Sunday, October 31, 2010

BUCKEYES BULLY GOPHERS, 52-10

Ohio State tailback Boom Herron scores in the second quarter  of Saturday's 52-10 win at Minnesota. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota was the scrawny kid in the fuzzy gopher costume on Saturday night, while Ohio State played the role of the big bad bully who knocked him down and ran off with his bag of candy, as the No. 11 Buckeyes pummeled the Halloween hosts, 52-10, at TCF Stadium in Minneapolis.

"Wherever we go we have to let them know that we're not playing around, we're coming to take something that's ours," OSU junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor said. "We don't want to sit back and let teams jump in and feel like they have a chance to win."

The star signal caller said the Buckeyes are playing with a new mantra ever since being bullied themselves against Wisconsin back on October 16 in Madison.

"Pissed and proud," Pryor declared as the new attitude in Columbus. "That's how we have to play — pissed off. We have to be pissed off, technically sound and play with pride for The Ohio State University."

Ohio State certainly played that way from the opening gun, as tailback Dan "Boom" Herron rushed for a career-high 114 yards and a touchdown in the win — all in the first half — while the Buckeyes' defense physically abused Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber all night long, improving their season record to 8-1 overall (4-1 in the Big Ten).

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said that the game plan coming in was to make Weber's life in the pocket as miserable as possible.

(AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)
"We felt we had to get after Adam (Weber)," Tressel said. "In fact, I was looking for him after the game because I remember him in youth camp and I think he's done a wonderful job here and I never did get to catch up to him, but we felt like we had to get some heat on him because we could not let him sit there and add to his 10,000-plus yards.

"I thought we came at him good."

The Buckeyes recorded a season-high in sacks with five during Saturday night's win.

Offensively, the Buckeyes did just about anything they wanted to against the inferior Golden Gopher defense, racking up 263 yards on the ground in the win, led by the punishing running of Boom Herron.

"Boom is a player," Tressel said. "He has good vision, breaks tackles and we really think he lifts us up."

Herron was catalyst for the Buckeyes on their first three touchdown drives of the first half. During the first scoring drive, Herron carried the ball five times for 16 yards, helping set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Pryor to put the Buckeyes ahead 7-0.

Herron would tote the rock seven times on the second scoring drive for 38 yards — which culminated in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Pryor to senior Brandon Saine.

After sitting out a couple series following the Pryor-to-Saine hook up, Herron returned to action late in the second quarter, running five of the Buckeyes' six plays during the drive for 62 yards and a touchdown scamper from 10 out. The score gave the Buckeyes a commanding 24-7 lead with 1:43 to play before halftime.

Tressel would put Boom on ice the rest of the way, saving him for the final three-game Big Ten stretch which gets underway following the Buckeyes-bye.

"Knock on wood, we've been fortunate that Boom has stayed healthy," Tressel said. "We missed him for four or five games in the middle of last season. I think anytime going into a season we try not to over burden anyone with the number of carries and reps and those kinds of things because it's long season. 

"So 15 to 17 carries, I would like to think he could stay healthy with those kinds of numbers. Jordan (Hall) and B. Saine and those other guys are good backs too, but there's no doubt, Boom is special."

Pryor had a solid game as well, finishing with 277 total yards (222 pass, 55 rush) and three touchdowns — two of which coming by air.

Of course, as good as Pryor played in the win — completing 18 of his 22 passes — there was one throw that really caught the coach's eye.

After Jordan Hall returned a second quarter punt 70 yards to the Gopher 3-yard line, Pryor set up to throw on the ensuing play, rolled right and threw a pass — intended for fullback Zach Boren — directly into the hands of Minnesota cornerback Ryan Collado.

"I thought Terrelle did a good job," Tressel said. "He came up with some big passes. But as coaches we think of things we could've done better, and the one where we were down on the 3-yard line and we threw an interception ... 

"I have a little trouble with that one."

The passing miscue deep in Minnesota territory was about the only thing that didn't go Ohio State''s way on Saturday night, as seven different players scored touchdowns in the victory.

The Buckeyes will now have a full week off before returning to action on November 13 against Penn State at Ohio Stadium.