You’ll have to excuse me for not finishing with the linebackers and defensive backs. I decided I wanted to actually spend time with friends and family over winter break instead of just writing about Oregon football. Crazy, right?
And I’m writing this from my girlfriend’s cousin’s living room. Lucky for me, no one is up yet.
If you’ve been reading my position analyses so far (you can read the breakdowns here), then you have a pretty good idea of what I expect to happen. But there are a few keys things that need to happen for the Ducks to get their first Rose Bowl victory in 93 years.
Big Game Masoli
So far, Jeremiah Masoli has been at his best when the pressure is on—both Civil Wars, the Holiday Bowl, USC, Arizona, etc—but this is by far the biggest of them all (hence, the Rose Bowl nickname).
This is the toughest defense Masoli will have faced in his career, especially with Ohio State’s prowess stopping the run. The all-conference quarterback needs to get Ed Dickson involved early, speed up the tempo, and keep the Buckeyes defense guessing.
Just a heads up Ohio State fans, Masoli is a little better than Tate Forcier.
Get to Pryor’s Head, and Knee
Terrelle Pryor has had problems keeping his composure this season, even visibly yelling at teammates on the field during the Purdue game. With the news of Pryor’s partially torn PCL, I’m pretty sure I can guess how Nick Aliotti is going to start the game—pressure, pressure and more pressure.
The Ducks need to make Pryor feel uncomfortable, and if the former top recruit starts worrying about his knee more than finding the open receiver down field, that spells disaster for the Buckeyes.
The 400,000 Duck fans that came down to Pasadena should help too.
Ohio State has never seen an offense that plays at this fast of a tempo before. They’ve had over a month to prepare, but how will they be able to react on the field to the Ducks no huddle spread?
I feel Ohio State will keep up at first, but Masoli, LaMichael James, and company will tire out the bigger, slower Buckeyes. If that happens, this game is over.
Recent Bowl History
How you do in a bowl game is based much more on motivation and desire than actual talent. Like we’ve seen so much this season, the better team often lets down because they think they should be in a better game and have nothing to gain by beating a weaker opponent.
Oregon State went from the Rose Bowl to the MAACO Bowl and got run over, Utah beat Alabama last year because the Tide went from the championship game to playing a mid-major.
ESPN’s Ted Miller mentioned that Ohio State is used to playing Texas, USC, or an SEC power: will they get up for little ol’ Oregon the same way as the others? (Not that they did well against the others.)
Let’s just say, if by some chance I woke up and found $500 in my pocket tomorrow, I would parley all of it on Oregon and the over. (Ducks by 3 1/2, over/under 50 1/2)
Oregon’s tempo wins out and runs away from Ohio State in the end.
Final: Oregon 38, Ohio State 23.
I want to make this a pregame open thread. What are your thoughts? (Crazy Buckeye fans too)
Be sure to join in the open thread over at UOSportsDude.com as well.