Terrelle Pryor was a highly-sought after Pennsylvania high school quarterback, who spurned Penn State because it was “too country” and, instead, opted for Ohio State.
This development didn’t go over well in the Keystone state but made Buckeye fans delirious with glee.
When Pryor faced the Nittany Lions as a freshman, Ohio State lost by seven points, after completing 16 of 25 attempts for 226 yards, with one interception and no touchdowns.
This time, Pryor had the last laugh, as he left Beaver Stadium last Saturday afternoon with the Buckeyes trouncing Penn State, 24-7, in a crucial Big Ten Conference matchup before 110,033 fans, the fourth-largest crowd at an edifice that was built in 1960.
Only a sophomore, Pryor wasn’t flawless, hitting eight of 17 passes for 125 yards, but threw two second-half touchdowns. In the end, it’s not a beauty contest.
Likened to Vince Young, the one-time quarterback at the University of Texas, Pryor is 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, with a strong but erratic arm.
It’s when a play is designed for him to run, or if a play breaks down, that’s when Pryor’s most dangerous.
On Saturday, Pryor carried the ball five times for 50 yards, with a long of 24 yards, and his seven-yard gallop with 11:47 left in the first quarter that handed the Buckeyes (8-2 and 5-1 in conference) a 7-0 lead.
Ray Small’s brilliant 41-yard punt return aided the nine-yard, two-play drive. Small finished with 130 punt return yards.
No. 11 Penn State (8-2 and 4-2 in conference) tied it at 7-7 when quarterback Daryll Clark (20 yards on 11 carries) scored on a one-yard blast early in the second quarter, but Ohio State forged a 10-7 lead when Devin Barclay lined a 37-yard field goal about six minutes later.
In two seasons, Pryor has topped 100 yards rushing three times, with a best of 110 yards twice.
As a freshman, Pryor ran for 631 yards with six scores, and has tallied seven touchdowns with 604 yards in 2009.
In 23 games, Pryor has eclipsed 200 yards passing four times, with a high of 262 yards coming in a 38-0 blanking of Toledo in the third game of the season.
Pryor’s prettiest offering was a 62-yard bullet that went to wide receiver DeVier Posey, who raced down the left sideline late in the third quarter giving the Buckeyes a 17-7 lead.
No. 15 Ohio State made it a 17-point spread with 9:47 left in the fourth quarter when Pryor, who has thrown for 1,661 yards this season with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions, spotted running back Brandon Saine with a six-yard throw.
The Buckeyes had been averaging 186 yards on the ground, but ripped off 228 yards to 76 for Penn State.
Dan Herron carried the ball 16 times for 58 yards, while Saine churned out 68 yards on 20 rushes.
Defensive end Cameron Heywood hurried Clark (12 of 28 for 125 yards and one interception), making his life miserable.
“November is for contenders, we always say that,” said Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel. “It’s hard to get too ecstatic right now, because you know the [Iowa] Hawkeyes are coming to town. No. 8 Iowa (9-1) was upset by Northwestern, 17-10, and will likely be without quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who injured his ankle.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com and is a contributor to trufanboxing.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.