Ohio State will do everything it can to get the ball to wide receiver Joey Galloway tonight when the Buckeyes face Fresno State in the Pigskin Classic.
After all, it might be the best opportunity all season for No. 20 Ohio State to showcase Galloway, who is touted by coach John Cooper as a candidate for the Heisman Trophy."He scored one out of every four times he touched the ball last season," Cooper said Sunday.
"We're trying to design ways to get him the ball, whether we pitch it to him or whether we line him up and hand it to him. We've got to get him the ball more than we did last year."
Galloway tied a team record last season with 11 touchdown receptions. Against Fresno State, he will challenge what could be the Bulldogs' biggest weakness: freshmen Marlyn Jackson and Woody Green, the team's starting cornerbacks.
But Galloway insists that his pass routes won't be nearly as easy as they might seem.
"In college football you can't take anybody lightly," he said. "They are young, but I expect they'll be ready to play."
As for the rest of the game, Fresno State coach Jim Sweeney knows his team doesn't match up well against Ohio State (10-1-1 last season).
Fresno State (8-4) returns only three starters on offense and six on defense.
"They're the best team," Sweeney said. "There's no doubt in their mind. There's no doubt in John Cooper's mind. If he thought he had a chance to lose it, he would have never brought them out here."
Leading Fresno State will be Adrian Claiborne, a sophomore quarterback who starts his first college game.
Although the Bulldogs are traditionally one of the top passing teams in college football, Sweeney has said the team will try to establish more of a running game this season. Unlike previous seasons, when Fresno State alternated tailbacks, the Bulldogs will primarily rely on Michael Pittman.
To take advantage of Fresno State's inexperienced secondary, Ohio State will start the game conservatively and then try to pick apart the defense with short, controlled passes.