September 18, 2010
Despite mistakes, Pryor has big day
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor didn't mind admitting he wasn't pleased with himself after the Buckeyes' win over then-No. 12 Miami last weekend.
Despite the fact that Pryor threw for 233 yards and a touchdown in perhaps the team's biggest non-conference win in four years, the junior quarterback couldn't help but be let down by his 12-for-27 passing performance.
So on Saturday when the Buckeyes invited Ohio into the Horseshoe, Pryor found himself getting a little "greedy" at the end of the first half. That greed, as Pryor put it, led to a few mistakes that could overshadow what was otherwise a very impressive day for the junior.
"I wasn't very happy when I heard (about the Miami stats) and I am not very happy with what I had today," Pryor said.
Pryor's disappointment in himself is certainly believable given his reputation, even after he came out in the first half of Ohio State's 43-7 win over the Bobcats passing with immense accuracy.
Leading the Buckeyes to the first 34 points of the game, though, Pryor wasn't satisfied with the big lead and perhaps his most impressive stat line in any first half of his career.
At one point in the first half Pryor had connected on 16 consecutive passes, which marked an Ohio State record. The completions streak broke Jim Karsatos' record of 12 consecutive completions dating back to 1985 against Wisconsin.
But even with the strikingly good performance, that's when Pryor found himself getting greedy.
In his final drive of the first half, Pryor missed a wide-open Dane Sanzenbacher over the middle for what would have been his 17 consecutive completion and perhaps another touchdown for the Buckeyes.
Just a few plays later, Pryor went against his better judgment and threw a pass up into the end zone, which was eventually intercepted. It was Pryor's first interception of the season and Ohio State's first turnover.
What was certainly a dominant half for the Buckeye quarterback turned into somewhat of a disappointment for the junior. Pryor went into the locker room at halftime with a dominant lead, but due to his mistake, the team left points on the board.
"I got greedy and it messed and the interceptions came, it messed up my percentage and I had a couple bad throws," Pryor said. "That's being greedy. When things aren't open and you take a chance. I wanted to take a chance."
Perhaps Pryor felt he could afford to take a chance after lighting up the Bobcats' secondary for most of the first half. While Pryor's completion streak was mightily impressive, its possible the quarterback was lulled into a false sense of security after picking apart the Ohio defense.
Even with the first half interception and another ill-advise pick he threw in the second half, Pryor put together another very productive day. Pryor finished the game 22-of-29 with 235 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also added 35 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground for his squad.
"Interceptions ruin a quarterback's day in their own mind, and sometimes you forget about the 22 completions and all you do is think about the two that didn't work well," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "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."
Ohio State wide receivers could be spotted all over the field in wide-open situations, but for most of the first half, Pryor remained calm and collected in the pocket while firmly delivering spot-on passes to his teammates.
Pryor didn't contribute as much on the ground as he had in the first two games, showing his assertiveness to establish himself as a pass-first quarterback.
By Pryor's own admission, he missed some throws, was late on some timing, and even left some plays on the field. But to his teammates, there is no question that Pryor has grown and continues to evolve each week.
Take a few bad mistakes out of the equation, and by all accounts Pryor had a dominant statistical day.
"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. "It's something we preached about all the off season and coming into the 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 lead to all those completions."
Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.
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