Saturday, September 18, 2010

NO HANGOVER ON SATURDAY, BUCKEYES DOMINATE BOBCATS

Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward records a safety during the Buckeyes 43-7 win over Ohio on Saturday in Columbus. (AP photo/Terry Gilliam)
COLUMBUS — Perhaps the biggest concern entering Saturday's football game with Ohio University was whether or not the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes were going to have some sort of hangover following their big win last weekend against Miami.

Well, if there was any hangover to speak of, it was the Bobcats who suffered the nauseating symptoms, as the Buckeyes came out in attack mode on Saturday at Ohio Stadium and handed the visitors a 43-7 defeat, smothering them with a swarming defense and a deadly, yet methodical offense.

"I thought our guys did a good job after an emotional and physical game a week ago (against Miami)," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "I thought we prepared well and our guys had a lot of respect for Ohio, as they should."

The Buckeyes first-team defense — which only played three quarters — was absolutely dominating in the win, surrendering just 73 yards and zero points while forcing the Bobcats into five turnovers.

Ohio — who nearly upset the Buckeyes two seasons ago — were completely outclassed in this season's episode, as they didn't convert a first down until the 10:10 mark of the second quarter.

"A lot of them remember a couple years ago when we played against them and it was a dogfight," Tressel said. "We seized control of the game early."

The Buckeyes defense held the Bobcats to just two yards in the first quarter and 47 total during the opening half.

"I feel like we have guys on defense coming out of the locker room (saying) that we can't come out and play flat no matter what team we're playing," OSU senior linebacker Brian Rolle said. "Cam (Heyward) in the locker room said we've got to get going early, we've got to let guys know that.

"Yeah, it was Ohio this week, and we were able to go out there and play hard and come out fast. If you come out flat, the scoreboard probably would have been a little different. It's always good to have those guys in the locker room getting guys up."

The Buckeyes offense was just as impressive in the first half, most notably quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The OSU signal caller completed a school-record 16 straight passes during the first half, threw two touchdowns, and rushed for another, leading the Buckeyes to a 34-0 halftime lead.

The only flaw of the first half for Pryor was an ill-advised pass with six seconds left before halftime which was intercepted by Ohio's Donovan Fletcher. The pick was Pryor's first of the season. He also threw his second in the third quarter.

Pryor — who only played three quarters on Saturday — finished the win with 235 yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-29 passing. Pryor completed passes to seven different receivers in the victory and also rushed for 35 yards on eight carries, including a 13-yard scoring run.

OSU senior receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said Pryor's elevated comfort level allowed him to complete his passes against Ohio with such efficiency.

"I think what you've been able to see not only through the season but through his time here is that his consistency has improved every year," Sanzenbacher said of Pryor. "It's something we preached about all off season — and coming into this season — that when you feel more comfortable, things start to slow down for you and you can make those passes.

"I think being able to throw those passes so comfortably, it led to all those completions."

As great of a performance as Pryor had against the Bobcats on Saturday, Tressel admitted that all his quarterback will remember are the two interceptions.

"Sixteen in a row is pretty good," Tressel said. "I didn't realize it until they mentioned it after the game ... that's darn good. He was 22-of-29, which is pretty fair. I think he would like to have a couple of those back. Interceptions ruin a quarterback's day in their own mind, and sometimes you forget the 22 completions and all you do is think about the two that didn't work well.

"But as we've been saying all along, Terrelle is a film guy, he's a study guy. He's not happy. He'll be happy when he has 29 straight and that's all we've called. That's just his nature and that's why you love working with him because he loves to work."

The Buckeyes offense finished with 439 total yards in the win. The Bobcats recorded 158 yards in the loss, 85 coming in the final quarter. Their only score of the game came late in the fourth against the OSU reserves.

Ohio State receiver DeVier Posey, right, stiff arms his brother Julian Posey, during the Buckeyes 43-7 victory over Ohio on Saturday in Columbus. (AP photo/Terry Gilliam)
POSEY BOWL ... In the much anticipated battle between brothers — Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey and Ohio cornerback Julian Posey — neither player let their family name down.

It looked as though Julian was going to have the early advantage after returning a kickoff 99 yards to the house. However, a Bobcat holding call prevented the elder brother from getting the leg up. Julian also broke up a pass from Pryor to his brother on a big third down play, which would have been completed for a sizable first down.

It would be a quiet day the rest of the way for Julian.

DeVier, on the other hand, led all receivers in the game with five receptions for 62 yards. It wasn't a stellar day for the younger Posey brother, but when you factor in the 43-7 win, it's safe to say that DeVier gets the honor of family bragging rights.

TURNOVER CITY ... The Buckeyes, who recorded two interceptions (Tyler Moeller and Ross Homan) and three fumble recoveries (Nathan Williams, Cameron Heyward and Devon Torrence) in Saturday's win, have now forced 12 turnovers in three games this season.

The Buckeyes are also +10 in the give away/take away category.