Fiesta Bowl preview: Texas (11-1) vs. Ohio State (10-2)

January, 5, 2009
1/05/09
6:20
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Who to watch: Texas quarterback Colt McCoy returns to action with a few points to prove. Monday's game will be his first since he was nosed out by Sam Bradford for the Heisman Trophy last month. McCoy is one of the nation's most valuable players after finishing third nationally in pass efficiency, fifth in total offense and even leading his team in rushing this season. The game against Ohio State also will provide him a chance for revenge against the Buckeyes, who beat him in only his second start of his career early in the 2006 season. Since then, McCoy has won 30 of his 36 career starts to become the winningest starting quarterback in school history.

What to watch: The battle in the trenches likely will determine this game. If the Longhorns' pass rush is productive, Texas should have a big advantage. If Brian Orakpo, Sergio Kindle and Roy Miller are able to pressure Ohio State freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor, it could be a long night for the Buckeyes. But if the Ohio State offensive line is keeping the pass rush away from their quarterback, Pryor should have the ability to pick apart Texas' streaky secondary.

Why to watch: The Longhorns are approaching this game with a chip on their shoulders after they were nosed out of the Big 12 championship game by Oklahoma, killing their national title hopes. But this game promises to be an intriguing matchup between two traditional powers with contrasting styles. Texas will match its varied offensive attack against Ohio State's more conventional offense keyed by Chris "Beanie" Wells, who is finally healthy after being hobbled for much of the season with injuries. The Longhorns are undefeated in two previous BCS bowl appearances. However, Ohio State has been remarkably successful against Big 12 teams, posting a 28-4 record in the school's football history, including a 5-0 mark in bowl games. Something has to give.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?