- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 13, 2008

LOS ANGELES | Ohio State running back Chris “Beanie” Wells will not play for the fifth-ranked Buckeyes against No. 1 Southern California on Saturday night.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel made the announcement late Friday afternoon after the team went through a 40-minute walkthrough at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

“He’s been getting treatment 15 times a day,” Tressel told the assembled media just minutes after he told his team of the decision. “I guess if looks could kill he fought me. I just told the team because it’s important our guys know what we thought we should do.”

The Trojans (1-0) will be playing their first game since an impressive 52-7 victory Aug. 30 at Virginia. Ohio State (2-0) has beaten in-state opposition Youngstown State 43-0 and Ohio University 26-14.

Wells, who rushed for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, injured his right foot in the opener and without him, the Buckeyes had to rally to beat the lightly regarded Bobcats last weekend.

Tressel said early in the week that Wells would play, but it was a different story Thursday, when he said the 6-foot-1, 237-pound junior was doubtful because of lingering soreness in his foot.

Redshirt freshman Dan Herron, sophomore Brandon Saine and senior Maurice Wells shared the carries for Ohio State against Ohio University.

Even without Wells, the Coliseum will host the most highly anticipated September college football game in years.

That pretty much says it all.

A sellout crowd of 93,607 will be on hand at the Los Angeles Coliseum, with some paying big bucks to be there. According to ticket distributor StubHub, it’s selling tickets for an average of $405 apiece.

The Trojans have won 38 of 39 at home and haven’t lost a nonconference game since 2001, when Kansas State beat them 10-6 in Pete Carroll’s first year as the USC coach.

USC went 6-6 in Carroll’s first season, but are 71-8 in the past six-plus years. Jim Tressel became the Ohio State in 2001 as well, guiding the Buckeyes to a 7-5 record in his first year. They’ve gone 69-11 since.

USC defensive coordinator Nick Holt said the Trojans face a difficult challenge against the Buckeyes, even sans Wells.

“They’ve got a veteran offensive line, four of the five starters are back,” Holt said. “They’re dangerous no matter what because they’re very experienced up front. If you don’t stop the run against these guys, they’ll get after you, they’ll make you pay.”

Todd Boeckman, in his second year as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback, passed for 2,379 yards and 25 touchdowns with 14 interceptions last season, and 297 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions so far this year. Freshman Terrelle Pryor, one of the most heavily recruited prep players in the country last year, has gained 89 yards on 14 carries and passed for another 35 yards.

Carroll said he expects to see both players.

“They present different situations and different problems,” Carroll said. “Terrelle Pryor is a great athlete. This guy is a really big-time player.”

Quarterback Mark Sanchez will be making his fifth career start for USC. He passed for a career-high 338 yards and three touchdowns at Virginia, where five different tailbacks scored touchdowns for the Trojans.

“We’d better be fast,” Tressel said. “I don’t care what they’re running, they are fast.”

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