W. W. (Woody) Hayes has coached the Buckeyes to 25 wins, nine losses and two ties in four seasons. His Rose Bowl team gives Ohio State its first undefeated season since Carroll Widdoes' Big Ten champions of 1944.
DAVE LEGGETT, HOWARD CASSADY, HUBERT BOBO (see opposite page).
BOB WATKINS (No. 45), rhb: Fine power runner with great speed. Led team in scoring with nine TDs, best on off-tackle, traps and dives. Weak on defense.
BOB THORNTON (55), c: Average linebacker, stronger vs. passes than runs. Has a tendency to get too tight in the line on close yardage situations.
JOHN BORTON (20), qb: Spells Leggett but hasn't played much in 1954. Likes to pass on fourth down. A poor runner on the keep. No. 2 punter behind Bobo.
JIM PARKER (62), lg: Powerful on straight-ahead blocking. Fast, but can be fooled when play goes around him.
JIM REICHENBACH (63), rg: Best offensive lineman, especially on traps. Plays head on the center on defense, quick on plays to his right or left.
DICK HILINSKI (70), lt: Good tackle and moves well for his size. May tire. Strong on defense straight ahead. Poor reaction to his right or left.
FRANCIS MACHINSKY (79), rt: Best pass rusher, excellent blocker. Will often charge high and slide. Can be trapped.
DEAN DUGGER (83), le: Best end. Gets downfield fast on a pass, favors straight down or down and out. Good blocker and rough on defense. Hard to knock down.
DICK BRUBAKER (80), re: Good target for hooks and deep passes. Does fine all-round job, has average speed, closes hard and is a good pass rusher.
The Buckeyes developed into one of the best—if not the best—team in the country because every member of the squad played the finest football of his life throughout the rugged schedule. This is a well-balanced offensive team with a big and fast line and four potential ball carriers in Leggett, Watkins, Bobo and Cassady. The first three are power runners, while Cassady is superb on the breakaway. OSU's passing game is built around its running game, with Cassady and Brubaker as favorite receivers for Leggett, who is something of a gambler in that he'll try to hit his ends deep after moving successfully on the ground. Defensively OSU personnel has good pursuit and will react quickly to the situation. The linebackers do a good job, but pass defense can be vulnerable. The Buckeyes capitalize on opponents' mistakes and usually finish strong. They scored 82 of their 229 points in the final quarter. Nine rivals totaled only 14 points during that period.
Coach Jess Hill lost eight of the 1953 starting line-up, but his squad developed rapidly, and many Coast observers think that Hill's multiple offense, in which the Trojans run from the single wing, the tight T and the wing T, may be just what is needed to upset Ohio State. The left half is the big runner in the USC attack, and because Quarterback Jim Contratto prefers passing to running, the pass has been a Trojan trademark this season—just as pass defense has been one of the few Ohio State weaknesses on occasion. Contratto will often try throwing for the distance in an effort to break his receivers past the opposition's halfbacks on their inside. Leon Clarke and Lindon Crow are fine receivers and well able to take it away from defenders when covered. From the single wing the team's favorite play has been the buck lateral keep. USC has looked both good and bad on defense, but when linemen such as Orlando Ferrante, Mario Da Re, George Galli, Marv Goux and Ed Fouch have a good day, it's never a picnic for the opposition.
NUMBERS TO WATCH
DAVE LEGGETT, QB
A sound T quarterback with average speed. Shifty runner dangerous on the keep. Completed 46 of 95 passes for 7 TDs. A good man defensively.
HOWARD CASSADY, LHB
A most deserving All-American who can score on any type of play. Shifty and fast, he returns punts and kickoffs and is a Leggett pass target on the down and out.
HUBERT BOBO, FB
One of the best faking fullbacks in the game, but only average ball carrier. Best linebacker because he'll cover the wide side. An excellent blocker.
JIM CONTRATTO, QB
Plays offensive T quarterback, blocking back on single wing. Best talent is passing. Favorite targets: left half and left end. Not a strong tackler.
ARAMIS DANDOY, LHB
Great on returning punts and kickoffs. One of Contratto's best pass receivers, can also break away on long runs and will quick-kick sometimes on third down.
LINDON CROW, RHB
Best all-round back and a good pass receiver. May go back with Dandoy as double safety. A fine defensive back, he usually makes jarring tackles on carriers.