Pryor Shows Progress While Torching Toledo

While far from perfect, the performance Terrelle Pryor put on as Ohio State downed Toledo 38-0 on Saturday at Cleveland Browns Stadium seemed to indicate more aspects of being a complete college quarterback are coming into focus.

Terrelle Pryor's description of a 76-yard touchdown pass to Dane Sanzenbacher on the Buckeyes' third offensive play from scrimmage was nearly as impressive as his yardage totals.

"I'll take you through that," he told a group of reporters in the postgame interview room. "I was dropping back and I was looking off the safety. I got him over way to the right. I was like, ‘OK, I'm going to stare at (Ohio State receiver) DeVier (Posey).' I was intentionally going to DeVier because it was a soft corner, and someone jumped in the flat in front of it so I was like, ‘OK, I've got the safety over. I'm going to go over and look at what the post is looking like,' and it was wide open, and I was like, ‘OK, we've got a home run.'"

Running the post pattern was Sanzenbacher, who gathered in Pryor's rainbow toss and ran unmolested into the end zone to provide all the points the Buckeyes would need on the day.

Pryor became the second Ohio State quarterback ever to run for at least 100 yards while passing for at least 200, joining Troy Smith, but he brushed aside the notion that his dual threat status was something he expected of himself when he chose to be a Buckeye.

"I'm just here to win," Pryor said. "Whatever I could do. Whether it's 100 yards passing, 100 yards, rushing - whatever. It's not realistic. Of course I want it, but I want to do whatever I can just to get a win for the team."

For the record, he finished with 262 yards passing and 111 more on the ground, and the Buckeyes got an important win one week after a gut-wrenching loss at home to USC that was followed by many airings of frustrations from Ohio State fans dismayed at six straight losses to top-10 foes.

Also an issue for many Buckeye followers as well as the subject of many stories was the struggle of the offense and its young triggerman against the Trojans.

Pryor passed for 177 yards and ran for 36 against USC, totals he surpassed by halftime against the Rockets.

"After last week we had a pretty sick feeling, and the only medicine that could help us was to get a big win against a tough Toledo team," he said. "We pulled it out, and I'm losing memory of that USC game."

While Pryor rarely looked comfortable against USC, that was not the case against a Toledo defense that entered the day having allowed 90 points in its first two games of the season.

He acknowledged hearing some of the criticism leveled at him, head coach Jim Tressel and the offense as a whole.

"Coach Tressel does a great job of keeping us grounded and saying our family is inside these doors in the facility, and I think that we all know our capabilities, and we know we can play," Pryor said.

He also credited Tressel for helping him regain some confidence by showing him a tape of his highlights from last season when he started 10 games as a true freshman and ended up leading the Big Ten in passing efficiency.

"He said, ‘These are the things you can do,'" Pryor said of Tressel's message for him with the video. "‘You did them already, and you've just got to keep doin' em.' That gave me confidence."

Continuing to develop chemistry with his receivers is a plus as well.

"We've had a little chemistry since day one, but the thing that I was really excited about is it's getting around to everyone," said Posey, a classmate of Pryor who caught five passes for 46 yards and a touchdown against the Rockets after leading the team in receiving against USC. "Everybody's getting passes and as far as when everybody's happy, that's when I'm happy."

Sanzenbacher finished with five grabs for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Pryor also completed passes to receivers Ray Small and Duron Carter, running back Brandon Saine and tight end Jake Ballard.

"We've got to be playmakers, get as open as we can to make it easy for him and get to our spots so that when he's throwing he doesn't have any indecision and knows we're going to be there."

But of course a pair of interceptions cannot be overlooked, either.

Tressel said he felt like Pryor waited too long to throw the first one, a deep heave collected by Jermaine Robinson, and was baited along the sidelines by Andreas Ashwood on the other.

"He's pretty much right," Pryor said after hearing Tressel's description. "I should have stepped up (on the first interception). We talk step up and throw, or step up and run, and I stopped and I shouldn't have stopped. I was going to throw it to Ray on the sideline so he could catch it and get out of bounds, but the ball took off after I got hit. The second one was just a bad ball. Those things happen. For us to be successful and not put the defense in a bad spot, I need to throw the ball with more power and get my legs in it. I just made a bad decision. Those things happen."

Tressel sounded satisfied overall with his quarterback's day.

"I thought Terrelle made a couple of key plays," the coach said. "When you step up and run when things are covered and they drop everybody, that's frustrating for a defense. When they rush extra people and you hit some seams and you hit some home runs, that frustrates a defense."

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