12:00 PM ET, September 20, 2008
Ohio Stadium, COLUMBUS, OH
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Terrelle Pryor has done this before, just not in college.
"I've been making plays all my life," Pryor said. "I'm not cocky. I'm just glad I can help out our seniors and get a win."
The acclaimed freshman, who hasn't even started classes yet, took charge of Ohio State's offense with four touchdown passes to lead the sluggish No. 13 Buckeyes to a 28-10 victory over Troy on Saturday.
The Successful Switch
Coach Jim Tressel threw true freshman Terrelle Pryor into the fire Saturday. In Tressel's tenure at Ohio State he has never hesitated to make a midseason quarterback change:
|• In Tressel's first year at Ohio State in 2001, he gave Craig Krenzel his first career start vs. Michigan, and the unranked Buckeyes topped the 11th-ranked Wolverines. Krenzel completed 11 of 18 passes for 118 yards.||• In 2004, with the Buckeyes on a three-game losing streak, Tressel replaced highly touted recruit Justin Zwick with an unknown former running back named Troy Smith. Smith would go 5-0 as a starter that year.|
|• In 2005, after Smith was suspended for the season opener and came off the bench vs. Texas, Tressel again replaced Zwick with Smith, who led the Buckeyes to a Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame that season, and to the BCS title game in his Heisman Trophy-winning senior year in 2006.|
Instead, Pryor was the first true freshman to start for the Buckeyes in 30 years, since Art Schlichter in 1978 and he ran the show for all but two plays before the game was out of reach.
"Coming off the loss to USC, I think we took a half-a-step forward," Pryor said.
Pryor's touchdown passes covered 39 and 16 yards to Brian Hartline, 13 yards to Rory Nicol and 38 yards to Brian Robiskie. The 6-foot-6 standout from Jeannette, Pa., who won't attend his first college class until next week, completed 10 of 16 passes for 139 yards with one interception. He also ran 14 times for 66 yards.
Boeckman, fifth-year senior, only played two snaps and the smallest crowd in Ohio Stadium in six years loudly booed him after an incompletion on one of those.
That prompted defensive lineman Lawrence Wilson to say: "Hey, we're just kids. We're not professionals. There's no way that adults should treat us that way."
Even though Pryor had a successful debut as a starter, the Buckeyes (3-1) led just 14-10 at the start of the fourth quarter, at which point Troy had more first downs and total yards.
"After they scored at the end of the first half to bring it to a four-point game, I thought our guys did a great job of rising up," Tressel said. He added, "Offensively, we've got a ways to go but we did some good things, had some new guys in there who hadn't been in there all that much before, so it was a very valuable game."
Ohio State turned two punts from the Troy end zone in the fourth quarter into short touchdown drives that ended with Pryor TD passes.
"Pryor really makes them different," Trojans coach Larry Blakeney said.
Still, the Buckeyes struggled for much of the day, even with Pryor's big day and with Dan Herron rushing for 94 yards on 20 carries in relief of the injured Chris Wells. The Buckeyes also gave substantial playing time to several young offensive linemen.
"Going into the fourth quarter, we had them right where we wanted them," Troy safety Tavares Williams said. "I think they knew it too. It just didn't work out how we planned it."
Ohio State's first nine possessions ended with two Pryor TD passes, six punts and an interception on Pryor's heave to end the half.
The offense couldn't add to the lead until Troy started losing the field-position battle in the final quarter.
"My comfort level is about 7 or 8 out of 10 right now," Pryor said. "You saw some bad balls along with the four touchdowns I threw. I have so much to learn."
Boeckman, one of four team captains, showed up for postgame interviews.
Asked if it was a difficult day for him, he said: "I'm happy for Terrelle. He had a great day. He did some great things out there. He's getting better every time he's out there and he made some great plays. I'm excited for this team and for him."
Then he left through a side door.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Terrelle Pryor hit Brian Robiskie for a 38-yard TD to give the Buckeyes some separation.
Gameball goes to... Pryor, who tossed four touchdown passes in his first start for the Buckeyes.
Stat of the game... 20-0. Ohio State is 20-0 against non-BCS opponents under coach Jim Tressel.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-15||3-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-1|
|TD||10:14||Rory Nicol 13 Yd Pass From Terrelle Pryor (Ryan Pretorius Kick)||0||7|
|FG||13:35||Sam Glusman 22 Yd||3||7|
|TD||09:08||Brian Hartline 39 Yd Pass From Terrelle Pryor (Ryan Pretorius Kick)||3||14|
|TD||01:49||Jerrel Jernigan 45 Yd Pass From Jamie Hampton (Sam Glusman Kick)||10||14|
|TD||13:28||Brian Robiskie 38 Yd Pass From Terrelle Pryor (Ryan Pretorius Kick)||10||21|
|TD||04:46||Brian Hartline 16 Yd Pass From Terrelle Pryor (Ryan Pretorius Kick)||10||28|