Saturday, September 25, 2010

PRYOR, OSU OFFENSE MAKE HUGE STATEMENT IN 73-20 ROUT OF EAGLES

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, left, escapes the grasp of Eastern Michigan's Brandon Slater during the Buckeyes 73-20 win on Saturday. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
COLUMBUS — Terrelle Pryor was Mr. Everything for the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday evening at Ohio Stadium.

The junior quarterback did it all against the inferior Eastern Michigan Eagles, totaling 348 yards of offense and six touchdowns in the Buckeyes 73-20 blowout victory.

Pryor finished 20-of-26 passing for 224 yards and four touchdown passes — all to senior receiver Dane Sanzenbacher. Pryor also ran for 104 yards and a touchdown, and even hauled in a 20-yard touchdown reception from tailback Jordan Hall in the victory.

This performance should catapult the Buckeye signal caller to the top of the Heisman Trophy list. Of course, Pryor isn't trying to hear any of that.

"Like I said before, the Heisman Trophy is a great accomplishment for anybody and I'm happy I'm even involved in that," Pryor said. "But I'm more of a team player. It's a great award and all, and it would be great to have someday, but my teammates help me do everything I do. Without them I would be nothing."

Pryor was phenomenal in the passing game on Saturday, completing 77 percent of his passes, including four scores to Sanzenbacher of 31, 9, 7 and 8 yards.

"Dane's good," Tressel smiled. "I don't know what to tell you, he's where he's supposed to be. We don't really go into a game saying so and so is going to have this or that. It's all according to who's open. Some of things that we were doing, Dane was the guy who popped open. I thought Terrelle didn't have many ill-advised throws.

"The six touchdowns?" Tressel continued. "If we can have that every week, we'll take it."

Pryor said that there was no special connection between he and Sanzenbaher on Saturday, it's just what happens when you are surrounded by great talent.

"You just never know, next game DeVier (Posey) may have four, Taurian Washington or (Brandon) Saine or Jake Stoneburner, you never know," Pryor said. "God blessed me with the talent I have around me. It's truly, truly a blessing."

Pryor began the game with a 53-yard touchdown run on the Buckeyes opening offensive series, and then fired four scoring tosses to Sanzenbacher over the next two quarters. However, it was his final touchdown of the game — in the third quarter — which will score Pryor the most Heisman points.

Facing a first-and-10 at the Eastern Michigan 20, Pryor pitched the ball to sophomore tailback Jordan Hall, who ran right, set his feet and tossed a floater back to the left side of the end zone where Pryor hauled it in for the touchdown.

Pryor, who was also a high school teammate of Hall, said that the pass-and-catch wasn't the first time the western Pennsylvania duo hooked up in that fashion.

"I had two touchdown catches actually from Jordan before," Pryor smiled. "He threw me one in the state championship game, it was like a 55 or 60-yard bomb and I caught it over three defenders.

"You might be able to check it out on YouTube," Pryor laughed.

Pryor said that he signaled for the tailback pass to Tressel, who offered him a stern warning about the call.

"Coach Tress said that if I dropped the ball, just keep running through the tunnel and don't come back," Pryor laughed. "It's all fun and games. We're just trying to get better and accomplish something special."

Saturday's total of 73 points was the most scored by the Buckeyes during the Jim Tressel era, and the most by any OSU team since 1950. The Buckeyes head coach said that the rout wasn't by design.

"We got a lot of opportunities," Tressel said. "We moved the ball okay. We didn't come in saying, you know, we're going to go after X amount of points.

"It was a good thing, but these weeks ahead, they're going to be different."

Sanzenbacher, who ended with nine receptions for 108 yards and four touchdowns, agreed with his coach about the game plan. The Toledo native said it was about the brilliance of Pryor more than anything.

"Well, I think obviously you never come into a game expecting to do that," Sanzenbacher said. "I think as an offense, we don't come into the game planning on 73 points either, but sometimes you're in the right place at the right time. Terrelle put the ball on the money for me and I think you saw throughout the game, we got in the hurry-up offense a little bit, and he could kind of command that and still keep his composure and make good throws."

The Buckeyes (4-0) finished with 645 yards of offense in the win. The Eagles (0-4) dropped their sixteenth straight game.

BERRY SHINED IN CLEAN UP DUTY ... Ohio State redshirt freshman tailback Jaamal Berry has come close to breaking a few runs this season to the house. On Saturday, the young runner finally broke through.

Up by 39 in the fourth and facing a second-and-short at their own 33, Berry took a handoff, bounced it to the right and raced 67 yards to paydirt for his first collegiate touchdown.

Berry finished the game with 74 yards on just four carries, leading all OSU tailbacks in rushing during the victory.

Eastern Michigan's Kinsman Thomas, left, catches a first down against Ohio State's Devon Torrence during the second quarter of Saturday's game. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
DEFENSIVE OBSERVATIONS ... Ohio State's defense held the Eagles to just 40 yards rushing on 29 carries (1.4 avg.) during the win. It was yet another dominating performance by the Buckeyes front seven.

However, if there was any negative to be found during the Buckeyes' 53-point victory, it was the poor play by the OSU secondary. The Buckeyes surrendered 208 yards in the air on Saturday, including two touchdowns, the most they've given up all season.

The Buckeyes, who are battling injuries in the defensive backfield, looked vulnerable at times against the Eagles.

"All of us are pretty disappointed in our play today," OSU senior linebacker Brian Rolle said. "You don't see too many smiles on the face of the defense. This is the first time I feel we didn't get a win on the defense this season."

The Buckeyes begin Big Ten play this coming week at Illinois. OSU senior linebacker Ross Homan said there can't be a repeat performance going forward.

"You definitely don't want to do that in a Big Ten game," Homan said. "You play good teams week in and week out. We;ll look at the tape and correct what we did wrong."