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Buckeyes win big in battle of Ohio

There was no Hurricane hangover for Ohio State.

One week after dismantling Miami (Fla.), the No. 2 Buckeyes (3-0) poured it on in-state rival Ohio (1-2), holding the Bobcats to 158 total yards in a 43-7 victory Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

Two years ago, Ohio gave OSU a major scare, taking a narrow lead into the fourth quarter before the Buckeyes pulled away for a 26-14 win. Saturday’s game bore little resemblance.

OSU scored on its first six possessions, racking up a 34-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor set a school record by completing 16 consecutive passes, breaking Jim Karsatos’ mark of 12 that stood for 25 years. Pryor finished 22-for-29 for 235 yards, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another. He and the first-team offense sat out the fourth quarter.

“When you feel more comfortable, things start to slow down for you and you can make those passes,” receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. “Being able to throw those passes so comfortably, it led to all those completions.”

On the second play from scrimmage, safety Tyler Moeller intercepted a pass by Ohio quarterback Phil Bates. OSU converted the turnover into a field goal.

The day never got easier for the Bobcat offense.

Ohio punted on its next three possessions and before the first quarter was over, OSU led 24-0.

“Defensively, we shut them down in the first half for sure,” coach Jim Tressel said.

Pryor threw a strike to running back Brandon Saine across the middle for a 9-yard score to give the Buckeyes a 10-0 edge. Minutes later, Pryor scampered 13 yards to the end zone to add to the lead.

“Pryor got out of the pocket a lot and we can’t let that happen,” Ohio linebacker Noah Keller said. “He’s a hard guy to tackle. He has a deadly arm and a killer stiff arm.”

When the Bobcats weren’t punting, they were committing turnovers. The Buckeyes forced three fumbles, two interceptions and once stopped Ohio on downs. OSU picked off four passes by Miami quarterback Jacory Harris last week.

“We had a lot of problems,” said Bates, who finished 4-for-9 for 13 yards and two interceptions. “We didn’t execute plays, hit people when they were open or get key blocks. We have a lot of work to do.”

The Buckeyes out-gained Ohio in the first half, 290-47. The Bobcats didn’t move the chains for a first down until midway through the second quarter. They promptly fumbled the ball away on the next play.

The Buckeyes stretched the lead to 34-0 following a touchdown pass from Pryor to tight end Jake Stoneburner and a 2-yard touchdown run by Dan “Boom” Herron.

Despite the lopsided score, Tressel kept the first-team offense on the field through the end of the third quarter. The unit looked out-of-sync with the sizeable lead, as Pryor threw his second interception of the game into double coverage.

“Interceptions ruin a quarterback’s day in their own mind,” Tressel said. “Sometimes you forget about the 22 completions and all you do is think about the two that didn’t work well.”

Herron capped off the first-team offense’s final drive with his second touchdown to provide the Buckeyes a 43-0 advantage.

Ohio finally got on the board with a touchdown with 6:11 remaining in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Boo Jackson to receiver Terrence McCrae.

While OSU flourished on offense and defense, the persistent problems on special teams plagued the Buckeyes yet again.

Ohio cornerback Julian Posey, who covered his younger brother, OSU receiver DeVier Posey, most of the game, had a first-quarter kick return touchdown brought back because of a penalty.

The Bobcats also blocked an OSU punt in the third quarter.

“We just flat out missed a guy,” Tressel said. “You can’t do that, not if you want to win.”

Still, the Buckeyes were able to put away Ohio early and avoid a repeat of the 2008 matchup.

“We were thinking about the OU game two years ago,” said defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, who recovered a fumble and made a tackle in the end zone for a safety. “We didn’t want to let down our fans. I think everybody took the challenge.”

OSU plays Eastern Michigan, winless since Nov. 28, 2008, next Saturday at 3:30 p.m., at the Horseshoe.

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