Ohio St vs Texas
Please Note – This write up is from one of Our regular contributors, a very fine handicapper. Bettorsworld has a Key Release on this Game opposite of this writers prediction. You can read Our Key Release thoughts on this Game right here
The #13 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) meet the #3 Texas Longhorns (11-1) in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl from Glendale, AZ. In case you didnt know, this is where the NFL Arizona Cardinals play their home Games. The field surface is a hybrid Bermuda grass, which would be similar to what the Longhorns play on at home. The Buckeyes play on an artificial surface (Field-Turf). There was an NFL playoff Game Scheduled there on Saturday, of course, and there is a little rain in the forecast so not sure how that would affect the field condition.
The Longhorns had a great season but they are certainly a little disappointed in the outcome. At 11-1, with their only loss being on the road at 11-1 Texas Tech on a last second flukey TD to Michael Crabtree, they were hoping to play in the BCS National Championship Game against Florida. Instead, they were beat out by about a 10th of a point in the BCS standings by Oklahoma and had to settle for the 10th ranked Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl. Texas started off the season 5-0 playing against inferior competition. But then they let everyone know they were for real with back to back to back wins over #1 Oklahoma, #11 Missouri and #7 Oklahoma State to earn the #1 ranking in the nation. That was followed by that last second loss to then # 6 ranked Texas Tech, but they regrouped to win their final 3 Games by a combined score of 129-37.
In the high-scoring Big 12, Texas had the 3rd ranked scoring offense in the Conference with an average output of nearly 44 points per Game (43.92). And in a Conference not known for playing much defense, they boasted the #1 ranked defense, allowing an average of just 18.5 points per Game, which was a full 6 pts less than the #2 ranked Oklahoma defense. Most of their defensive stats came against much lesser competition though. In their 4 Games against the ranked opponents listed above, they GAve up an average of just over 32 points per Game. But they did maintain their scoring average in those Games with an average of 40.5 points per Game scored.
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Longhorn QB Colt McCoy was one of the best in the nation, completing an amazing 77.6% of his passes for 3445 yds, 32 TDs and just 7 INTs. He was also the leading rusher on the team with 576 yds on 128 attempts for a 4.5 YPC average and 10 more TDs. Overall, the Texas offense amassed over 5700 yds and 66 TDs, with 32 coming on the ground and 34 through the air.
The Ohio St. Buckeyes had the benefit of playing in a Big-10 Conference that was a few notches down in quality this year. They lost their two most meaningful Games of the year against USC and Penn St, only scoring a combined 9 pts in those Games. They did get quality wins at Michigan St and against Northwestern, out-scoring those two bowl bound teams by a combined 90-17. But then they only beat a lousy 4-8 Ohio U MAC team by 12 in a 26-14 home win, and they only scored 16 pts against a Purdue team that GAve up an average of 42.5 pts to Michigan, Notre Dame and Northwestern.
Overall, the Ohio St offense average 28 pts per Game, but they were wildly iNConsistent. against DIV 1-A opponents, they scored over 40 pts three times, over 26 in three more Games and in 4 of their Games they scored 20 or less.
Ohio St started the year with QB Todd Boeckman behind center, but during the USC Game they inserted scrambling freshman Terrelle Pryor who has been the starter ever since. Being a run-first team, Pryor has put up a modest 1245 yds on 152 attempts, completing 62.5% for 12 TDs and just 4 INTs. He is also the 2nd leading rusher on the team with 553 yds and 6 TDs. But of course the main offensive focus for the Buckeyes is the 61, 237 lb RB Chris Wells, who has put up nearly 1100 yds and 8 TDs despite missing 3 Games due to injury. Wells has averaged a decent 5.7 ypc behind a good OL. As a team, the Ohio St offense put up almost 4100 yds and 32 TDs.
The Buckeye defense ranked 2nd in the Big-10, behind Penn St, and only GAve up an average of 279 yds per Game and 18 total TDs. They had the #1 ranked pass defense, giving up just 164 yds per Game, as well as the #3 ranked rushing defense in the Conference with an average of just 115 yds per Game.
Playing the 10th toughest Schedule in the nation, the Longhorns put up 1600 yds and 34 more TDs than the Ohio St offense, which played the 45th toughest Schedule. against top caliber competition, the Buckeyes managed just 200 yds of offense and 3 pts vs USC, and 287 yds and 6 pts vs Penn St. Thats no offensive TDs and just 3 FGs total. Those defenses are likely better than this Texas defense, but the Longhorns are likely to be fired up and out to prove a point in this Game. I wouldnt be surprised to see them really step it up. I doubt if Ohio St is going to win in a shootout, so they need to control the Game with the run and try and keep McCoy off the field. Texas has been able to out-scoresome of the top offenses in the nation though, winning against Sam Bradford and the Sooners and Chase Daniel and Missouri, both by double-digits. I dont think Ohio St can keep up in this one and I also think Texas can win by double-digits. Its a lot of points but Im going with the Texas Longhorns 8.
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