Thursday, September 2, 2010

BUCKS ROMP PAST HERD, 45-7

Photo of Ohio State defense by The Buckeye Times.Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
COLUMBUS — The Ohio State Buckeyes didn’t waste anytime getting its 2010 season underway on Thursday, Sept. 2 at Ohio Stadium.

In the 121st home opener in school history, quarterback Terrelle Pryor and tailback Brandon Saine lead the way as the Buckeyes dominated both sides of the ball in a 45-7 victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd.

One of the biggest questions coming into opening night swirled around the workload of Pryor. With a huge game against the University of Miami one week away, many expected Head Coach Jim Tressel to pound the football with his boatload of talented tailbacks.

With Heisman-hype already surrounding Pryor, the junior went 17-for-25 for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Saine, one of six senior captains, ran nine times for 103 yards and two scores.

Ohio State came out with force on the opening kickoff as linebacker Dorian Bell knocked the ball loose and safety Nate Oliver recovered the fumble. Four plays later, Pryor hit receiver DeVier Posey for a six-yard touchdown.

Tressel said he was a little worried of the team's fatigue after a brutal training camp over the summer, but the Buckeyes showed a ton of energy through four quarters.

"We were coming off of a hard training camp and I was a little worried about the fatigue factor on our legs," Tressel said. "It was good that we got a number of guys in."

Less than four minutes later in the first, Saine decided to get in on the action with a stellar 40-yard run. On the following snap, Saine walked into the endzone for a 4-yard touchdown.

Marshall jumped on the board with a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown. But, Pryor quickly stomped on the Herd’s momentum with a perfect 65-yard bomb to receiver Dane Sanzenbacher to push Ohio State's lead to 21-7.

"I think we knew coming into the drive that we were going to have to get the momentum back our way," Sanzenbacher said.

Another stop by the OSU defense then lead to an impressive seven play, 91-yard drive that saw Saine take a 45-yard run to the endzone.

"When (Saine) hits that gear, he can go," Tressel said.

One of the underlying tones of the game seemed to be the strength of the Ohio State defense. With Pryor and Saine lighting up the scoreboard, the defense wanted a little shine, as well. Senior linebacker Brian Rolle was more than happy to provide the highlight.

Rolle showed off his athleticism while intercepting Marshall quarterback Brian Anderson and sprinting 30 yards for the score with 2:46 left in the first half.

The Buckeyes entered the locker room with a comfortable 35-7 lead.

The second half proved to be no different as Ohio State continued to open up the playbook. On a drive that lasted nearly five minutes, the Buckeyes went 80 yards in nine plays that capped on a 11-yard toss from Pryor to Posey.

The defense handcuffed Marshall's offense throughout, holding the Herd to 199 yards of total offense and forcing three turnovers. Defensive back Tyler Moeller led the unit with six tackles and a sack.

"I thought our kids played hard," Tressel said. "It was good to see guys like Tyler Moeller back in there. We see the fact that some of the kids have grown and are becoming better football players.

"The reality is we've got a tremendous challenge next weekend. If we're willing to learn from this weekend and get rested and get healthy, it'll be a lot of fun."