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Buckeye beatdown: Aggies overmatched at The Horseshoe

Ohio State (7-2, 4-1) pulled out its entire bag of tricks, treating New Mexico State (3-6, 1-3) to a 45-0 trouncing Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

Terrelle Pryor threw for 135 yards and ran for 83, accounting for a pair of touchdowns before sitting out the second half.

Though the teams fought to a scoreless draw through the first quarter, the Aggies never truly posed a threat.

The disparity in the teams’ total yardage tells the entire story, as the Buckeyes held New Mexico State to 62 yards, while gaining 559.

OSU accumulated 310 of those yards on the ground. Ten different players toted the ball, with freshman Jordan Hall leading the way with 90 yards on 10 carries.

After a sluggish first quarter, the OSU offense found its rhythm. Pryor scored on an eight-yard sprint to start the second period of play.

“We knew we had to cage him up,” New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker said. “I went ballistic a couple of times when he got out of the pressure, but I guess it’s wishful thinking to keep him contained for the entire game. They did exactly what we thought they’d do. It starts and ends with Pryor. We held in as long as we could, but he’s a special player.”

The Bucks fooled the Aggies with an onside kick, which kicker Aaron Pettrey recovered himself. Five plays later, Pryor hooked up with Sanzenbacher on a 19-yard touchdown connection.

“In the beginning of the game, mostly the first quarter, there were some communication issues,” Sanzenbacher said. “We got it figured out though and were able to get things clicking in the second quarter.”

The teams combined for a trio of turnovers during a six-play stretch in the second quarter. Linebacker Ross Homan intercepted Aggies quarterback Jeff Fleming, and on the Bucks’  first play of the ensuing drive, running back Brandon Saine handed possession right back to New Mexico State with a fumble. Four plays later, Fleming fumbled the ball back to the Buckeyes.

Saine’s fumble was the only offensive miscue for OSU, though the Buckeyes misfired on four field goals during the game.

Pettrey missed a pair of 52-yard attempts before leaving late in the second quarter with a right knee injury.

His replacement, junior Devin Barclay, also missed a pair of field goals.

The Aggies, on the other hand, never even reached field goal range, punting on 11 of their 15 possessions and turning it over on three others.

New Mexico State netted just 40 yards on 30 carries and only managed two first downs, as the Buckeyes recorded their third shutout of the season.

“We were unbelievable today,” senior linebacker Austin Spitler said of the defense’s performance. “It just seemed like we were playing sky high. It seems like when we play at a high level it carries over to the offensive side of the ball and boosts their confidence as well.”

Holding a 14-0 lead, OSU coach Jim Tressel reached deep into his playbook in the second quarter. Pryor pitched the ball to running back Dan Herron, who handed it to Posey on a reverse. Posey looked to throw back across the field to Pryor, but the sophomore quarterback was covered tight. Instead, Posey wound up and tossed a left-handed heave 39 yards into Sanzenbacher’s grasp at the back of the end zone.

“It was just something we put in,” Posey said. “It didn’t happen like that all week in practice. It was just a great play, Dane made an excellent catch. I just closed my eyes and threw it.”
Posey’s touchdown pass was the first by a Buckeye wideout since Ted Ginn Jr. in 2006.

“He looked like a quarterback back there,” Sanzenbacher said. “He took three hitches up and then threw it down there. That was impressive to see him do that.”

The score was the third touchdown of the quarter for the Buckeyes, who tacked on a three-yard touchdown run by Saine to enter the half with a 28-0 lead.

OSU completed the game’s scoring in the third quarter, without Pryor, who roamed the sidelines in warmup gear.

Linebacker Brian Rolle recovered a fumble in the end zone to put the Bucks up 38-0, and Herron burst through the middle for a 53-yard touchdown run with the quarter winding down.

The Buckeyes now enter a November schedule stacked with challenges.

OSU heads to Happy Valley to face Penn State next Saturday before returning home to take on Iowa. The Hawkeyes escaped an upset attempt by Indiana to move to 9-0. OSU finishes the regular season at Michigan Nov. 21.

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