Game Data: Texas at Ohio State

We look at the pertinent information, depth charts, key match-ups and share one man's opinion on how Saturday's showdown between No. 6 Ohio State and No. 2 Texas may play out.

Game Data

* Date, Time: Sat., Sept. 10; 8:08 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Ohio Stadium

* TV: ABC (national broadcast); Announcers: Brent Musberger, Gary Danielson, Jack Arute.

* 2005 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 1-0, ranked sixth in Associated Press poll, ninth in USA Today coaches poll; Texas, 1-0, ranked second in AP poll and coaches poll.

* 2004 Records: Ohio State, 8-4 overall, 4-4 Big Ten; Texas, 11-1 overall, 8-0 Big 12 South.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (fifth year at OSU, 41-11; 20th year overall, 176-68-2; vs. Texas, first meeting); Texas, Mack Brown (eighth year at Texas, 71-19; 22nd year overall, 157-93-1; vs. Ohio State, first meeting).

* Series History: First meeting.

* Texas Schedule: Sept. 3, Louisiana-Lafayette, W 60-3; Sept. 10, at Ohio State; Sept. 17, Rice; Oct. 1, at Missouri; Oct. 8, vs. Oklahoma (in Dallas); Oct. 15, Colorado; Oct. 22, Texas Tech; Oct. 29, at Oklahoma State; Nov. 5, at Baylor; Nov. 12, Kansas; Nov. 25, at Texas A&M.

* Texas Key Players: QB Vince Young (148 of 250 passing, 1,849 yards passing, 12 TDs, 11 INTs, 167 carries, 1,079 yards, 14 TDs in 2004; 13 of 17 passing, 173 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT in 2005), RB Jamaal Charles (14 carries, 135 yards, 1 TD in 2005), WR Brian Carter (3 catches, 65 yards in 2005), WR David Thomas (3 catches, 34 yards, 2 TDs in 2005), DE Brian Robinson (8 tackles in 2005), LB Aaron Harris (7 tackles in 2005).

* Texas Fast Facts: Location: Austin, Texas; Enrollment, 50,403; Nickname, Longhorns; Colors, Burnt Orange and White; Stadium, Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (surface, grass; capacity, 80,082).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 4 Santonio Holmes, 5-11, 190, Jr.

8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 240, Jr.

LT 50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

71 Steve Rehring, 6-8, 329, So.

LG 77 Rob Sims, 6-4, 310, Sr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Sr.

C 55 Nick Mangold, 6-4, 290, Sr.

50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

RG 72 T.J. Downing, 6-5, 305, Jr.

67 Kyle Mitchum, 6-6, 295, Fr.

RT 74 Kirk Barton, 6-7, 325, So.

73 Steve Winner, 6-6, 300, Sr.

TE 80 Ryan Hamby, 6-5, 255, Sr.

87 Brandon Smith, 6-3, 240, Fr.

FL 7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 175, So.

5 Albert Dukes, 6-1, 190, Fr.

QB 12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, Jr.

or 10 Troy Smith, 6-1, 215, Jr.

TB 25 Antonio Pittman, 5-11, 195, So.

43 Brandon Schnittker, 6-2, 250, Sr.

FB 89 Stan White Jr., 6-3, 242, Jr.

49 Dionte Johnson, 6-0, 250, So.

SL 11 Anthony Gonzalez, 6-0, 195, So.

18 Devon Lyons, 6-4, 214, So.

K 23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

85 Ryan Pretorius, 5-10, 190, Fr.

Ohio State Defense

DE 97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Jr.

99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 276, Jr.

DT 94 Marcus Green, 6-3, 290, Sr.

93 Nader Abdallah, 6-5, 300, Fr.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, Jr.

98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 290, Jr.

DE 57 Mike Kudla, 6-3, 265, Sr.

78 Alex Barrow, 6-4, 255, Fr.

SLB 42 Bobby Carpenter, 6-3, 255, Sr.

33 James Laurinaitis, 6-3, 231, Fr.

MLB 51 Anthony Schlegel, 6-1, 251, Sr.

46 Chad Hoobler, 6-3, 240, So.

WLB 47 A.J. Hawk, 6-1, 240, Sr.

52 John Kerr, 6-1, 246, Jr.

CB 26 Ashton Youboty, 6-1, 188, Jr.

19 Brandon Underwood, 6-2, 170, Fr.

FS 21 Nate Salley, 6-3, 220, Sr.

32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Jr.

SS 9 Donte Whitner, 5-11, 205, Jr.

3 Jamario O'Neal, 6-1, 180, Fr.

CB 6 Tyler Everett, 5-11, 202, Sr.

2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

NB 3 Jamario O'Neal, 6-1, 180, Fr.

34 Rob Harley, 6-2, 202, Sr.

P 15 A.J. Trapasso, 6-1, 220, Fr.

LS 68 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, Jr.

Texas Offense

LT 73 Jonathan Scott, 6-7, 315, Sr.

79 Tony Hills, 6-6, 295, So.

LG 64 Kasey Studdard, 6-3, 305, Jr.

or 51 Mike Garcia, 6-3, 315, Sr.

C 62 Lyle Sendlein, 6-5, 305, Jr.

67 Dallas Griffin, 6-4, 275, So.

RG 72 Will Allen, 6-6, 315, Sr.

55 Cedrick Dockery, 6-4, 315, Fr.

RT 63 Justin Blalock, 6-4, 329, Jr.

78 William Winston, 6-7, 345, Sr.

FL 2 Brian Carter, 5-11, 190, Sr.

9 Nate Jones, 6-2, 195, So.

QB 10 Vince Young, 6-5, 233, Jr.

7 Matt Nordgren, 6-5, 235, Sr.

SE 4 Limas Sweed, 6-5, 219, So.

or 11 Ramonce Taylor, 5-11, 195, So.

TE 16 David Thomas, 6-3, 245, Sr.

87 Neale Tweedie, 6-5, 265, Jr.

TB 22 Selvin Young, 6-0, 215, Jr.

25 Jamaal Charles, 6-1, 190, Fr.

FB 46 Ahmard Hall, 5-11, 235, Sr.

3 Chris Ogbonnaya, 6-1, 220, Fr.

WR 5 Billy Pittman, 6-0, 198, So.

6 Quan Cosby, 5-11, 200, Fr.

K 35 Richmond McGee, 6-4, 203, Sr.

Texas Defense

DE 80 Tim Crowder, 6-4, 270, Jr.

98 Brian Orakpo, 6-4, 238, Fr.

NT 97 Frank Okam, 6-5, 315, So.

92 Larry Dibbles, 6-2, 285, Sr.

DT 90 Rodrique Wright, 6-5, 315, Sr.

76 Thomas Marshall, 6-6, 293, So.

DE 39 Brian Robison, 6-3, 267, Jr.

80 Tim Crowder, 6-4, 270, Jr.

SLB 4 Drew Kelson, 6-2, 215, So.

or 49 Eric Hall, 6-2, 245, Sr.

MLB 2 Aaron Harris, 6-0, 230, Sr.

40 Robert Killebrew, 6-2, 230, So.

WLB 44 Rashad Bobino, 5-11, 230, Fr.

30 Braden Johnson, 6-1, 200, Sr.

CB 8 Cedric Griffin, 6-2, 205, Sr.

28 Brandon Foster, 5-9, 180, So.

SS 7 Michael Huff, 6-1, 205, Sr.

18 Matt Melton, 6-0, 210, Jr.

FS 27 Michael Griffin, 6-0, 205, Jr.

26 Marcus Griffin, 6-0, 195, So.

CB 31 Aaron Ross, 6-1, 192, Jr.

or 5 Tarell Brown, 6-0, 200, Jr.

P 35 Richmond McGee, 6-4, 203, Sr.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: The Longhorns have seven starters back from the unit that helped power Texas to an 11-1 mark a year ago. Only two teams eclipsed 23 points against Texas last year – Oklahoma State and Michigan. Few teams in college football have play makers at defensive tackle as UT has with Rodrique Wright and Larry Dibbles. Tim Crowder is the top name at defensive end. Accordingly, it is my view that yards will be at a premium in the "conventional running game."

This match-up will come down to two things. First, the OSU offensive line will need to give the quarterback – whether it is Justin Zwick or Troy Smith – the time he needs to get the pass away. Then, it will come down to Texas' ability to blanket OSU's receivers. I liked what I saw against Miami as Zwick spread the wealth and four receivers made five catches each. Dropping down to the second or third target may be where the yardage will be found.

OSU did not hit many big plays against Miami. Setting up the long ball and hitting on it will be huge. Smith's presence could give Ohio State a big lift. He brings a dimension that few teams have. My guess – and I write this before Jim Tressel's weekly luncheon – is that Zwick will start, but Smith could get in this game quickly. Whoever is most effective will likely play the second half. I think whoever plays OSU has the offensive firepower to compete with Texas.

* When Texas Has The Ball: I think Ohio State's defense is fully prepared for this game with Texas. Miami, though an MAC team, has a strong offense and passing game. Through 3-1/2 quarters, the OSU first-team defense allowed MU 179 yards and no points. Miami's two touchdowns came against the reserves in the final 2:19.

The difference here will be Vince Young. Like Troy Smith, he will break contain and get what he can get when things break down. Unlike Miami's Josh Betts, who was a sitting target and was sacked five times, OSU must contain Young and keep his running exploits to a minimum. His 11 INTs a year ago – and one against sadsack Louisiana-Lafayette – show he will make mistakes when pressured. Again, my guess is OSU will disguise its defenses and bring pressure from every direction. And, with a crowd in excess of 105,000, changing plays at the line of scrimmage will be no easy feat.

I liked the wrinkle Jim Heacock used against Miami. When he went to the nickel, he left his three senior linebackers in the game and pulled a defensive lineman. Miami picked up on that strategy and did run the ball effectively against the three-man front. This where the linebackers and safeties must be on their toes.

I know Texas has a big offensive line – the starters average 315 pounds – but I don't seethe Longhorns piling up a lot of running yards, particularly with unproven running backs.

* How It Will Go: This should be a great college football game, no question. Texas comes in as the highest ranked nonconference team in the 85-year history of Ohio Stadium. That says it all. The winner will have the inside track for a shot at the national championship, provided it can take care of its business in conference play.

For some reason, I see a lot of points scored. Texas and Young are too good to be completely contained. Oklahoma was the only team a year ago that held UT under 20 points. Ohio State's offense is ready to explode after missing on three good red zone opportunities in the Miami game.

The year was 1995 and I was sitting in Chicago's Comiskey Park. I was discussing the upcoming OSU-Notre Dame game with some ND fans. I shocked them when I said I saw Ohio State winning that game by two or three. They thought I meant points. They were really shocked when I said, "No, not two or three points – two or three touchdowns." If memory serves me correctly, Ohio State won that game by 19, 45-26.

The same premise applies here. The final margin in some of the big games ends up larger than you might think. And, moreover, I don't think Texas is prepared for what it will see at Ohio Stadium Saturday night. The fans will make it hard for the Longhorns to think and I imagine OSU will press the issue and do everything it can to confound UT into mistakes.

The winner should leave the weekend with the No. 2 ranking nationally and may even get some No. 1 votes.

The Buckeyes will play hard. The Buckeyes will play fast. And, yes, the Buckeyes will play well. I've got it: Ohio State 38-24

* For The Record: I am 1-0 straight-up and 1-0 against-the-spread with Ohio State. (As of Monday, the OSU-Texas game was listed as a pick'em.)

* Other Picks: On this week's Bucknuts Radio Hour, Mr. Bucknuts picked OSU 30-17. Kirk Larrabee had it OSU 23-20, while Jerry Rudzinski said OSU 20-17. Our guest, Clendon Ross of Inside Texas (texas.scout.com), picked Texas 24-17.

-- Steve Helwagen


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