Quarterback Terrelle Pryor had his best performance against Northwestern on a windy afternoon. The freshman threw for 197 yards and completed 9 of 14 passes. That passing total was the highest in Pryor's seven games as Ohio State's starter.
Brian Robiskie also had one of his best games of the season vs. Wildcats. The senior hauled in three passes for 58 yards with two touchdowns. He attributed the passing game's success to the receivers getting more used to playing with Pryor.
"The more we play with him and the more we're out there with him the more comfortable we all get," Robiskie said. "I think that's the biggest thing for us, getting more comfortable and getting a lot of that timing down. I know for receivers and quarterbacks that's the biggest thing."
While Pryor has only broken the 200-yard mark in a game once this season, Robiskie said the freshman's improvement is not easily seen in the box score.
"(The stats do not) do him justice because he's grown so much," Robiskie said. "He's just emerged so much as a leader on this offense. He's doing a great job."
Against the Wildcats, Pryor and the receivers connected on several deep passes. Four of Pryor's first five completions went for more than 10 yards and helped set the tone for the offense.
"We hit some deep balls early and that gives you confidence," OSU receivers coach Darrell Hazell said. "We saw some things and were able to take advantage of things. It's one thing to get guys open, but you have to be able to execute. We were able to execute."
Tight end Rory Nicol caught two passes at Northwestern, including an acrobatic 6-yard touchdown reception on a play where Pryor eluded defenders and found a crossing Nicol in the end zone.
"He made a great play," Nicol said. "The catch was OK, but he escaped some serious defenders. Like I said after the game he always does keep his eyes down the field. That was a great play."
Nicol said he has been impressed at the progress of the freshman signalcaller.
"We've got a lot of confidence in him, and I think guys admire the fact that Terrelle has worked really hard at making himself better and better," Nicol said. "He's real competitive and determined and he's shown that he can do more and more every week."
Pryor spent Ohio State's open week working on his foot work with Nick Siciliano, offensive quality control coach.
"I focused on my footwork, and they pounded it in my head after that Penn State game," Pryor said. "They talked about how I had to keep my feet right. Sometimes, it gets on your nerves, but then you start doing it right. It sunk in, and we're going to keep working on it."
The footwork was there against the Wildcats. It's another step in Pryor's growing process.
"Every week it gets a little bit better and it's been fun to watch the growth," Hazell said. "He's a young player, but he's got so much ability. He's starting to see things a lot better and the receivers are helping him. It's going to be good."