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September 11, 2009 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, September 11, 2009 - 9A

Trojans travel to the Horseshoe in weekend's biggest matchup

By RYAN KARTJE and
ALEX HERMANN
Daily Sports Writers
NO.3 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
TROJANS AT NO.8 OHIO STATE
BUCKEYES
One year ago, then-freshman
quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the
nation's hottest recruit, was watch-
ing from the sideline at The Coli-
seum in Los Angeles in one of the
year's most anticipated matchups.
And after starter Todd Boeck-
man didn't provide much spark,
coach Jim Tressel decided to throw
the highly touted freshman into the
mix. What Tressel didn't know was
that he was feeding Pryor to the
dogs as the Buckeyes were over-
whelmed by the Trojans, allow-
ing35unanswered pointsto Mark
Sanchez and Co. and managing a
field goal in garbage time.
One year later, Sanchez is a
member of the New York Jets and
Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll
will have to showcase his own
superstar freshman, Matt Bark-
ley. To even things out, this year's
game is in Columbus.
Barkley, the nation's top-rat-
ed recruit in the Class of 2009,
showed last week that he was at
least capable of winning football
games in a 56-3 blowout of San
Jose State. But Barkley never
threw a pass over 15 yards against
the Spartans, something that he
won't get away with in Columbus
on Saturday.
So in a battle of the past two
years' most-hyped recruits, this
game could come down to mental

toughness - something the Buck-
eyes have been struggling with on
the national stage since their 2007
BCS Championship loss to Florida.
The media hasn't spared Ohio State
any criticism, and the Buckeyes are
well aware.
"Every big game, we end up blow-
ing it," left tackle Alex Boone said
after the loss last season.
But in Columbus, the pressure
will be on Barkley to prove that his
freshman performance won't end
like Pryor's.
Rating5 out of5footballs; this one
might be an instant classic.
- t -

UCLA BRUINS AT TENNESSEE
VOLUNTEERS
It was only a year ago when this
matchup between two traditional
powers represented a vital non-
conference clash on the national
landscape.
But as Saturday creeps closer,
both football programs find them-
selves in undesirable territory after
disastrous sub-.500 2008 seasons
by each squad.
After losing to the Bruins last
season, the Volunteers took blow
after blow in the SEC gauntlet, fin-
ishing 5-7 overall and ending coach
Phil Fulmer's career.
Enter Lane Kiffin, the former

coach of the Oakland Raiders.
Bringing a whirlwind of contro-
versy to Knoxville, Tenn., Kiffin
made headlines during the offsea-
son for highly publicized feuds with
former employer Al Davis and Flori-
da coach Urban Meyer.
Bruins' second-year coach Rick
Neuheisel finds himself in a similar
situation in his search to right the
ship at his alma mater.
In the very least, this matchup
provides a breath of fresh air on a
college football schedule diluted
with cupcakes.
Rating:3 out ofSfootballs.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS
AT MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Saturday's game in Spartan Sta-
dium will feature multiple quar-
terback competitions.
MSU coach Mark Dantonio con-
tinues to foster a spirit of compe-
tition at quarterback following
an impressive outing by both sig-
nal-callers against FCS opponent
Montana State. Kirk Cousins, who
got the start last week, split snaps
with Oklahoma transfer Keith
Nichol.
But neither quarterback will be
the best QB on the field Saturday.
Quarterback Dan LeFevour, one
of the nation's most underrated

players, looks to rebound from
an opening week loss at Arizona.
LeFevour and the Chippewas have
had success in the past against the
Big Ten, nearly knocking off Pur-
due in the Motor City Bowl two
years ago.
As Dantonio continues to lay a
strong foundation of competent
football in East Lansing, avoid-
ing an upset against the Chips
will help solidify a rising MSU
football program and make them
feel confident going into Big Ten
season.
Rating:3 out of5footballs.

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