Zach Tuggle / The Lantern
Fans had been waiting all season for Terrelle Pryor to become the dual threat many saw him as coming out of high school and that he showed glimpses of last year.
Saturday night against Indiana, their wishes were fulfilled, as Pryor picked apart the Indiana defense with both his legs and his arm.
He finished the game with four touchdowns, three through the air and one on the ground.
For Pryor, it was the type of performance that he and the rest of the passing game had been trying to put together all season.
“We’re always on a mission,” he said. “Sometimes it might not show out there, but I mean not every offense in the country is perfect.”
Pryor was near perfect when it came to spreading the ball Saturday. He completed passes to eight different receivers, including two of his three touchdowns to freshmen Duron Carter and Zach Boren.
“It’s a great feeling,” Boren said. “Terrelle gave me a great ball that I could just catch and go right into the end zone.”
“It was a great experience for my first road game,” Carter said. “I was the second read, and Terrelle trusted me with the ball, and I jumped up and caught it.”
But Carter was actually more excited about a devastating block he put on an IU defender.
“Football is a contact sport,” he said. “If you don’t like contact you shouldn’t be playing.”
When it was all said and done, Pryor finished with a career-high 27 attempts as the coaching staff continued to put the offense in his hands.
“He was glued in,” coach Jim Tressel said.
Defense doesn’t miss a beat without Coleman
It’s not easy to replace a team captain, three-year starter, and All-Big Ten performer and not have a drop off.
But with Anderson Russell filling the shoes of suspended safety Kurt Coleman, the Buckeyes did exactly that.
OSU held the Hoosiers to 14 points, with seven of those coming in the last 10 seconds of the game against the second and third string.
Coming into the game, the Hoosiers were averaging 28 points per game.
“We didn’t give up any home runs. We seemed to tackle well. With Kurt not there and Jermale [Hines] limping around there for a minute, we were awfully young,” Tressel said.
“But they kept everything in front of them … and I thought they were solid.”
Russell started the first two games of the season before being replaced in the lineup by Hines. He showed no signs of rust as he intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble during Saturday’s game.
“He’s a guy that has never changed who he is just because we changed the rotation,” Tressel said. “He works like crazy, studies film all the time. He’s a smart young man on the field and off the field.”
Increased workload for ‘Zoom’ doesn’t slow down running game
Although it was known that the defense would be without Coleman coming into Saturday’s game, the status of junior running back Daniel “Boom” Herron was uncertain.
“Boom in a real pinch could have played tonight, but I’m not sure he’d have been 100 percent,” Tressel said.
Luckily for OSU, a less-than-100-percent Herron would not be needed, as Brandon Saine efficiently stepped into the starting running back role. His 113 yards were a large part of
OSU’s 219-18 yard advantage on the ground.
“I’ve been excited since Thursday when I found out I was going to be starting and that I’d be a captain,” Saine said. “I had a lot of fun out there, and I’m glad we were able to come out with a win. I’m definitely really grateful for the opportunity I had today.”
Although Saine, a track star in high school, is known more for his speed, he has quickly established himself as a power back as well.
“Brandon Saine is 220 pounds, and he’s moving those pounds fast,” Tressel said. “We always say, ‘Whoever wins the battles in the trenches is going to win the game.'”
Buckeyes hit by flu
In addition to a suspension and injuries, OSU is now having to deal with the issue of the flu.
Junior offensive tackle Andrew Miller was prohibited from traveling with the team after exhibiting flu-like symptoms. He wasn’t the only Buckeye that was affected.
“We had three or four guys miss practice during the week,” Tressel said.
Tressel named sophomore starting center Mike Brewster and sophomore defensive lineman Solomon Thomas among those who missed multiple practices with flu symptoms.
He couldn’t recall which other players were affected by the flu but acknowledged there were more.
OSU isn’t the first team to have to deal with the flu this year. Georgia starting quarterback Joe Cox was unable to travel with the rest of the team prior to the Bulldogs’ season opener, and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was plagued by flu-like symptoms in the Gators’ game against Kentucky.