November 20, 2010

Pryor puts Bucks on back at Iowa

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - Terrelle Pryor fired a beautifully thrown pass to a wide open DeVier Posey for what looked to be a late go-ahead touchdown for the No. 8 Ohio State football team in its game at Iowa Saturday evening.

Just moments later, looking down field, Pryor had realized that Posey had dropped the pass the two had connected on countless times, keeping the Buckeyes in the desperate situation of being down by four late in the fourth quarter in Kinnick Stadium.

"Was I mad? Yes I was mad," Pryor admitted after the game. "When you see a drop, I am so competitive, I was mad."

The drop was emblematic of what the Buckeyes had faced all evening against the No. 20 Hawkeyes. Penalties, miscommunications, and turnovers had Pryor and the No. 8 Ohio State team with its backs against the wall on the road yet again.

Then Ohio State did something it hadn't done all year - orchestrated a drive that ended with less than two minutes remaining on the clock to win the game, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Dan Herron.

Despite the fact Posey came up short on a pass he said he has made "hundreds of times," Pryor took the Buckeyes on his back and led his team to the 20-17 win over Iowa, keeping his team in the hunt for not only the Big Ten Championship, but also a potential berth in a BCS bowl game.

"I have caught a lot of deep balls in my career, but I don't know man, that one got away from me. It happens to everyone," Posey said after the game. "I have All-Americans around me. Any one of those guys can make a big play, and that's what happened."

Just moments after Posey had run past the defensive coverage and watched the ball slip through his hands in the end zone with 4:02 remaining in the game, Pryor had to regain his composure - which he credited head coach Jim Tressel for helping with - because Ohio State was facing 4th-and-10 near midfield.

"Coach Tressel told me I needed to come down because we had a fourth down to convert," Pryor said.

Instead of punting at midfield - the seemingly typical move for Ohio State in that situation - Tressel continued to put his trust in Pryor and the junior quarterback picked up 14 yards on a scramble to move the chains and keep Ohio State's pursuit of the comeback alive.

Then in perhaps the biggest play of the game, Pryor found wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher down the sideline for 24 yards, who brought down a tough catch at the Iowa two yardline with just under three minutes remaining. Just two plays later, Herron's touchdown run put Ohio State ahead for good.

"I called that play," Pryor said of the pass to Sanzenbacher. "As soon as I said it, he said it was a good idea and lets go. And then he called it."

Despite the fact that Pryor had already thrown two interceptions in the game and made some questionable decisions, Tressel stood by his junior quarterback and kept the offense on the field in a situation many felt would lead to an Ohio State punt.

Perhaps it was because Pryor had that look in his eye. Or maybe it was because the Big Ten Championship was hanging in the balance.

"I love looking into my guys eyes," Pryor said. "I may not be the best quarterback or have the best stats, but I guarantee you I can bring my teams back and make them believe we're going to come back. They looked into my eyes, and I looked into theirs. They knew I was going to lead them back. I don't want to be denied, I hate losing."

The Buckeyes now head into its final game of the season just one win away from at least a share of its sixth consecutive Big Ten title. Coming off a big win on the road in one of the more hostile environments in the conference, the Buckeyes are already thinking about "The Game" against Michigan.

"This game doesn't need to have anything at stake. It is the biggest rivalry in all of college football," said senior linebacker Brian Rolle. "We aren't even thinking about the Big Ten. We're just trying to head into the final week ready to take care of business."

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for He can be reached at


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