NCAA Football

New Orleans Bowl Preview: Troy vs. Ohio

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New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. Ohio

Saturday, December 18, 2010 9:00 PM ET ESPN

Laying the scene

The Ohio Bobcats have never won a bowl game (0-4 all time), but are headed to their second consecutive bowl game and third in the past five seasons. The Bobcats fell to Southern Mississippi in the GMAC Bowl following the 2006 season and fell to Marshall in last year's Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Head coach Frank Solich gets his third shot at delivering Ohio's first bowl win in this one. The Trojans have not fared all that well in bowl games either, winning one of their four FBS bowl game appearances. Their lone win came in the New Orleans Bowl in 2006 against Rice. The Trojans are bowl-eligible for the third consecutive season and for the fifth time in seven seasons since joining the FBS in 2001.

What Troy has to do to win

The Trojans average 33 points per game and have four players who have rushed for 300 yards or more with Shawn Southward leading the way with 548 yards and seven touchdowns. The passing game ranks 12th in the nation, averaging 289.75 yards per game as Corey Robinson has passed for 3,339 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. One of the keys will be whether Troy can control the game by moving the ball consistently and converting third downs.

What Ohio has to do to win

Get something going on offense. The passing offense ranked 105th in the nation, but the rushing game did produce two 500 yard rushers in Vince Davidson and Phil Bates. Passing-wise, Boo Jackson failed to reach even 1,700 yards and threw 16 interceptions, just one more than his 15 touchdowns. Troy has struggled defensively this season, ranking 101st in pass defense (66th pass efficiency defense) and 80th in rushing defense, but if the Bobcats offense can't get something going, they'll be in trouble against a Troy offense that should score a few points.

The call

Troy. The Trojans get their second bowl win in school history on the back of a somewhat surprisingly productive offense. Both teams have turned the ball over 30 times this season with Troy forcing 28 turnovers and Ohio forcing 25 turnovers. The turnover battle will be key, and while the Ohio defense ranks 28th in the nation (14th rushing defense), this one should come down to which offense is more fluid and productive. - Danny Hobrock

Danny is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.

Email Danny at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at DannyHobrock

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