The Buckeyes, coming off a 35-3 meltdown at top-ranked USC, had Pryor under center in place of senior QB Todd Boeckman, who played only two plays in the win over Troy. Pryor's first start was a success. The Jeannette, Pa., native became the 10th Buckeye in history to throw for four or more touchdowns in a game and the only to do so as a freshman as the Buckeyes improved to 3-1. The 6-6, 235-pound freshman completed 10 of 16 pass attempts for 139 yards and four touchdowns. Pryor also pitched one interception, but that was a harmless pick on a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.
He also turned in a 66-yard performance on the ground, carrying 14 times.
“I feel good,” Pryor said afterward. “It just helped me believe in myself even more. It’s all about confidence.”
Boeckman, one of 26 seniors on the roster, was classy in a difficult situation. The demoted starter, still a captain, spoke to the media along with his fellow captains as usual after the game.
“First of all, after getting a win like this against a great team, that’s great, and I’m really excited about that,” he said. “I’m happy for Terrelle. He had a great day. He did some great things out there. He’s getting better every time he’s out there and he made some great plays out there. I’m excited for this team and for him.”
Senior co-captain and offensive lineman Jim Cordle said Boeckman helped the transition move smoothly.
“Todd’s attitude rubbed off on the team,” Cordle said. “His attitude was positive. He had known going into the game that Terrelle was going to take over most of the snaps, and his attitude was positive and that rubs off on everybody else.”
Pryor opened his afternoon by leading a nine-play, 60-yard scoring drive that concluded when he flipped a pass to tight end Rory Nicol, who stretched out over Troy free safety Sherrod Martin to make the 13-yard touchdown grab. OSU kicker Ryan Pretorius added the extra point and the Buckeyes had a quick 7-0 lead with 10:14 remaining in the first quarter.
Troy narrowed its deficit with a 22-yard field goal from kicker Sam Glusman that made it 7-3 with 13:35 left in the second quarter, but the Buckeyes answered with a touchdown that came off a possession that began with a Kurt Coleman interception. Pryor found split end Brian Hartline breaking free in the middle of the field, and the future Miami Dolphin made a leaping catch near the 2-yard line and then fell into the end zone with a 39-yard touchdown reception. Pretorius added the PAT to give Ohio State a 14-3 lead with 9:08 left until halftime.
Troy responded with an 80-yard touchdown drive that closed the first-half scoring. It took just five plays, with running back Jerrel Jernigan turned a short flip from Hampton into a textbook piece of broken-field running, slipping numerous tackles on his way to a 45-yard touchdown romp. Glusman added the extra point to make it 14-10 with 1:49 remaining in the second quarter.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, keeping the margin a narrow 14-10 Ohio State advantage, until the Buckeyes finally broke through early in the fourth quarter. Starting with a short field following a Troy punt from its end zone, Pryor led a 37-yard drive that began with a 1-yard loss on the first play and ended on the second with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Pryor to Brian Robiskie.
Pryor faded and found Robiskie crossing into the open on a slant pattern to the goal line. With Troy cornerback Jorrick Calvin a step behind, Robiskie made the catch on Pryor’s high-arcing throw and turned it into a TD.
After Pretorius added the extra point to make it 21-10 with 13:28 remaining in the game, the Buckeyes and their fans were able to breathe a little easier.
The Buckeyes closed the scoring with 4:30 left in regulation on a Pryor-to-Hartline scoring strike of 16 yards. Pretorius added the PAT to set the final score.
Redshirt freshman tailback Boom Herron, who started in place of the still-injured Beanie Wells, rushed for 94 yards on 20 carries, both career-high numbers. Defensively, linebacker James Laurinaitis led the Buckeyes with 12 tackles while safety Jermale Hines, linebacker Marcus Freeman and Coleman added seven stops each. Coleman had his two interceptions while Laurinaitis and defensive end Thaddeus Gibson each recorded a sack.
2003: No. 5 Ohio State 24, Bowling Green 17 The Buckeyes increased their program-best winning streak to 18 with a seven-point victory over the Falcons at Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State's anemic rushing attack rebounded from a rough start to the '03 season by piling up more than 200 yards against BG's defense. Nonetheless, the Buckeyes still let the Falcons hang around by committing three turnovers – two fumbles and an interception. Bowling Green also recovered an onside kick late in the fourth quarter.
"We have to eliminate the turnovers," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "That stops drives and gives our opponents opportunities to have chances against our defense. Once again, we allowed someone at our place to have a chance in the fourth quarter, and that‘s something that we‘ve got to straighten out."
Scott McMullen started at quarterback for only the second time in his collegiate career and completed 10 of 16 passes for 118 yards to go with a touchdown and an interception. McMullen started in place of Craig Krenzel, who was out with an injured elbow on his throwing arm. Krenzel suffered the injury by hyperextending the elbow in OSU's victory over N.C. State.
"I thought I did OK," McMullen said of his performance after the game. "I wasn't nervous or anything. There were some things I did that I could have done better, but overall I'd say I'm pleased. We got the win today and that was the most important thing."
McMullen was aided by his running backs, who had their best games of the season. Maruice Hall had a career day with 107 yards on 19 carries. Lydell Ross added 94 yards on 22 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
Bowling Green gave Ohio State a fight, outgaining the Buckeyes 366-323 and having more first downs, 21-17.
Drew Carter started the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Bowling Green answered with a touchdown later in the first quarter, but Ohio State took the lead for good with 10 points in the second quarter. Mike Nugent drilled a 47-yard field goal, and Ross added on a 33-yard touchdown run.
Ross increased the lead to 24-7 early in the fourth quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run, but Bowling Green scored twice more in the fourth quarter to make the final margin seven points. Cole Magner caught a 25-yard score from Josh Harris, and Shaun Suisham added a 33-yard field goal with 1:46 remaining after BG recovered an onside kick. The Falcons attempted another onside kick after the field goal, but Robert Reynolds recovered it. Bowling Green did get one more shot at tying the game after holding the OSU offense, but Harris' final pass attempt of the day was intercepted by Will Allen to finally salt the game away.
Reynolds, A.J. Hawk, Nate Salley each had eight tackles to lead the OSU defense. Allen, Fox and Dustin Fox each had interceptions, and Reynolds, Smith, Quinn Pitcock and Bobby Carpenter also had a sack apiece.
1997: No. 9 Ohio State 28, Arizona 20: It was a victory, but Ohio State's victory over the visiting Wildcats left head coach John Cooper and his staff looking for answers.
The Buckeyes struggled at times against Pac-10 also-ran Arizona, just as they did in victories over Wyoming and Bowling Green. Ohio State managed only 70 yards rushing against the Wildcats, lost three fumbles and allowed five sacks. The defense played well until the fourth quarter, when Arizona tightened the game with two touchdowns.
"Other than winning the football game, I'm pretty discouraged right now," Cooper said. "I'll take a victory anytime I can get it., but we've got to go back and block better, tackle better, protect the football better, get better in the kicking game."
The Buckeyes were in control for most of the game, taking a 28-0 lead into the fourth quarter. That's when Arizona scored three touchdowns and made the final score more respectable.
"We had a 28-0 lead and got sloppy," Cooper said. "We made a couple of stupid plays and let them get back into the game."
Quarterback Stanley Jackson contributed two of Ohio State's touchdowns. He started the scoring by throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to David Boston in the second quarter. Jackson later added a 24-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that made the score 28-0. Jackson would leave the game in the second half with a knee sprain but reportedly could have returned if needed.
Joe Germaine completed 7 of 11 passes for 118 yards with an interception.
David Boston led the pass attack with seven receptions for 131 yards and a score. However, he also fumbled one of three the Buckeyes lost.
The OSU rushing attack was halted by the nationally-ranked UA run defense. Pepe Pearson finished with just 39 yards on 19 carries.
Kevin B. Johnson and Jerry Rudzinski led the defense with 12 tackles. Andy Katzenmoyer added 11 and also had a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Arizona quarterback Keith Smith led the Wildcats by completing 18 of 37 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 69 yards and a score.
1986: Ohio State 13, Colorado 10: Pat O'Morrow made a game-winning 19-yard field goal with 25 seconds remaining to give the Buckeyes a non-conference victory over the visiting Buffaloes.
His kick, while from a short distance, still caused hearts to skip at beat at Ohio Stadium. O'Morrow's "not-so-picture-perfect" boot barely made it over the crossbar for the game-winning score. The snap was low, but new holder Scott Powell (taking over for Cris Carter) got the ball down in time for O'Morrow.
"I didn't think I kicked the ball as well as I should have," O'Morrow said. "I hit the ball low and it was over-rotating. I was trying to get height on it. I knew it would have the distance.
"I did look up at the ball afterwards. I know kickers are not supposed to do that, but after I hit it, I knew it was through the posts."
It was an up-and-down afternoon for O'Morrow. Earlier in the fourth quarter, he had missed a 31-yard kick.
"That put a little more pressure on me," said O'Morrow, who also made a 29-yard field goal in the first quarter. "But after I missed that one, I wanted a shot at it to win it."
Like the game-winning kick, the game itself was not pretty. The Ohio State offense continued to struggle after back-to-back losses to Alabama and Washington. However, a 13-play, 78-yard drive in the final five minutes was enough to give the Buckeyes the victory.
"We'll take that win," said OSU head coach Earle Bruce, who saw his team improve to 1-2. "It was a tough one. Colorado played really exceptionally well in the second half and moved the ball."
The final OSU drive did have a bit of controversy when quarterback Jim Karsatos tried to find Jamie Holland inside the Colorado 10 on third-and-11 from the Buffaloes 23. Colorado was called for pass interference on the play and the Buckeyes were able to take the lead on O'Morrow's kick.
Carter scored Ohio State's lone touchdown in the second quarter on a 14-yard pass from Karsatos. The Buckeyes led 10-0 at halftime, but the Buffaloes rallied with a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter and a 19-yard touchdown reception by Lance Carl from Mark Hatcher with 5:21 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Karsatos completed 11 of 24 passes for 118 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Carter caught five passes for 57 yards, and Vince Workman led the rushing attack with 72 yards on 28 carries.
Chris Spielman led the defense with a game-high 19 tackles.
1980: No. 2 Ohio State 47, Minnesota 0: After a tight season opener vs. Syracuse, the Buckeyes returned to form with a whitewash of the visiting Golden Gophers in the Big Ten opener.
Ohio State was in command from the start and built a 33-0 halftime lead over the error-prone Gophers. Vlade Janakievski made four field goals in the first half, from 27, 22, 27 and 27 yards, and tied an OSU record for most field goals in a half. All of the Buckeyes' touchdowns were on the ground, scored by Tim Spencer, Jimmy Gayle, Bob Atha and two by Art Schlichter, respectively.
Linebacker John Epitropoulos made his first collegiate start in place of injured Glenn Cobb and had an interception, fumble recovery and a team-leading 17 tackles.
Minnesota freshman quarterback Tim Salem completed all nine of his first passes and finished with 12 completions for 100 yards and two interceptions. Salem would later become Ohio State's quarterbacks coach under Cooper.
1975: No. 3 Ohio State 17, No. 7 Penn State 9: The Buckeyes won their home opener in the first meeting between legendary coaches Woody Hayes and Joe Paterno.
Ohio State opened the scoring with an 80-yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by fullback Pete Johnson. The Nittany Lions answered with a 55-yard field goal by Chris Bahr – then the longest ever kicked at Ohio Stadium. A 45-yard field goal by Tom Klaban extended the OSU lead back to seven, 10-3, after one quarter.
Two Bahr field goals over the next 30 minutes tightened the game to 10-9 heading into the fourth quarter. Johnson helped seal the win for Ohio State with an 11-yard touchdown run. Archie Griffin had the play of the drive when he made a one-handed catch of a Cornelius Greene pass on third-and-11 from the OSU 32.
Griffin led the offense with 128 yards – his 23rd consecutive regular-season game of rushing for more than 100 yards.
The game was the first time Penn State had been held without a touchdown in 27 outings.