Trojans Have OSU's Full Attention

An Ohio State team wounded by Saturday's 35-3 loss to USC doesn't have much time to sulk. Coming into Ohio Stadium for the fourth game of the year is a Troy team that thinks it has a pretty good chance against the Buckeyes, making it essential that the Buckeyes quickly get back on the horse this weekend.

A 35-3 loss, even if it comes against the No. 1 team in the nation, certainly is enough to give the appearance that a team might be reeling.

But for the Ohio State football team, any thoughts of having a pity party were quickly swept away when the projectors went on and cut-ups of the Troy Trojans, Saturday's opponent, came on the screen.

"I think by nature it's a little bit hard sometimes (to rebound), but I think as soon as you flip on that film and see what Troy's all about, it's a lot easier because you have a huge test," senior linebacker James Laurinaitis said Tuesday.

The Trojans won't lie down and die at Ohio Stadium come noon on Saturday. Much has been made of the go-anywhere, play-anyone philosophy for Troy, which stepped up to Division I-A in 2001 after winning 10 games or more in six of 10 years from 1991, when current head coach Larry Blakeney took over, to 2000.

Troy will be playing in its 25th game against a BCS conference foe since 2001 and against its 17th different BCS program. The Trojans are just 3-21 in those previous games, but the wins were landmark.

Troy defeated Mississippi State in Starkville in 2001 in just their fifth game as a member of the top flight. Three years later, they welcomed their first BCS conference foe to Troy, Ala., and made a national statement, beating No. 17 Missouri 24-14 on ESPN. Last year, the Trojans claimed another pelt and moved to 2-0 at home against BCS teams with a 41-23 win over Oklahoma State.

Ohio State will be the second Big Ten team to face Troy after Minnesota waxed the Trojans 48-7 in 2003.

"Their whole personality is made up on the fact that 10 years ago they wanted to be Division I and they said their road to Division I is to go to every great stadium in America and introduce themselves to that team," Tressel said. "They've been wanting to schedule us for a couple years and we finally found a spot to get them in. They can't wait to stake claim to visiting a Big Ten stadium and (let) people know who they are."

Perhaps overlooked is just how much talent the Trojans will bring to the table. Troy has finished with a 6-1 record in the Sun Belt Conference each of the past two years and represented the squad in the New Orleans Bowl after the 2006 season.

A number of past players have made it to the NFL, including past first-round draft picks DeMarcus Ware (2004 to Dallas) and Leodis McKelvin (2008 to Buffalo). Osi Umenyiora, who has become a star with the New York Giants, left school after the 2003 season

This team could be one of their best versions over the past few years after an opening win against Middle Tennessee – a team that later beat Maryland and pushed Kentucky to the final play – and a 65-0 drubbing of Alcorn State in which the team set school records for total offense (736 yards) and first downs (36) and tied records for most completions (37), points in a half (52).

Though the opposing slate could have been better so far, the fact that Trojans enter first in the nation in passing efficiency defense, seventh in total defense, eighth in scoring offense, 11th in total offense and 14th in scoring defense is nothing at which to sneeze.

"We can't slack not one bit against this team," Worthington said. "I know they're going to be ready coming into the Horseshoe, so we have to bring our ‘A' game."

While there might be a hangover from the loss to USC given just how badly the Buckeyes played, it makes sense that even in the best of times the game with Troy would be one the team might overlook. Tressel certainly thought so when he looked at the preseason schedule and saw Troy sandwiched between the clash with USC and the Big Ten opener a week later.

"I think everyone in America, as they looked at our schedule, said the most dangerous game on Ohio State's schedule is Troy," Tressel said.

What the loss did do was provide a Troy team that was demolishing Alcorn State a measure of belief that they can play with the Buckeyes.

"It makes us real confident," cornerback Jorrick Calvin said in a quote that reached Sporting News Today. "We had a big game this week and the offense put up some pretty good numbers. Going up there and them just losing a big game like that, I think they'll be hurting and they could get beat again."

The Buckeyes have not lost to a team from outside a current BCS conference since a 23-11 loss to Air Force in the 1990 Liberty Bowl. Such a situation is not on the horizon, according to Ohio State defensive tackle Doug Worthington.

"We're not overlooking Troy," he said. "They can take what they take from the game. Everybody does, but we're going to try to go out there and have a great game.

"We know Troy is coming for us. We're going to play our ball."


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