One week removed from a strained quadriceps muscle, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor enjoyed a career passing day Saturday afternoon as his second-ranked Buckeyes rolled to a 38-10 victory over Indiana in front of 105,291 at Ohio Stadium.
Pryor completed 24 of 30 attempts for 334 yards and three touchdowns in less than three quarters of action. The yardage figure was a new career best and the most by an OSU quarterback since Troy Smith threw for 342 against Notre Dame in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.
Pryor’s total represented the 10th best single-game output in Ohio State history and he was an equal opportunity quarterback. Junior wideout DeVier Posey was Pryor’s favorite target as he caught eight balls for 103 yards and a touchdown. Senior co-captains Brandon Saine and Dane Sanzenbacher had four receptions apiece which were good for 84 and 60 yards, respectively. Each also had a touchdown.
“I thought Terrelle had a good game today,” OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. “I don’t know what his stats were – 24 for 30 for 334 yards and no interceptions. That’s a pretty good day. If we do that every time, we’ll have a chance (to win) every time.”
The Buckeyes rolled up 478 yards of total offense while allowing only 210 to the Hoosiers, which entered the game averaging 39.8 yards and 455.0 yards per game. Indiana was coming off a 42-35 loss to Michigan a week earlier during which it ran 98 offensive plays and totaled 568 yards.
IU quarterback Ben Chappell, who set several new school records against the Wolverines including throwing for 480 yards, was held in check by the OSU defense. Chappell completed 16 of 26 passes for only 106 yards with two interceptions.
Chappell’s backup, redshirt freshman Dusty Kiel, directed the lone touchdown drive for the Hoosiers late in the fourth quarter. Kiel marched his team 52 yards in nine plays and completed 2 of 4 pass attempts for 28 yards during the drive.
Tressel said he was pleased with the way his defense swarmed after the Hoosiers.
“The thing about playing against our defense is you’re going to have less time to get rid of the ball,” he said. “Our secondary breaks on the ball and plays you close. They’re very, very well prepared.”
While the Hoosiers were scratching for everything they could get, the Buckeyes seemed to be on cruise control virtually from the opening kickoff. Each of their first three scoring drives lasted less than two minutes as Ohio State built an early second-quarter lead of 21-0 and never looked back.
Pryor came out throwing during the first possession, completing his first three attempts of the afternoon – a 13-yarder to Saine, a 14-yarder to Posey and a 5-yard flip to Posey.
On the fourth play of the drive, the Buckeyes called their first running play of the day and it resulted in a 39-yard touchdown romp by Dan “Boom” Herron. Kicker Devin Barclay added the extra point and OSU was off and running with a 7-0 lead at the 13:13 mark of the opening period.
Ohio State cornerback Devon Torrence set up his team’s next score when he intercepted Chappell at the OSU 42 and returned the pick 25 yards back to the Indiana 33. From there, it took only three plays for the Buckeyes to score.
After Pryor was sacked on first down, he found Sanzenbacher over the middle for 17 yards and then went right back to Sanzenbacher for a 22-yard touchdown. Barclay’s PAT finished off the 33-yard, 56-second drive and made it 14-0 with 6:35 to go in the first quarter.
The third drive was the most efficient, covering 77 yards in four plays that took only 1:53. Saine covered the final 60 yards on a post route when he beat IU cornerback Richard Council and gathered in a beautifully thrown ball from Pryor.
Barclay tacked on the extra point and the Buckeyes enjoyed a 21-0 lead at the 13:31 mark of the second quarter.
Pryor notched his third touchdown pass of the game with an 18-yard toss to Posey with 6:55 remaining and then Barclay added a 36-yard field goal with 46 seconds remaining to give Ohio State a 31-0 advantage at halftime.
By the break, the Buckeyes were in complete control. They had 320 total yards to 68 for the Hoosiers and 15 first downs to only four for IU. Additionally, Pryor had already established a new career high with 280 yards on 19-of-24 passing.
Somewhat curiously, though, while Pryor was attempting 24 passes in the first half, his team rushed the ball only 12 times for 40 yards against an Indiana defense that entered the game surrendering a Big Ten-worst 207.0 yards per game on the ground.
The Buckeyes remedied that somewhat in the second half, rushing 20 times for 90 yards but they still wound up with only 130 for the game. Herron was the leading ball-carrier with 68 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 12 carries.
His second TD run came at the end of Ohio State’s opening possession of the second half. After Pryor had directed the team to the Indiana 8-yard line, Herron took a direct snap in the Wildcat formation and ran over left guard for the touchdown. Barclay added the extra point for a 38-0 OSU lead with 8:02 remaining in the third quarter.
Indiana finally dented the scoreboard with a 36-yard field goal from kicker Mitch Eward with 4:50 left in the third period, and then Kiel directed the Hoosiers’ only touchdown drive that resulted in a 1-yard run by freshman running back Antonio Banks with 5:06 left in the game.
The victory marked No. 100 at Ohio State for Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith interrupted the coach’s postgame comments to present him with a special award, a trophy with the number “100” embossed in scarlet and gray.
Asked for his thoughts about reaching the milestone, Tressel said, “It’s exciting every time you win. We’ve had a lot of awfully good players here, had a lot of good coaches and a lot of those 100 wins have been here at home in front of our great fans. But this is place where if they let you stay long enough you should win 100.”
Ohio State (6-0, 2-0) will be back in action next Saturday when the Buckeyes travel to Wisconsin. The Badgers (5-1, 1-1) took a 41-23 victory earlier this afternoon over Minnesota in Camp Randall Stadium.
Kickoff next Saturday is set for shortly after 7 p.m. Eastern.