Pryor Impressive, But Not To Toughest Critic

The long-awaited debut of quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the nation's No. 1 prospect last year, finally came Saturday as No. 2 Ohio State defeated Youngstown State 43-0. While it's fair to say that most people were probably impressed with Pryor's legs and his arm, he said there is room for improvement on his performance.

At 12:27 p.m. Saturday afternoon against Youngstown State, Ohio Stadium seemed to rise as one and a mighty cheer erupted as Terrelle Pryor stepped onto the Horseshoe FieldTurf to take his first snap as an Ohio State Buckeye.

Pryor wasn't alone, however, as five fellow true freshmen were on the field for the play. He was joined by the famed five-star offensive line trio of Mike Adams, Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts as well as wideouts DeVier Posey and Lamaar Thomas.

On the first play, Brewster snapped the ball to Pryor, who fired to the right side and hit Thomas for a 9-yard completion, drawing another roar from the Ohio Stadium faithful. Buffeted by Adams at left tackle, Brewster and center and Shugarts at right tackle, Pryor led Ohio State down the field for a drive that ended in a field goal to make the score 13-0. Second-ranked Ohio State would eventually win 43-0.

By the time the day ended, it's fair to say Pryor didn't disappoint. He completed his first three passes and finished the day having completed 4 of his 6 passes for 35 yards. With his feet, he ran nine times for 52 yards and a touchdown.

"I thought he did a good job," head coach Jim Tressel said. "He's worked hard. He's studied hard to learn what we do. Terrelle obviously is a guy that can do some great things."

Pryor had a less excited view of his performance, however, choosing instead to focus on what didn't go well.

"I didn't think I played to my potential," he said. "I didn't think I played too good, but there's always chances to get better."

To be fair, he did some good things and some bad things with the ball. His first drive, which came during the first quarter and was the Buckeyes' third offensive drive, didn't end as auspiciously as one would have hoped after he moved the team to first-and-goal at the 5-yard line. After Brandon Saine plunged into the line for a yard, Pryor took a quarterback draw to the right side and was stopped for a loss of 2 yards.

On third-and-goal, he was pressured immediately and tried to run left but encountered more pressure. He eventually was sacked for a loss of 8 yards by Jaimie Frasure.

But there were, of course, some good plays as well. He stood in the pocket during the first drive and hit Rory Nicol for a 14-yard gain on a second-and-11, showing good pocket presence and the ability to make the right read.

Later, he scored his first Ohio State touchdown early in the fourth quarter after maneuvering the Buckeyes into position to score thanks to a 21-yard scamper. Operating out of the pistol formation with Maurice Wells behind him, Pryor faked a handoff to Wells on a zone read play and then took off over left end. He beat Youngstown State linebacker Nate Ward to the corner, then cut inside while being hit by cornerback De'Angelo Wilson near the 4-yard line. Pryor – who, at 6-6, 235 pounds, outweighs Wilson by 40 pounds – did not go down, instead opting to drag Wilson forward before reaching the ball over the goal line.

"I saw a cutback, and when you're hungry to get to the end zone, nothing's going to stop you," he said. "That's what it really was."

Teammates were left impressed by his cameo that included him leading a total of three drives.

"He definitely looked good," Boom Herron said. "He showed his running ability. He showed it all. He's looking good in practice. He's working hard on the field and it showed today. If he continues to work hard, he's going to keep on playing."

"I expected him to do some great things and I'm sure he'll even do greater things coming up in the next couple days," starting quarterback Todd Boeckman said. "But going out there, he was very relaxed, poised and confident. It's hard to see that in freshmen. They get out there and not know what to expect. He made some great plays and ran the ball really well."

During the week, Tressel predicted that Pryor would be jittery for his first-ever game in the Horseshoe in front of 105,000-plus spectators, and the Jeanette, Pa., native said he did feel a bit nervous as he stepped onto the field.

"Just for the first play I was," he said. "I was calm coming into the game, but as soon as I got on the field and everyone was cheering, I was like, ‘Aww, man.' It felt good."

Pryor added that it helped to walk onto the field for the first time side-by-side with the freshman linemen he developed such a close relationship with during the recruiting process.

"It felt good," he said. "Not to be cocky or anything, but it's the future. They're going to be the future linemen and hopefully I'll be the future quarterback."


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