Saturday, September 19, 2009

PRYOR DAZZLES IN BUCKEYES' 38-0 VICTORY OVER TOLEDO

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

CLEVELAND — On the third play of the opening series against Toledo on Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio State sophomore quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, showed his coach why he needed to open up the offense and let him do what he does best.

On a third-and-seven at their own 24-yard line, Pryor displayed his strong right arm, firing a high, spiraling moon shot down the middle of the field to a speeding Dane Sanzenbacher for a 76-yard touchdown, causing an eruption from the crowd of 71,000-plus — mostly OSU fans — at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

It was a much better start than the one he had last week when he tossed an interception on the Buckeyes' opening series against Southern California.

Pryor admitted after the game that it was of vital importance that he and the Buckeyes offense knocked out seven on the first drive.

"It was very crucial," Pryor said. "We had a lot of energy coming in (to the drive) because the defense had just got a three-and-out. That was big for us on third down to get the touchdown. It was big to score on that first drive."

Pryor continued to shine in the passing game during the second series for the Buckeyes, as he hit on passes of eight yards to DeVier Posey, 12 yards to Duron Carter and capped off the drive with another scoring strike to Sanzenbacher — this time from 17 yards out.

Pryor finished the game 17-of-28 passing for 262 yards and three touchdowns in the Buckeyes 38-0 victory over the Rockets.

The sophomore star also showed why he was heralded as a multi-threat talent coming out of high school, as Pryor rushed for 110 yards on 12 carries and a TD.

The Buckeyes signal caller said that it doesn't matter what it takes, whether he uses his arm or his legs — or both — it's all about getting the 'W.'

"I'm just here to win. Whatever I can do," Pryor said. "Whether it's 100 yards rushing, 100 yards passing, four yards rushing ... whatever I can do to get a win and contribute, that's what I try to do."

The only negative to Pryor's performance on Saturday was the two interceptions he threw. However, he understands what went wrong on each play and what he needs to do to prevent it in the future.

"Coach said — I heard him from out in the hallway — I should have stepped up and threw or stepped up and ran," Pryor said. "I was going to throw it to Ray (Small) on the sideline, so he could catch it and get out, but the ball took off after I got hit.

"The second one was just a bad ball," Pryor continued. "You know, those things happen. For us to be successful and not put our defense in a bad spot, I need to throw the ball with more power and put my legs into it. I just made a bad decision right there. Those things happen."

Ohio State head coach, Jim Tressel, who caught a lot of flack this past week for his conservative play calling, most notably not running Pryor on a QB sneak at the 1-yard line against USC, opted to let his 6-6, 240-pound signal caller run two sneak plays in the win — one on a third-and-one during the second series of the game, and the other on a second-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the third quarter. The first one Pryor converted into a first down. The second one — he scored a TD.

After the game Tressel chuckled when asked about finally using Pryor on a couple sneak plays.

"We did, we did," Tressel smiled. "Well, you know the thing I found out, you guys brought up this stuff about emails and all that — well a lot of those emails were from my offensive staff. And so, they must of gotten their point across."

So was his offensive staff the "miserable" and "unhappy" people he was referring to?

Who knows? But nonetheless, his staff — and the fans — aren't "miserable" anymore!

OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT SATURDAY

THE BUCKEYES' DEFENSE
— Coming into the game, the Rockets had one of the most high flying offenses in the nation, scoring 42.5 points per game. Well, the Buckeyes blanked the Rockets attack and held the nation's leader in total individual offense — Toledo senior quarterback, Aaron Opelt — to just 181 yards and no scores. The Buckeyes defense, led by linebacker Brian Rolle (8 tackles) held Opelt to minus-16 yards rushing in the Buckeyes win.

DANE SANZENBACHER — The junior wide receiver from Toledo burned his hometown team for five receptions, 126 yards and two touchdowns.

"I don't know if they'll let me come back home now," Sanzenbacher laughed.

Sanzenbacher showed his incredible speed on the first series by hauling in a 76-yard score on a go route, and then displayed his great hands on the second series snagging a TD on a 17-yard missle from Pryor.

TRUE FRESHMAN TAILBACK, JORDAN HALL — Pryor's former high school teammate at Jeannette (PA) looked like the real deal during his first collegiate action Saturday. The quick back rushed for 44 yards on just seven carries, and had a run of 17 yards in the final quarter, which set up a 4-yard TD pass from Pryor to Posey.

Hall's elusiveness and vision were apparent, and the frosh could become more of an impact as the Big Ten Conference play begins this coming up Saturday.