6 all-time in the Rose Bowl.
• This will be Ohio State's first Rose Bowl appearance since their 1997 win over Arizona State.
• The first ever meeting between the two schools was in the 1958 Rose Bowl, a 10-7 Ohio State victory.
• This will be the first meeting in which Ohio State and Oregon are both ranked in the top 10.
• Oregon is 1-3 all-time in the Rose Bowl.
• Oregon's last Rose Bowl appearance was a 38-20 loss to Penn State in 1995.
I seriously doubt that Ohio State's defense, as good as it is, will hold Oregon to less than 11 points.
That being said, I do not believe Oregon's defense will be able to contain the Buckeye's running game, nor will they be able to keep the Bucks from scoring.
Clearly, Masoli has better statistics and would be considered the better QB of the two right now, but I do believe Terrelle Pryor will have more success vs. the Oregon defense than Jeremiah Masoli will have against the Buckeye defense when it comes to scrambling away from pressure, and finding open receivers down the field.
Much like the 2009 Fiesta Bowl (Texas-Ohio State), I fully expect this game to be one of the best, and most entertaining bowls of the season, and also like that game, this one could come down to the final seconds as well.
Call me a homer if you want, but the Buckeyes are due for a big-stage bowl game win, and the Big Ten rep finally gets to play a game in Pasadena in which its opponent is not essentially playing at home 10 minutes from campus (cough, USC, cough).
Ohio State 24