Pryor started slowly but warmed quickly in front of the sun-splashed crowd that basked in 80-degree temperatures. He had connected just five times for only 46 yards until late in the second quarter when the sophomore suddenly jumped on the gas pedal. He flipped a 15-yard pass to Taurian Washington to convert a third-and-4, and three plays later went back to Washington for a 16-yard gain on third-and-3.
Three plays later, facing a third-and-18, Pryor lofted a high-arcing pass against a gusting wind as Washington beat Scarlet cornerback Chimdi Chekwa down the far sideline. Washington cradled the perfectly thrown ball for a 44-yard touchdown, giving the Gray a 10-0 lead with 0:31 showing on the clock.
Then came a little springtime gamble. Gray kicker Aaron Pettrey, who had booted a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter to begin the scoring, executed a perfect onside kick – so perfect that Pettrey recovered himself at his own 41.
Pryor immediately went back to Washington for a 17-yard pickup, and then two plays, the quarterback threw a laser to Ray Small, who had lost cornerback Andre Amos along the sideline. Small gathered in the pass and eluded Gray defenders Rocco Pentello and Austin Spitler, zigzagging his way into the end zone.
The 42-yard play capped a five-play, 59-yard drive that took 38 seconds and gave the Gray a 17-0 advantage heading into halftime.
"That is why I like to have a spring game that is a real game format rather than a scrimmage," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "In a real game format, you have the kicking game and that onside kick was a big play in the game."
Pettrey added field goals of 41 and 23 yards in the third quarter while the Scarlet's lone points came on a 43-yard field goal from walk-on kicker Devin Barclay.
Pryor finished the game an efficient 13 for 18 passes for 191 yards and the two touchdowns. Washington was on the receiving end of four passes, good for 92 yards and a score. Small also had four receptions, turning them into 74 yards and a touchdown. Junior receiver Grant Schwartz had three catches for 17 yards for the Gray.
About the only hole on his afternoon résumé was in the running department. Pryor was sacked three times for a total of 17 yards in losses. In his defense, he wore a black jersey (symbolic of no contact) throughout the first quarter, and the OSU coaching staff indicated a desire to have Pryor throw more during the game.
Even without their illusive quarterback running the ball, the Gray managed to pile up some yardage on the ground, thanks mostly to a 75-yard bolt by veteran walk-on Marcus Williams. He finished with a game-high 92 yards on only six carries. Fellow Gray running back Brandon Saine added 55 yards on six carries.
While Pryor played three quarters for the Gray, sophomore Joe Bauserman went most of the way for the Scarlet team. Bauserman finished with 10 completions on 21 attempts for 119 yards with one interception. Walk-on Justin Siems saw playing time for both the Scarlet and Gray and was a combined 3 for 6 for 21 yards.
Dan "Boom" Herron led the Scarlet's running attack with 43 yards on 10 carries. Sophomore DeVier Posey was his team's leading receiver. He caught five balls for 46 yards. True freshman James Jackson added three receptions for 51 yards.
Defensively, the Scarlet was led by linebacker Tyler Moeller, who totaled eight stops, including two for loss and a sack. Amos, Spitler, safety Anderson Russell and defensive end Willie Mobley each had four tackles, and Spitler and Mobley each had a sack. Junior defensive end Thad Gibson also had a pair of sacks for the Scarlet, while defensive tackle Doug Worthington had a fumble recovery.
For the Gray, linebacker Brian Rolle had a game-high 11 tackles and fellow linebacker Etienne Sabino registered nine. Rolle, ends Cameron Heyward and Solomon Thomas and tackle Todd Denlinger each had sacks. Linebacker Ross Homan logged a fumble recovery and walk-on defensive back Chris Maxwell had the game's only interception, picking off Bauserman late in the game and returning it 51 yards.
Tressel said he believed the spring game was the culmination of an excellent several weeks of practice.
"The 15 days in general, most of them were very, very good," the OSU coach said. "We made progress and now we have to make sure we do well in this last academic quarter, have a good summer and be ready come September.
"We always say that you can't win the national championship in the spring, but you can lose it if you don't work as hard as you need to. We feel like we worked hard and now we have to build on that hard work."