R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Ohio (8-4) vs. Troy (7-5)
Saturday December 18, 2010
9:00 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
Twitter – @CFBExaminer, @NewOrleansBowl
The Ohio State Buckeyes dominate college football in the state of Ohio and have 19 bowl victories marked in the record books. This Saturday the Ohio Bobcats will look to pick up their first bowl victory in school history. Ohio takes on co-Sun Belt champion Troy in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
“The opportunity to play a bowl game there makes the experience even more memorable,” Ohio safety Donovan Fletcher told the school’s official website. “Troy is an exceptional team and competing against them will be a challenge that I know our team is looking forward to.” Ohio is not used to making bowl trips but are making their first back-to-back bowl trip for the first time in program history. The New Orleans Bowl will be the third bowl game played since 2007 and the fifth in Ohio’s history.
Ohio’s coach, Frank Solich, is familiar with the bowl routine though. Solich has played in the national championship game once for Nebraska and he guided Nebraska to a pair of bowl victories. “Coach Solich is a high-caliber man,” Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. “You never heard a peep out of him when he was fired from his alma mater when he went. He just went on and got himself another job and went to work.”
This season the Bobcats were close to playing for the MAC championship but a loss at Kent State opened the door for Miami, who defeated Northern Illinois for the conference championship. After ending the regular season with a loss Ohio, like many teams around the nation, will look to finish the season on a winning note in a bowl game.
Senior quarterback Boo Jackson will need to play a consistent game in order to get by a stingy Troy squad. Jackson threw for a school record 35th career touchdown this season but the passing game ranks 105th in the nation. If Ohio is to win they will rely on the running game, which averages 168.9 yards per game. The running game is sparked by another quarterback, Phil Bates who in split playing time with Jackson rushed for 508 yards and three touchdowns. Bates’ rushing total was second on the team and one yard less than team leader Vince Davidson’s 509 rushing yards.
While Ohio struggles to pass the ball, Troy has little trouble in the air. Troy’s passing game is led by Corey Robinson and his 3,339 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes. Robinson spreads the ball around as well. Jerrel Jernigan, Chip Reaves and Jason Bruce each had five touchdown catches.
“Hopefully we can give them some problems too from our offense to their defense and in the kicking game,” Blakeney said. “We’ve got a little time, but not a whole lot, to prepare.”
Troy will be playing in their third New Orleans Bowl. The Trojans are 1-1 in the bowl game with a win against Rice in the 2006 game and a loss to Southern Mississippi two seasons later (2008).
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