Buckeye Offense Bests Defense, 53-48

Jim Tressel's offense beat Jim Tressel's defense by playing the type of ball that bears the Ohio State head coach's name. The Buckeye offense was steady but far from spectacular as it slogged to a 53-48 victory in the annual preseason jersey scrimmage Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

Few of the offensive numbers were pretty, but the offenses consistently moved the ball to pick up first downs and came up with one of the only big plays of the day, a 25-yard touchdown pass from Terrelle Pryor to Taurian Washington. That was the only touchdown of the day.

The first downs helped the offense pile up points in a customized scoring system that awards moving the chains and crossing the goal line for the offense while the defense is rewarded for stops, sacks, tackles for loss and turnovers.

"Our offense only turned it over once," Tressel said. "When you only do that in 140 plays, you're probably going to win."

Asked if a dearth of offensive fireworks disappointed him, the head coach took a predictably pragmatic view.

"Well it depends on who you're rooting for. I'm rooting for our defense, too. They don't give up many plays. There were a couple of long ones that I thought had excellent breakups," he said. "One thing we pride ourselves on defensively is to not give up big plays. We still swarm to the ball. I thought we had a couple of good runs that spilled out of there but the defenses let them make a dozen yards but not 62 yards. If you have fireworks, I think you have some problems."

Because of numerous minor injuries, many regulars sat out the scrimmage. That group included starting cornerbacks Devon Torrence and Chimdi Chekwa, safety Orhian Johnson, defensive end Nathan Williams and wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher. Second-team linebackers Dorian Bell and Storm Klein also missed the scrimmage along with freshman running back Carlos Hyde.

Additionally, starting linebacker Ross Homan and Cameron Heyward played only sparingly because of injuries that team officials say would not keep them out of real games.

In unofficial stats kept by BuckeyeSports.com, quarterback Terrelle Pryor completed 10 of 23 passes for 149 yards with the touchdown to Washington. His leading receiver was DeVier Posey, who hauled in five passes for 66 yards, including a spectacular 27-yarder in which he outleaped Travis Howard along west sideline.

Pryor's completion percentage (43.4) was deflated by a couple of drops as well as several throwaways when he found no one open downfield.

All five quarterbacks faced consistently solid pass coverage as the defense rarely blitzed. Joe Bauserman was 2 for 7 for 14 yards, Ken Guiton 7 for 17 for 67 yards, Taylor Graham 7 for 10 for 44 yards and Justin Siems 1 for 1 for 11 yards.

The secondary excelled despite missing the top two cornerbacks. Sophomore Travis Howard and redshirt freshman Corey Brown moved up to the top unit while junior Donnie Evege and redshirt freshman Dominic Clarke become second-teamers.

"Those guys were stepping up with guys playing withe 1s, 2s and 3s who aren't complaining, just stepping in and having fun with it," said linebacker Brian Rolle, who posted six tackles. "When you see a lot of throwaways, that's better than putting the ball up for grabs, so all of the guys did a good job making good reads and when they couldn't get a ball into certain places throwing it high and far or throwing it out of bounds."

The only turnover of the day came when Brandon Saine could not handle a pitch from Guiton. When the ball popped out of Saine's hands, linebacker Andrew Sweat dove to snatch it out of the air.

That gave the defense, winners of the previous three jersey scrimmages, a brief 32-31 lead in the game, but the advantage would not hold.

"If you don't turn the ball over, the offense will win the jersey scrimmage. Today I think we did a pretty good job," said offensive left guard Justin Boren, who was disappointed with how the offense played in the red zone.

Three times the offense attempted field goals in the red zone, although only one of the possessions involved the No. 1 units.

"We're definitely glad we got the jerseys, but whenever you get in the red zone you want to score touchdowns, not settle for field goals," Boren said. "There's some stuff we've got to work on for (pass) protection, some communication issues we had when they were bringing more guys than we could handle, but other than that, I feel like we did all right."

The leading rusher on the day was redshirt freshman Jaamal Berry, who ran for 64 yards on 17 carries mostly with the second and third team.

Defensive standouts included Sweat, who had four tackles a half sack and a pass defended, along with defensive tackles Garrett Goebel and Adam Bellamy, both of whom had 1 1/2 sacks and consistently pressured the passer.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Jordan Whiting had a game-high nine tackles, including one for loss.

For full stats as well as analysis from BuckeyeSports.com staffers and Buckeye Football Analysis author BoulderBuck55, check out our premium Ask the Insiders message board.


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