It was easy, it was harmless and it’s been quite the ride so far. And with yet another blowout victory, the Ohio State Buckeyes took control of their own destiny in 2010 by moving to the No. 1 spot in the nation.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor had a career game passing the football after being partially limited with a quad injury, limiting his mobility. The junior responded with the best numbers of his career through the air, completing 24 of 30 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns.
Utilizing this newfound big play offense, the Bucks easily rolled over the Indiana Hoosiers 38-10 at Ohio Stadium. Yes, this was the same Indiana team that threw for nearly 500 yards in a close loss to Michigan a week ago, but we all know much more about that Wolverines team now. Coupled with a loss by outgoing No. 1 Alabama at South Carolina last night, this now puts OSU in the driver’s seat for taking over the top ranking in the land.
Celebrating the 100th victory of Jim Tressel’s coaching career in style, the Buckeyes coasted in a very impressive first half. A week ago, the team failed to produce consistently on offense as Pryor’s injury limited his running ability and then the passing attack. Essentially just focusing on the air Saturday, Pryor torched the Hoosiers defense with big play after big play.
In fact, the first time the Bucks even got within the red zone was a 17-yard touchdown pass from Pryor to his favorite target DeVier Posey to extend the lead to 28-0 midway through the second quarter. A Devin Barclay 36 yard field goal increased the advantage at the halftime break, giving OSU an easy time for the second half.
Nothing really exciting went on in that second half as well. The team came out firing quickly as Boom Herron capitalized a 10-play drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to provide for the final score of the game. After that, it was complete cruise control for Pryor and company even though the defense allowed a few more consistent plays than before.
Pryor finished with only three carries in the game for -19 yards total, showing how the offensive game plan shifted with his minor injury. That allowed him to stay calm in the pocket, delivering deep pass after deep pass quickly in that first half. Posey, Brandon Saine and Dane Sanzenbacher each hauled in a single touchdown pass, even showing that Pryor did well to fairly distribute the wealth.
Indiana’s not too impressive of a football team this season, despite its close call against Michigan a week ago. Those Wolverines then fell back even farther with a stunning home loss to Michigan State, and with this contest, it seems much more plausible that UM is just not quite there in 2010.
In terms of the rest of the Big Ten picture, the soon-to-be top ranked Buckeyes will face their first tough conference contest next week at Camp Randall. The No. 20 Badgers followed a tough loss at Michigan State with an easy victory over helpless Minnesota, and with John Clay at running back, should be quite the matchup next Saturday night.
The Bucks and Spartans don’t play this season, so after OSU has a decent reprieve post-Wisconsin with Purdue, Minnesota and Penn State. To close out the year, the team has its toughest road match at No. 15 Iowa followed by the classic rivalry (now during Thanksgiving weekend) against the Wolverines.
Enjoy the victory and the ascent to No. 1 for now Buckeye fans, because next week will bring you back to the edge of your seat.
(Photo via Marvin Fong / The Plain Dealer)