The numbers weren’t very good. Pryor completed just 5 of 13 passes for 87 yards with a touchdown and a pick last Saturday. That still is good enough for a 104 QB rating (double what the Browns are getting these days) which may be more of an indictment of how unreliable that particular stat is. The offense failed to do anything well. Five times Ohio State went 3 and out. Add to that Pryor’s interception on third and ten, and another whopping six play drive that covered 11 yards and you get an abysmal seven drives covering 27 yards.
The running game was stuffed on Saturday, as Wisconsin employed a USC style strategy- load up the box and dare Pryor to beat you with his arm. Force him to make quick reads and put the ball downfield. It worked for the Trojans. Of course it might have worked for Wisconsin too, had OSU not returned two picks and a kick back for touchdowns.
We keep hearing about how well Pryor and the offense in general look in practice. If you remember, we heard all spring about Terrelle’s progress and in particular his arm strength. We have yet to really see it translate to the field. He certainly doesn’t float the ball quite like he did last year. I’ll give him credit for that. Most of his passes do have more on them. That doesn’t mean that they are particularly on target, or that he is throwing to the right read.
Pryor, picked by the media as the Big Ten preseason offensive player of the year, is not really living up to those types of expectations. Yes, he is a sophomore, but Saturday was the 16th start of his career. Tim Tebow did something that no other sophomore QB has ever done, so we won’t even make that comparison. So I ask how does Terrelle stack up against the other quarterbacks from the 2008 class? He was far and away the most sought after QB in the class. The other top recruits from that year-
Dayne Crist (Notre Dame) and Mike Glennon (North Carolina State) were the second and third rated QBs according to ESPN. Both are stuck behind established players and haven’t played enough meaningful snaps to get any kind of read on their performance.
Kyle Parker (Clemson) was redshirted his freshman year, but given the reigns this season. His numbers- 74 of 152 for 895 yards with 5 TDs and 5 interceptions. That is good for a QB rating of 102.42. The Tigers are 2-3 in his 5 starts however.
Blaine Gabbert (Missouri) took over for Chase Daniel and the Tigers haven’t really blinked. Gabbert’s numbers- 104 of 174, 1295 yards, 11 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Missouri is 4-1 and hoping to bounce back after a tough loss to Nebraska last week.
Andrew Luck (Stanford) another redshirt player won the starting job this season for the Cardinal and has guided them to conference wins over Washington, Washington State and UCLA. His numbers for the season- 76 of 133, 1,166 yards passing, 6 touchdowns and 2 picks. Luck is more mobile than the others on this list, but nowhere near what you would call a running QB. His rushing totals- 30 carries for 170 yards and a score.
Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) is now backing up Ryan Mallett. You might remember Mallett. He was the QB that transerred from Michigan after RichRod came in. Mallett is technically a sophomore after sitting out the required year for the transfer. Mallett played meaningful snaps in 6 games for the Wolverines as a freshman. This season for Arkansas he is lighting up opposing defenses. He was not a part of Pryor’s recruiting class however.
Those are the other QBs that were in ESPN’s top 100 players. Of those players, you would probably give the edge to Pryor, although a strong case could be made for Gabbert. The difference between Pryor and those other QBs (aside from games started) is of course his ability to make plays with his legs. Perhaps that has been the most disappointing thing about Pryor and the offense this season. It seems that we have a uniquely talented QB that we aren’t using to the best of his ability. We’d all love for Terrelle to be a dual threat kind of QB. But perhaps he isn’t quite ready for that. Maybe at this point in his career he should be. Regardless of that he is the best option we have on the team, and we will only go as far as Terrelle will take us.
One thing is certain, if the offense doesn’t find a way to move the ball against tough defenses then Ohio State will not be winning even a share of the Big Ten title.