Game Four: Troy Trojans
Location: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, OH)
Head Coach: Larry Blakeney
Troy Players Who Were Recruited By Ohio State: N/A. Troy does not have anyone on their roster that was actively recruited by Ohio State.
Scouting Report: This report is going to be a little different from some of the others that I have previously written for this season, as I have not seen any footage of Troy's two previous opponents (Middle Tennessee, Alcorn State). One of the scouting commandments I learned from the late great Tony Razzano years ago before I landed my internship with the Redskins is that a scout never comments on a player or team unless they have seen it themselves. Put it another way - I can only go by what I see.
Troy has developed a reputation for not only playing big-time opponents tough, but also for productive offenses that can score lots of points. While Troy can score points, Troy also gives up lots of points. If this game turns into a shoot-out, as Troy would like it to, that could make for an anxious day for Ohio State.
I will remind people that months ago I wrote that this game could be a trap for Ohio State. Considering how Troy beat Oklahoma State last year, and played Arkansas and Georgia tough until losing, leads me to emphasize that Troy will NOT be intimidated coming into Ohio Stadium to play the Buckeyes.
The wild card in this whole equation that cannot be determined until game time is what is the mental state of Ohio State after the beating they sustained at the hands of USC last weekend? Will Ohio State rebound after this loss, or will their season possibly go into the tank?
Coach Tressel is adding intrigue to the whole situation with the announcement that QB Terrelle Pryor will have equal playing time with senior QB and team captain Todd Boeckman. Considering Pryor's mobility adds another dimension to Ohio State's offense that seemed to spark Ohio State last week against USC, it would not surprise me if Pryor gets the start to not only energize the restless fan base who will be in the stadium, but also energize the team and send a message to Todd Boeckman that he needs to elevate his play.
Chris Wells will not play against Troy, which is only adding to the speculation that his injury is much worse than originally diagnosed. Rumors of a possible medical redshirt are becoming more and more common when Chris Wells' name is mentioned.
Prediction: I believe Ohio State is going to come out with something to prove to its fans. Knowing the national championship is beyond their reach, the seniors will devote the remainder of their final season to winning The Big Ten and earning a trip to The Rose Bowl. Behind closed doors, I can only suspect that the coaches have been stinging their players' pride, announcing that all jobs are open, and challenging them to get Ohio State back to a position of respect amongst the college football community. This is going to be the beginning of the Terrelle Pryor era at Ohio State.
I'm going to say Ohio State 35, Troy 14.