This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features Ohio University Bobcats taking on Troy University Trojans in the 10th annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in the Superdome down in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Troy, 7-5, 6-2 Sun Belt, is making its third straight bowl appearance and the fifth in the last seven years. The Trojans started their season in quest of their fifth straight Sun Belt Conference title, it did achieve, the goal wasn’t as easy as it had been in years past. With a little help from Middle Tennessee, which defeated FIU in the regular-season finale, the Trojans finished tied with the Golden Panthers atop of the league standings.
Head coach Larry Blakeney saw his team get out to a good and healthy start of 4-2 and then suddenly witnessed his squad go into a three game tail spin. Red-shirt freshman quarterback Corey Robinson stepped up and help get things back on course. Robinson threw for 3,339 yards and 24 touchdowns while completing over 62 percent of his throws. Helping Robinson’s maturation process was players like playmaker Jerrel Jernigan who will finish his college career as the schools and conference all-time leader in receptions, yards and all-purpose yards. This year the veteran wide-out led the team with 77 receptions and 774 yards while bringing in 5 touchdowns.
With all the attention diverted to the passing game the rushing attack for Troy quietly puts up solid numbers. The team comes averages 151.3 ypg and is being paced by duo of Shawn Southward, 548 yards, 7 touchdowns, and DuJuan Harris, 498 yards, 5 touchdowns.
Ohio, 8-4, 6-2 MAC, opened the year with a poor September, losing three of its first four games, but once the calendar shifted to October the Bobcats went into its regular season finale with a seven game winning streak and a chance to claim its third Mid-American Conference East Division title in five seasons. However that ended for head coach Frank Solich’s team when it lost to a mediocre Kent State 28-6.
The Bobcats though have an offense that are dedicated to pounding the rock because they have two monsters of tackles to go behind in First Team All-MAC Joe Flading and A.J. Strum. The Bobcats average 169.2 ypg on the ground behind Vince Davidson, who is leading the team with 513 yards and 6 touchdowns. To go along with Davidson is a dual rushing attack from the quarterback position. Phil Bates, who is mainly brought into the game to run the football, has rumbled for 508 yards, while starting quarterback Boo Jackson has rushed for 325 yards and a team best 7 touchdowns.
Jackson however is not much of a threat to throw the ball as he is on completing slightly over 60 percent of his throws and 16 interceptions. As for Bates, his passing numbers are a clear indication why he is brought into games, because the young quarterback completes only 40.9 percent of his throws.
Ohio makes its fifth postseason appearance and is back in a bowl game after last year’s 21-17 loss to Marshall in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. The Bobcats are 0-4 in bowl games. Troy is making their third straight bowl appearance and fifth in seven seasons. They lost 44-41 in double overtime to Central Michigan in the GMAC Bowl last season. Troy is 1-1 in the New Orleans Bowl, beating Rice 41-17 in 2006 and falling 30-27 in overtime to Southern Mississippi in 2008 and are 1-4 overall in bowl games. This will be the first ever matchup between the two programs on the the gridiron.
PICK: Ohio University Bobcats
It’s that time of year again and I’m back for another year of Primetime College Football posts. For those that weren’t regular visitors of this site during this time last year, you might not be familiar with the whole objective of these posts. First, breakdowns only come of Primetime games during the season. Bowl season is a different story and every bowl game will get it’s own moment. Second, I don’t root for any particular college team just a fan of all 120 Division 1A and no I won’t call it Football Bowl Subdivision. Third, these are just observations I collect throughout the year and notes I’ve compiled through the years on players. I did somewhat OK last year going 66-27 and slightly above .500 during the bowl season.
Oh and if you have any pictures of TALENT decked out in school gear,doesn’t matter which school, feel free to send them my way. So let’s kickoff the 2010 NCAA Division 1-A Football Season.
The Big Ten Network kicks off the first game of this years Primetime College Football and it’s between Ohio State Buckeyes and Marshall University Thundering Herd. A lot of experts have the Buckeyes in contention to play for a BCS National Championship Game this year but it all starts here.
Marshall starts the year off with new coach Doc Holliday, who inherits a Thundering Herd squad that finished 7-6 a year ago, including 4-4 versus Conference USA competition. Marshall’s last victory was a 21-17 win over Ohio in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. Holliday a longtime assistant and regarded as one of colleges best recruiters returns 13 starters. Senior quarterback Brian Anderson is one of them after throwing for 2,646 yards and 14 touchdowns 13 INTS last year. Anderson main target is Antavious Wilson, who lead the team in catches with 60 catches for 724 yards and 3 touchdowns as a freshman.
On the defensive side of the ball for Marshall they will have to lean heavily on defensive end Vinny Curry, 59 tackles and 3.5 sacks as a sophomore, and senior linebacker Mario Harvey, 117 tackles and 7 sacks. The Thundering Herd will have to go about this season without one of their best play-makers in the secondary after DeQuan Bembry, 3 INTS, was kicked off the team after being charged with assault on a police officer.
Jim Tressel is currently 9-0 in season openers at Ohio State and will watch as junior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Terrelle Pryor looks to guide the Buckeys to their 6th consecutive Big Ten title. Ending the season Pryor had one of his best games when he threw for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for 72 yards in a Rose Bowl victory over Oregon.
Two of Pryor’s favorite targets in DeVier Posey, 60 catches for 828 yards and 8 touchdowns, and Dane Sanzenbacher 36 catches for 570 yards and 6 touchdowns are back. The offense firepower doesn’t stop with Pryor and his favorite wide receivers as running back tandem of Brandon Saine, 739 yards, 5.1 ypc, 4 touchdowns, and Daniel Herron, 600 yds,7 touchdowns also are back. The offensive line also returns four starters.
The headlines might read all about Pryor and the offesne but it’s the Buckeyes defense that should dominate the 2010 college football. The defensive unit that was among the nation’s best last year, ranking 5th in total defense and scoring defense brings back most of its starters. Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward is the real star on the defensive side of the ball as he led the team with 6.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss last year. Top tacklers Ross Homan and Brian Rolle also have returned for their senior seasons.
The only previous meeting between Ohio State and Marshall occurred in 2004 with a narrow 24-21 win by the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes haven’t dropped a home opener since a 19-0 loss to Penn State in 1978.
PICK: The Ohio State University Buckeyes
I’m not going to hate on Pam Ward because I was sitting in front of the TV watching the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and saying the same thing “get him off the field” but she had her microphone still on when they cut away to studio and my microphone was on holiday vacation. Still provides for a good laugh though.
Marshall University has hired West Virginia assistant head coach John “Doc” Holliday, who after three decades of assisting someone else’s program, will finally run one himself. Holliday replaces Mark Snyder who resigned November 29 after going 22-37 in five seasons.
Holliday, 52, known as a fabulous recruiter, signed a five-year contract worth $600,000 per season. Holliday, who grew up 30 miles away from Marshall’s campus, played linebacker at West Virginia from 1976-78. He spent 20 seasons as an assistant under former West Virginia coach Don Nehlen and again for current Mountaineers coach Bill Stewart the past two years. In between he spent five seasons as an assistant at North Carolina State and three seasons as associate head coach for safeties under Urban Meyer at Florida.
Holliday was passed over for the West Virginia head coaching job after Rich Rodriguez left for Michigan in 2007 but eventually hired by Stewart as recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach. Heading southwest from Morgantown to Huntington, Holliday will immediately be met with challenges of rebuilding a winner as well increasing attendance. Under Snyder attendance declined to an average of 22,236 fans this season, nearly half empty.
Adding to the difficult task of shaping a winner is the skeptical fans who loathe his longtime ties with cross-state foe West Virginia.
Marshall still has a game to play this season, as defensive coordinator Rick Minter is the interim coach for the Thundering Herd (6-6) against Ohio (9-4) in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit December 26. Holliday does not to plan to attend the game and will not coach West Virginia (9-3) in the Gator Bowl January 1 when they take on Florida State (6-6).
Holliday will get reacquainted with the Mountaineers soon enough, as next season Marshall’s first game is at Ohio State before the Thundering Herd play host to West Virginia.