Dotting the Victory

In just his third collegiate start, freshman sensation Terrelle Pryor gave a national television audience a show Saturday night, throwing for 144 yards and bullying through the Wisconsin defense for the game-winning touchdown in the closing minute.

MADISON — Take a bow, Terrelle Pryor. This is your night; you're a star.

A national television audience just found out just how good the country's premier true freshman really is, with both his arm and his feet.

At times, the 6-foot-6 Pryor played like a true freshman just getting his feet wet as Ohio State's starting quarterback. He can thank the feisty, physical University of Wisconsin defense for that.

But despite an admirable effort from the No. 18-ranked Badgers, who were coming off a demoralizing defeat at Michigan, Pryor did just enough to win and his Buckeyes played like they are the favored team to win the Big Ten Conference title.

Pryor was described as "a beast", "scary, for a freshman" during the week by UW defensive players. He may not have brought his most consistent 60 minutes of football, but he made plays when he needed to.

Namely, during a game-winning, 80-yard drive to silence the 81,608 screaming fans at Camp Randall Stadium.

Pryor first converted a 3rd-and-6 pass to receiver Brian Robiskie, then shook off some first-down losses to keep moving the chains. Then with just over a minute remaining, Pryor took the ball left on an option, faked a flip to Wells, and saw a hole that he busted right through for an 11-yard touchdown.

"He was able to keep the ball in Ohio State's hands to be able to go down the field," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "Even after the negative yards on the first play, to be able to come back and execute that run, my hat goes off to him."

For the most part, Wisconsin kept Pryor in check on the stat sheet.

Pryor's rushing numbers are a little skewed; while he did get some longer runs early on, his total yardage (15 carries, 20 yards) was tempered by some giant losses on broken plays.

Nothing to hide about his subpar passing night, however; 7-of-11 for 60 yards and an interception through three quarters.

But he was at his best on that winning drive: 3-for-4 passes, for 59 yards.

"He was under duress tonight," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "They were playing hard, they were coming after him, they were going to make him do things with lots of people in his face, and he's coming of age."

Of course, Pryor had one of the best running backs in football, Beanie Wells, to help him out. Wells had a 33-yard rushing touchdown on the opening drive – setting a physical tone by carrying UW safety Shane Carter along for the ride for the last five yards – and later had a 54-yarder that set up an OSU field goal.

"You have to keep an eye on both of them," UW defensive end O'Brien Schofield said. "Pryor, he can run and he can pass, and of course Wells can run real well."

But UW knew Wells would get his yards (168 of them, on 22 carries), aided by a long run or two. It was Pryor's unique poise that sealed the Badgers' fate.

"I know that we were able to get some pressure on him, I know we had sacks on a couple different occasions," Bielema said. "But he's elusive, he's a big body, there's a couple times where we were kind of just hanging on, or barely on him and he fought through some tackles.

"He presents a challenge to get down on any given play, and it's something that we did good some of the time," Bielema continued. "But ultimately on the last play, we weren't good enough."


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