Wednesday, October 28

Pryor, OSU Bounce Back

After a week of heavy criticism, Ohio St (Terrelle Pryor in particular) came into last Saturday's game against Minnesota with quite the chip on their shoulder. During the game, they proceeded to toss that chip away, for now anyway, as the Bucks pounded the Golden Gophers, 38-7. Pryor looked much better in this contest than he did the previous week against Purdue, but there was really nowhere to go but up. Let's rap.

Game Recap

The first quarter was dominated by one long OSU drive. Starting from their own 15, Ohio St drove 78 yards on 19 plays, eating up almost nine minutes of game play. The drive stalled inside the Gopher 15, however, when Pryor was sacked on third down. The Buckeyes settled for a short FG, one which Aaron Pettrey promptly missed. I cannot figure this guy out. He's lights out from 40+ yards, but can't hit jack shit from close range. Ugh.

Minnesota had a few decent drives throughout the first half, but miscues such as penalties and dropped passes killed them and the OSU D held enough to force five Gopher punts. The only score came when Pryor lobbed up a bomb that was caught by DeVier Posey. It was really an errant pass that Posey bailed Terrelle out on. In Pryor's defense, Posey was so wide open that maybe he was just trying to make sure he got it off and let Posey run under it, but still, it would have been nice to see TP hit him in stride. Ohio St had another good drive late in the half but ended when Pryor was picked off in the Minnesota red zone. Neither team looked very good, and OSU went into the tunnel on top, 7-0.

The second half was a much different story. The Buckeye defense really buckled down, Pryor and the offense started to click, and Minnesota continued to make mistakes. Minnesota returner Troy Stoudermire fumbled the kick to begin the second half, and it only took Pryor three plays to cash in. Making the Gopher defense look silly, TP took it in himself on a 15 yard run to put the Bucks up 14-0. An OSU sack later in the quarter forced another fumble, and again the Buckeyes quickly capitalized. Freshman Jordan Hall had an 11 yard touchdown to start the route. Hall was getting the majority of the playing time due to injuries, which I will discuss later.

Later in the third, Pryor threw his best pass of the game, hitting Posey right in stride on a deep ball that was broken up by the defender. It could have been called a fumble, but, worrying that it could help their opponent, neither team challenged. Terrelle tried again deep to Posey, threw a much worse pass that was short, but DeVier came back to it to catch his second TD of the game.

The 4th quarter saw Joe Bauserman at the helm for OSU, and mostly had him handing off to fourth-string freshman Jermil Martin. The Minnesota D was demoralized and just gassed at this point, and Martin broke one for 40 yards to the house to begin the quarter, making it 35-0. Austin Spitler and Kurt Coleman both had picks, seemingly sealing the shutout. Unfortunately, MarQueis Gray led a late TD drive for the Golden Gophers, putting the final at 38-7.

Game Notes

Game Ball
Pryor's overall numbers were impressive, but he still made too many mistakes in my mind to get this. DeVier Posey caught 8 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. This guy has been making big plays all year. If he can learn to run routes other than the fly, he can become an excellent receiver.
Game Balls to date: Pryor (2), Saine, Coleman, Posey, Defense

Jekyll and Hyde
Terrelle Pryor made some very good plays in this game, but he is still making the same mistakes. He is still underthrowing receivers and still forcing too many passes. He definitely improved drastically since the Purdue game, but he still has a lot of work to do.

The Ohio St defense was back to its dominant self in this one, particularly in the second half. They held Minnesota to under 300 total yards (not completely shutdown, but impressive nonetheless), but more importantly, they got their 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st takeaways of the season. Spitler's second half pick made him the 11th guy on the team to get an INT. That's absurd, especially with four games still to play. Another impressive stat: including the three that they picked up in this contest, the OSU defense has not allowed a point in 19 of the 32 quarters thus far.

The Backfield Injury Bug
Brandon Saine left the Minnesota game early with a mild concussion. This is on top of the ankle injury sustained to Dan Herron that has sidelined him 3 1/2 of the last 4 weeks. Freshmen Jordan Hall and Jermile Martin have looked good in limited action, but that has mostly been garbage time. I'm confident that those two can carry the load this week against New Mexico St (I'm pretty sure that Andy and Nick could), but at least one of the top two backs absolutely has to be back in two weeks when the Buckeyes travel to Happy Valley. Both Herron's and Saine's status for this week is uncertain as of right now.

OSU Bashers
Hey dumb asses, back off. I have been critical of Pryor on this blog on multiple occasions, and certainly the Purdue game gave reason for criticism, but let's not get out of control. People have been calling into Columbus radio shows totally trashing the team, Pryor, and (gasp) coach Jim Tressel. Really guys? One "fan" even went as far as saying "Tressel is a joke." Yeah, in a seven year span, six BCS games, three National Championship appearances, five Big Ten titles, and one Championship ring is pretty laughable. Another guy, presumably a member of the Gertrude Barber Center, asks "When's the bleeding gonna stop?" I realize this is a program that accepts nothing but the best, but let's all relax a little bit.

Up Next: vs. New Mexico St, 12:00, Big Ten Network
The mighty Aggies come into the Shoe with a 3-5 record and sporting the nation's worst offense. There's a good chance neither Saine or Boom will play, and Pryor will be out by halftime. If NMSU (is that their acronym?) scores a point I'll be totally shocked. It's fitting that this game is on Halloween, because it's gonna be ugly.
Prediction: Ohio St 41 New Mexico St 0


1 comment:

Andy said...

I don't agree with your assessment of the 1st TD. Minnesota had a blown coverage and Posey was all by himself, so there's no need for Pryor to risk an overthrow. I thought he made a proper, conservative throw.

I was a wideout in HS, but point taken.

Had to look up the GB center.