Ohio State finished off a week of unrest Sept. 19 by flexing its offensive and defensive muscle during a 38-0 wipeout of instate rival Toledo at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
The Buckeyes piled up 522 yards of total offense, cracking the 500-yard mark for the first time since a 42-39 win over Michigan in 2006, and the OSU defense pitched its first shutout since a 43-0 win in the 2008 season opener against Youngstown State. It was only the fourth shutout for the Buckeyes since Jim Tressel became head coach in 2001, and the team’s first against a Division I-A nonconference opponent since 1998. Toledo was also the victim in that one, dropping a 49-0 decision at Ohio Stadium.
OSU scored early and often, moving out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead on the strength of a pair of touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor to junior receiver Dane Sanzenbacher.
Pryor, who later ran for 1-yard touchdown and threw a 4-yard scoring pass to sophomore DeVier Posey, enjoyed the most productive day of his young career so far. The sophomore QB accounted for 372 total yards, easily eclipsing his previous high of 232 yards set last year against Penn State.
Pryor connected on 17 of his 28 pass attempts for 262 yards and three touchdowns, and added 110 yards and a score on 12 carries. The completions, attempts and passing yards were all single-game career highs for the OSU quarterback and the rushing yardage tied a career-high established last season against Illinois.
The only blemish on the stat sheet for Pryor – two interceptions, one in each half.
The second occurred at the 4:26 mark of the third quarter and allowed Toledo into Ohio State territory for the first time. The Rockets later got an apparent touchdown early in the fourth period, but senior strong safety Kurt Coleman stripped UT receiver Eric Page at the goal line and OSU linebacker Ross Homan recovered the fumble in the end zone.
The Buckeyes applied constant pressure on Toledo quarterback Aaron Opelt, who managed to complete only 22 of 45 attempts for 197 yards. He also threw an interception and was sacked twice while Ohio State was credited with 10 quarterback hurries.
Opelt accounted for most of his team’s offense. In addition to being shut out, the Rockets managed only 210 total yards after entering the game averaging 42.5 points and 558.5 yards per contest.
Ohio State struck with lightning quickness in the first quarter when Pryor threw a 76-yard bomb to Sanzenbacher. That gave the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the action, and the OSU duo hooked again later in the first quarter. This time, it was an 18-yard flip from Pryor to Sanzenbacher for a 14-0 advantage with 5:51 remaining.
OSU added second-quarter scores – a 4-yard touchdown run by sophomore tailback Dan “Boom” Herron and a 47-yard field goal from senior kicker Aaron Pettrey – to push its lead to 24-0 at halftime and then added touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to finish off the Rockets.
Topping off a nine-play, 86-yard march, Pryor had his 1-yard run at the 4:48 mark of the third quarter, and Posey’s 4-yard reception came at the end of an 11-play, 80-yard drive with 7:10 to go in the game.
Sanzenbacher also shattered his personal best 126 yards and two scores. His previous best was 82 yards in last year’s Penn State game. Posey also had five receptions, good for 46 yards.
Pryor was the leading rusher for the Buckeyes, who totaled 247 yards on the ground. Junior tailback Brandon Saine carried nine times for 45 yards while freshman Jordan Hall made his collegiate debut with 44 yards on seven carries. Herron added 42 yards on 15 carries.
Junior middle linebacker Brian Rolle was the leading tackler for Ohio State with eight total stops to go along with two quarterback hurries. Coleman added six stops to go along with his forced fumble while Homan also had six tackles, the fumble recovery, a pass breakup and a QB hurry.
Ohio State (2-1) returns home next week to kick off Big Ten play, hosting Illinois. The Illini (1-1) were idle this week.
Game time for the OSU-Illinois game is 3:30 p.m., and the contest will be televised using the ABC/ESPN reverse mirror. That means the game will be available for viewing on ABC throughout most of Big Ten country while other areas in the country will see the game on ESPN2.