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by Joedy McCreary
(Thursday, August 20) COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For those who doubt Butkus Award-winning linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer will be academically eligible this fall, the Ohio State junior has a message:
"I react better when people doubt me," Katzenmoyer said. "People doubted me coming in here, when I had a pretty good freshman season. People doubt me now, and I'm going to be eligible.
"Just doubt me," Katzenmoyer said.
"I'll prove you wrong."
Katzenmoyer and teammates Damon Moore and Rob Murphy fell into academic trouble when their gradepoint averages fell below 2.0.
o while their Ohio State teammates find themselves practicing full-bore for the season, the "Big Kat" must divide his time between football and summer school.
Katzenmoyer has never been one to back down from anything -- teammate Joe Montgomery calls the 6-foot-4, 260-pounder a "freak of nature."
And that determination is going to come in handy on Sept. 5, when -- grades willing, of course -- Katzenmoyer and his top-ranked Buckeye teammates visit Mountaineer Field to play No. 11 West Virginia.
"I've heard that they are pretty intense down there about playing us," Katzenmoyer said.
"I've heard that there's some kind of countdown in Morgantown. It's going to be a challenge because we're playing in a tough environment and they'll be raring to go to beat the No. 1 team in the nation," Katzenmoyer said.
Most concerning to Katzenmoyer is WVU's offensive explosiveness.
"It's going to be tough to stop them," Katzenmoyer said.
"I just hope we can go out there and slow them down enough and give our offense some opportunities to score and make it a game," he said.
And solving WVU tailback Amos Zereoue is a daunting task, he said. Katzenmoyer calls Zereoue "an incredible back with tremendous talent."
Ohio State's near-consensus No. 1 preseason ranking is a perk, Katzenmoyer said. But it only matters if the Buckeyes win the Fiesta Bowl, this year's national championship game.
"As a football fan, it's cool, I guess," Katzenmoyer said. "But I'd rather be No. 1 at the end."