Buckeyes and Bulldogs battle in Pigskin Classic

The Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. Q Fresno State coach Jim Sweeney knows all about Ohio StateUs reputation as a hard-nosed football team from the Big Ten. HeUs not intimidated, and he hopes his players arenUt, either.

RThey have no mystique over us,S said Sweeney, whose Bulldogs face the 20th-ranked Buckeyes in the Pigskin Classic on tonight at Anaheim Stadium.

For his part, Ohio State coach John Cooper isnUt too worried about Fresno State, which finished 8-4 last year and tied for the Western Athletic Conference title.

RIUm confident,S Cooper said. RIUve never put a football team on the field that I didnUt think had a chance to win.S

If anything, college footballUs second game of the 1994 season should be easier for Fresno State than its last game of the 1993 season, Sweeney said. In that game Q the Aloha Bowl Fresno State never led while losing to Colorado 41-30.

RI think our players might be a little prone to worry about Ohio State,S said Sweeney, whose team is playing a Big Ten opponent for the first time ever. RBut IUll tell you this: They will never play a football team with as good a personnel as Colorado. Never.S

The Buckeyes, coming off a 10-1-1 season and a Holiday Bowl victory, see the Pigskin Classic as a warmup for their Sept. 10 game at Washington. Still, playing Fresno State will give Ohio State look at several new starters.

The Buckeyes lost most of their offensive line, leading rusher Raymont Harris and defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

RWeUve got some players who havenUt played that will get an opportunity to play,S Cooper said. RWe donUt look at it as rebuilding; we like to say we reload.S

The BuckeyesU offense revolves around junior quarterback Bobby Hoying, running back Eddie George and Joey Galloway, one of college footballUs top receivers and a third-team All-American last season. On the offensive line, right tackle Korey Stringer was a second-team All-American.

Defensively, Ohio StateUs top goal will be to stop Fresno StateUs passing attack, Cooper said. But this year, Fresno State will be playing without quarterback Trent Dilfer who jumped to the NFLUs Tampa Buccaneers after his junior year. He will be replaced by sophomore Adrian Claiborne, who had only limited playing time last year.

RJim Sweeney made the comment that Claiborne will be a better quarterback than Trent Dilfer,S Cooper said.

At least one Fresno State player is trying to ignore Ohio StateUs tradition, which includes five Rose Bowl victories.

"They're just like us,S nose guard Demetrius Edwards said. RThey eat, sleep and put on their pants before practice just like we do."

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