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Instant Analysis - Ohio State 24, Penn St 7 November 7, 2009 Source: College Football News - Pete Fiutak wrote:
"...So what went wrong? Why did a team with so much talent and with such a favorable schedule blow it? Darryl Clark will bear the brunt of the blame for his inability to come through in the big games, but this was a total team meltdown. The offensive line didn't open up any holes, and got Clark beaten up, but the defensive line didn't do a thing to slow down the Ohio State running game. Clark struggled with his accuracy and he couldn't keep the chains moving, but again, for the second time this year, the Iowa game being the first, he didn't have a ton of time..."
Richard Cirminiello wrote: "Daryll Clark and big games. It has not been a good mix in Happy Valley over the last two seasons...Great quarterbacks bring it in the most important games on the schedule. Clark failed to do that again on Saturday, a knock on him and a credit to that Buckeye defense. And in the greatest indignity of all for Penn State fans, Terrelle Pryor, the Pennsylvania native, who thumbed his nose at the Nits two years ago, outplayed their quarterback by getting his hand in on all three touchdown..."
Matt Zemek wrote: "Terrelle Pryor had to spend 12 months living with his fumble, the fumble that allowed Penn State to win in Columbus and take home the 2008 Big Ten championship. In his return to Pennsylvania, the much-maligned signal caller joined with his teammates to forge a vintage TresselBall performance in not-so-Happy Valley...That’s some kinda comeback story for No. 2, and an even sweeter resurrection narrative for the overly-criticized program that’s on the verge of becoming No. 1 yet again in its conference..."
Michael Bradley wrote: In what was supposed to be a referendum on Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor, the Buckeye defense showed that it still isn’t all about the guy under center in Columbus...the OSU D was absolutely dominant, allowing a mere 201 total yards and completely overpowering the overmatched PSU front five. With the Nittany Lion ground game completely under control (76 yards), the Buckeyes could concentrate on keeping Darryl Clark from hurting them. Mission accomplished...Yes, OSU had trouble against Purdue, but that was largely because of Pryor’s turnovers. If he can keep the ball under the Buckeyes’ control, the OSU defense will do the rest. In seven of the past eight games, Ohio State has held rivals under 18 points, and that remains the team’s personality. The Bucks can run it when they have to, and Pryor is learning to make plays within the confines of the offense. If that continues, OSU will finish the year 10-2 and play in Pasadena..."
Silver Bullets Shut Down Penn State in 24-7 Victory November 7, 2009 Source: OSU Official Site - "Buckeyes allow just 201 yards of total offense...Pryor elevated his game in the second half, completing 5 of 8 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns to sink his home state Nittany Lions in Happy Valley...Pryor threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in his first game back in his home state and Ohio State (No. 16 BCS, No. 15 AP) reclaimed control of the Big Ten race after beating No. 11 Penn State, 24-7 in a duel of the league's top two defenses. As an added bonus, the Buckeyes (8-2, 5-1) vaulted into a tie for the conference lead with Iowa after Northwestern handed the Hawkeyes its first loss of the season earlier Saturday...A showdown with Iowa (for sole possession of the Big Ten lead) at the Horseshoe awaits next week. "November is for contenders, we always say that," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "It's hard to get too ecstatic right now because you know the Hawkeyes are coming to town."
On Saturday, Pryor showed Happy Valley why he was such a prize. He finished 8 for 17 passing for 125 yards, and rushed for 50 yards and a 7-yard TD on five carries. "It was huge. They were making a big deal about it and people were doubting us, 'Buckeyes can't do this or this.' A lot of that stuff motivates us, but we knew we could do it," Pryor said. Ray Small burned Penn State with two long punt returns, and Ohio State's defense held dangerous Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark in check with constant pressure. The Buckeyes scored the game's final 17 points to silence the crowd of 110,033, the fourth-largest in Beaver Stadium history..."
Flying high November 8, 2009 Source: OSU Official Site - "As the final seconds ticked off the clock last night, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor burst onto the field. He looked at a nearby television camera, smiling broadly, and thumped a fist to his chest. There was only the one thump, though, and it was the limit of his personal celebration. Soon, he was engulfed in a swarm of Buckeyes gathering on the Beaver Stadium turf. It was fitting that Pryor enjoyed a moment of self-satisfaction. He had just led Ohio State to its biggest win in nearly three years, having a hand in all three touchdowns in a 24-7 throttling of Penn State. It was doubly sweet as it came in his home state, to a team he spurned after a prolonged, emotional recruiting process. But it was equally fitting that he quickly joined his teammates, because he got plenty of help.
The much-maligned offensive line, the much-emphasized special teams, the much-feared defense: All played important roles. The result was that a season once teetering on the edge of disappointment suddenly has possibilities as clear as the cool Pennsylvania evening air. The winner of next week's game between Ohio State (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) and suddenly vulnerable Iowa will clinch a Big Ten championship and a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game, almost certainly the Rose Bowl. "It definitely feels good to win a big one," receiver DeVier Posey said. "We haven't had this feeling a lot the past couple big games."
Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark was limited to 145 total yards, 125 passing, with a 1-yard TD sneak and an interception. Penn State had 201 yards, more than 100 yards less than their previous season low, 307 in a loss to Iowa..."
IT WAS OVER WHEN: OSU followed up a third-quarter TD, to go up 17-7, with a 45-yard punt return.
THE PLAY: Ray Small's 41 yard punt return to the Penn State 9 in the 1st quarter to set up the Buckeye's 1st score.
GAMEBALL GOES TO: Cameron Heward and the Ohio State defense. Heyward played a career game with 11 tackles, including three tackles for loss.
THE MISMATCH: Heyward vs. anybody the Nittany Lions put in front of him. He was in the offensive backfield almost as much as Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark.
THE STRATEGY: With Pryor dealing with aches and pains, including a troublesome ankle, coach Jim Tressel went conservative with the play-calling until opportunity presented itself. Punt returner Ray Small had a hand in that.
THE REPERCUSSION: The Buckeyes can clinch the Big Ten's Rose Bowl bid with a win over Iowa on Saturday. If they also beat Michigan the following week, they grab the outright Big Ten title.
WHAT'S HOT?: The defense, led by Cameron Heyward, Thaddeus Gibson, Ross Homan and Brian Rolle. And the question lingers: Did Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark actually break the plane of the goal line on his jab with the ball? Even he wasn't sure. What matters is that the officials said he did. But the OSU defense was millimeters away from its fourth shutout of the season, because it never let the Nittany Lions within scoring range again.
WHAT'S NOT HOT?: Playing for a punt instead of a field goal. Jim Tressel said he had faith in kicker Devin Barclay, but he eschewed a 46-yard field goal try with a 7-0 lead early in favor of a punt from Jon Thoma. The punt just missed hitting the coffin corner, so PSU got it at the 20, a net of 14 yards (after OSU took an intentional delay-of-game penalty). The Buckeyes still won the net punting battle 35.5-30.8 (Ray Small's big returns saw to that), but critics would like to see more leg from Thoma on some of those midfield boots when he can let it all hang out.
THE STAT: Ohio State rushed for 228 yards, marking the first time a team has rushed for over 200 yards against Penn State this season.
THE STAT II: Penn State gained 2.5 yards per carry against the Silver Bullets on Saturday; they had averaged 5.1 yards per carry for the season coming into the game.
THE STAT III: Ohio State outgained Penn State 353 to 201 in total offense
THE STAT IV: Ohio State has won the last two meetings in State College by a combined score of 61-24.
THE STAT V: Ohio State had zero turnovers. It's a first for the Buckeyes this season, and it came at just the right time.
THE STAT VI: Penn State entered the game averaging 6.5 yards per offensive play, best in the Big Ten. Yesterday, they gained 3.5 yards per play.
THE STAT VII: The lower ranked team won for just the second time in the last 19 Penn State-Ohio State clashes. The other time the lower ranked team won during the last 19 contests was when No. 16 Penn State beat No. 6 Ohio State, 17-10, in 2005.
THE STAT VIII: The 62-yard touchdown pass by Ohio State in the third quarter was the longest play given up by the Nittany Lions this season.
THE STAT IX: 7 of Penn State's first ten drives were 3 and outs.
THE STAT X: Yards per offensive play: Buckeyes' 5.3 vs the Lions' 3.5
THE STAT XI: Ohio State came into the game averaging a nation's best 5.7 three-and-outs per game and recorded eight more today. They have totaled 60 through 10 games.
COACH TRESSEL SAID IT: "There's no such thing as confirmation, because when you have a game next week. You can become unconfirmed fast. So it was a step." - when asked if this win was confirmation for his team, he shook his head.
TERRELLE PRYOR, Soph QB, SAID IT: "I'm still very hurting. It's not my knee, it's my ankle. It was really hard to run. I had to wobble and kind of like stiff with it."
CATCH THAT?: The win over Penn State wasn't 20 minutes old, and Tressel already had his game face on for Iowa. He'd just gone to 6-3 over Joe Paterno, but his focus was on this Saturday, when his team can nail down at least a share of its sixth Big Ten title in his nine seasons.
JIM CORDLE, SR OL, SAID IT: "I've got to thank Kirk Herbstreit and Todd McShay for getting the O-line fired up. We contributed to the win, big time." -Cordle said the offensive line was angered by comments made on ESPN's College Gameday yesterday, questioning the line's ability.
COACH PATERNO SAID IT: "I think the whole ballgame they gave us a good licking. They played better than we did today."
COACH PATERNO SAID IT II: "After I stopped crying and wiped my eyes and threw up a couple of times, that's what I told them." - on whether he told his team afterward that they still had much to play for.
DARYLL CLARK, PENN STATE QB, SAID IT: "We kept believing that something was going to happen eventually. We just kept trying to get the pace going. I can't stress enough on how many good plays we would have, and then we'd have one really bad play that would just mess up the entire rhythm, get us in long situations like third-and-10."
OLLIE OGBU, PENN STATE DT, SAID IT: "We failed ... Our game plan was to go in and stop him (Pryor). We didn't do it on a consistent enough basis, so I would say we failed."
EVAN ROYSTER, PENN STATE JR RB, SAID IT: "I don't know. It's hard to say. I'll have to watch the film and see what happened." - when asked why couldn't you get the run game going?
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES: 7. Penn State came in averaging 35.2 points per game over the last five games and was limited to a season-low seven by the Buckeyes.
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES II: 9: Consecutive series that Ohio State ran on first down before Pryor tossed a 62-yard TD pass to DeVier Posey
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES III: 33/8: Nittany Lion growls piped through stadium loudspeakers before/after halftime
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES IV: 5: Big Ten conference games won by the road team
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES V: 110,033. The crowd of 110,033 was the fourth-largest in Beaver Stadium history.
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES VI: 0. The offensive line did not allow a sack for the third time this season. It previously kept the quarterback safe vs. Illinois and New Mexico State.
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES VII: 0x2. Penn State did not record a sack for the first time this season. Also, Penn State did not force a turnover for the first time this season.
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES VIII: 125. Ohio State held quarterback Daryll Clark to a season-low 125 yards passing.
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES IX: 4. Successful third-down conversions by Penn State; 4 of 16
THE VIEW: How the team sees it: We clicked when we could have cracked. So there.
How the pollsters will see it: Ohio State jumps ... by process of elimination.
How Buckeye Nation will see it: We knew they had it in them. Nice to see it finally come out.
TRANSLATING TRESS: What he said: "We thought all of that white was cheering for us since we were wearing white. It was nice."
What he meant: "Turns out they were just waving surrender flags."
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: Start yet another lineup for the offensive line. With right tackle J.B. Shugarts limping off with an apparent left knee injury, the chairs kept shuffling on the main deck. Jim Cordle started at left tackle but played some right tackle, etc. But check the stats: The Buckeyes had 228 yards rushing against the No. 1 rushing defense in the Big Ten, and Pryor wasn't sacked.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Why isn't Jermale Hines starting at safety instead of Anderson Russell? We've read that it is due to Hines' nagging arm injury. We're unconvinced. Russell once again got beat, this time on a big 3rd and 14 play late in the 2nd quarter, although the Lions did not score. We like Russell, but Hines is the better option. Hines blanketed the field against PSU, stopping the run and was excellent covering the pass. Jermale possesses great range and speed.
ONE-LINER: Penn State is considering "throwback" uniforms to honor JoePa's first season but can't decide among a fig leaf, animal skin or Roman toga.
AS HEARD ON TV: Was the sound off, or did Matt Millen and Sean McDonough just not say anything of interest? At least they didn't distract from the game. And kudos for a nice overhead shot showing a corner of scarlet among the PSU blue in Beaver Stadium. But what was ABC/ESPN thinking by cutting away before the end in some areas? Afraid to show Paterno running to congratulate Ohio State's coach? "Good game, Earle."
AS HEARD FROM OSU FANS: As heard from OSU fans: "We are ... Ohio State." (mimicking Penn State chant)
PREGAME BUZZ: Lost in the controversy over Ohio State's 1954-style "tribute" uniforms, to be worn against Michigan, was that Penn State might undress the Buckeyes if they were far from perfect. Well, Pennsylvania native Terrelle Pryor was as close to perfect as he has ever been, and Ohio State's offensive and defensive lines dominated for a change, resulting in the team's best showing of the season.
JUST WONDERING: Was this a turning point for Pryor or just the next step? Either way, the on-again, off-again quarterback showed how good he can be.
Tweethearts: Looks like the PSU fans are going home for another fun Saturday night of cow tipping.
(Sources: ESPN/Cleveland Plain Dealer/Columbus Dispatch/Associated Press/The Webmaster)
Source: Columbus Dispatch
200 yards rushing again: The Buckeyes ran for more than 200 yards (228) for the third straight game and sixth time this season. They did it against the Big Ten's No. 1 defense against the run (84.1-yard average) and despite right tackle J.B. Shugarts limping from the game because of an apparent knee injury in the third quarter. Jim Cordle played some at left tackle and right tackle, Andrew Miller played a lot at left tackle, and freshman Marcus Hall played a lot at right tackle. "At the beginning of the game, we were rotating Andy in there and Marcus, too," guard Justin Boren said. "So when (the Shugarts injury) happened, they were ready to go." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg writes:
What we learned in the Big Ten: Week 10: 1. Once again, Ohio State is the team to beat: Completely written off after a loss to Purdue, Ohio State is in position to win its fifth consecutive Big Ten title and reach the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1997. The Buckeyes crushed Penn State in Happy Valley as the defense flexed its muscles and sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor stepped up on a very big stage. Ohio State enters this week's clash against a reeling Iowa team riding a wave of confidence, having dominated the Hawkeyes in Columbus ever since 1991. It has been a strange road for the Big Ten preseason favorites, but Ohio State is hitting its stride at the perfect time. (Source: ESPN)
Big Ten helmet stickers: Week 10: Ohio State's defense: I'll repeat what I said before Saturday's game: Ohio State's defense is the single most dominant unit in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes own three shutouts this season, but arguably their best performance came Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Ohio State held Penn State to seven points and 201 total yards and completely flustered quarterback Daryll Clark (12-for-28 passing, INT). (Source: ESPN)
Tressel has always stressed the importance of special teams and against Penn State Ray Small burned the Nittany Lions with two punt returns, of 41 and 45 yards that led to two Ohio State touchdowns, and both were selected as plays of the game.
In the first quarter Small fielded a 37 yard Jeremy Boone punt at the 50 yardline and returned it 41 yards to the Penn State 9. Two plays later Terrelle Pryor scored from 7 yards out and the Buckeyes got on the board first to lead 7-0 with 11:47 remaining in quarter one.
On the last play of the 3rd quarter, with the Bucks leading 17-7, Jeremy Boone boomed a 56 yard punt to the Ohio State 8. Ray Small returned it 45 yards to the Nittany Lions 47, where he was tackled by Boone...or he would have scored, to make it only a net 11 yard punt for Penn State. To begin the 4th quarter, the Buckeyes started their final TD drive going 47 yards in 10 plays in 5:29 to extend their lead to 24-7. Ray Small also contributed on the drive as he carried once for 13 yards, taking the ball to the Penn State 23.
Small gets Buckeyes going His 41-yard punt return sets up OSU's first scoring drive: The football came sailing toward Ray Small, and, with it, the chance to make the game's first big play. The Ohio State senior caught the punt at midfield and raced 41 yards to the Penn State 9-yard line. Two plays later, OSU scored a touchdown for a 7-0 lead in an eventual 24-7 victory. "There was no wind and the punt was kind of short (37 yards)," Small said. "I came up on it, and then I looked up and I saw Anderson Russell and (Brian) Rolle gave me a couple blocks, and I just hit it straight up the middle." It proved huge for the Buckeyes' psyche. They never trailed.
"That made momentum shoot sky high," Small said. "We get a good punt return, got in (the end zone) on offense and scored, and we know our defense is real good." Small later got Ohio State out of a potential hole, fielding a punt at the OSU 8 and racing 45 yards to the Penn State 47. The Buckeyes converted that into their final TD. Small finished with seven punt returns for an 18.6-yard average. He entered averaging 5.4 yards per return. (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
OSU punt returns were Small feats: Ray Small hasn't had the best career at Ohio State. On and off-the-field problems have plagued the senior his entire career. But Saturday at Beaver Stadium against then-No. 11 Penn State, all of those problems were forgotten. Had it not been for Small, the then-No. 15 Buckeyes might not have left Happy Valley with a 24-7 victory over the Nittany Lions..."That was big," Small said. "Coach (Jim) Tressel loves special teams. So anything that I can do on special teams to help the team is always good."..."I didn't even see the punter," Small said. "I just saw my teammates and the end zone and my eyes got big. And then the punter came out of nowhere. But it was still great for the team. "I'm already catching grief (for being tackled by the punter). But, it was a good one, but getting caught by the punter is something I do not like."...He returned seven punts for 130 yards, an average of 18.6 yards. He also had one reception for seven yards. "I just let the game come to me," Small said. "I don't really live for a game because I feel I'm a role player and just play my role and whenever it comes, I go with it." (Source: Tribune chronicle)
Heyward goes on the attack November 8, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Something got into Cameron Heyward yesterday. Maybe it was the bright lights of a big-time game that got the Ohio State defensive tackle going. Or maybe it was the poke that quarterback Daryll Clark took at him early in the second quarter after he scored Penn State's only touchdown.
"I'm not sure what it was, but I like it," linebacker Brian Rolle said after Heyward was in on 11 tackles, including two sacks, in the Buckeyes' 24-7 win. "I know that guy has it in him. Sometimes you have to motivate him a little like saying something funny to him." Or jab him in the face. That's what Clark did, seconds after he reached over the goal line on fourth down for the tying touchdown at 12:28 of the second quarter. Heyward tried to retaliate but was restrained by teammates. "I got poked, but I had to keep my temper -- I got a little upset," Heyward said. "They're a great team, they wanted to score, and they did."
Whether the Buckeyes found motivation from Clark's action or the fact that OSU nearly held Penn State on downs, it was enough. The Nittany Lions never came close to scoring again. "We wanted to come out physical, and we didn't get the stop, but holding them to fourth down, that was big momentum," Heyward said. "If you can keep a team like that to a fourth down (at the goal line), then you are going to have some success." That's especially true if a 6-foot-6, 287-pounder such as Heyward is on a rampage. The junior was in the Penn State backfield almost as much as Clark was. "There was something about Cam the whole night," said linebacker Ross Homan, who had 10 tackles and an interception. "He pinned his ears back and was attacking, constantly attacking."..."
9. Tresselball works when OSU wins the special teams and turnover battles. There aren’t many positive things to be said about Tresselball, but one fact remains: when executed to Tressel’s demands, it works...
8. Having depth at tailback is critical to this team’s success...Last year the spare was Mo Wells, this year it’s Jordan Hall. Big difference. Herron looked a lot more like his old self this week, hitting some holes hard, but then he tweaked the ankle late in the game and I doubt he will be completely healthy again until the bowl game...
7. Offensive line showed it could play... Zero sacks allowed against the nation’s second-best sacking defense and 228 yards rushing against a Nittany Lion team that had been allowing a Big Ten-best 84 yards per game on the ground this season. It’s not time to praise a return to greatness for the OSU offensive line, but give credit where credit is due.
6. Ray Small can make an impact that goes beyond special teams. They looked like special teams plays in the stat sheet, but Small’s two big punt returns (41, 45) were tremendous energizers for the offense Saturday. Neither return got in the end zone, but his first one set up the opening touchdown of the game and the second one set up the final touchdown of the game.
5. Terrelle Pryor was playing hurt. Want proof? Look no further than Ohio State’s version of the Wildcat..."Well we kind of work on the Wildcat all year because we run our quarterbacks. It’s the same plays, just running with quarterbacks. Had we done it with a back before this week? No. We just weren’t sure how much TP was going to be able to run. He probably ran about as much as we thought he would." If that doesn’t let you know that he was playing hurt, then this quote from Pryor after the game ought to do it. "It's not my knee, it's my ankle. It was really hard to run. I had to wobble and kind of like stiff with it. I still ran pretty fast. You probably didn't notice it but it was hurting. It was a lot of pain but sometimes you've got to play with pain."
4. This was Terrelle’s best game as a quarterback. His numbers won’t pop off the box score the way they did in his 343-yard performance against Minnesota, but this was Terrelle Pryor’s best game as a quarterback...Pryor took what the defense gave him all night long and never tried to win the game with one throw, and he did it against a good defense...
3. Cam Heyward was a man among boys. 11 tackles and 2 sacks tell only part of the story for Heyward Saturday. The junior defensive lineman flat-out dominated the line of scrimmage and abused just about every one of the Penn State offensive linemen...
2. The Ohio State defensive front makes this team a viable BCS contender. Make no mistake about it, this is not a great Buckeye team. I know, shocking right? How could I say that after the way they dismantled No. 11 Penn State in their own stadium? Easy. The offense is young. The quarterback is young. The offensive line has been heavily damaged and inconsistent. The kicker is out for the year. Need I go on? The one thing that makes this team a contender is the defense, and the one thing that makes the defense BCS-quality is the defensive line...
1.Once again, the Buckeyes are the team to beat for the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl. After their loss at Purdue earlier this year, many were writing off the Buckeyes as legitimate contenders for the Big Ten in 2009. Not with the way Iowa and Penn State were playing...All of a sudden, Ohio State has a clear path to the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl. Beat Iowa at home next week – without Ricky Stanzi – and they are on their way to Pasadena. Beat Michigan the following week and they lock up an outright Big Ten title..."
Five Things: Penn State November 9, 2009 Source: Eleven Warriors - "Rushing Attack Wears Down PSU Front Seven: ...I have to wonder (1) where has this been all year or (2) is this the product of the Lions truly being paper tigers? I mean, it’s great to hear Cordle act like Herbie and Co. fired them up but in a way that’s like saying the o-line had it in them all season but needed to get criticized just enough before they would decide to play with the necessary fire to open holes, protect the QB and silence some critics...
Pryor Does It All By Not Trying To Do Too Much: One of the first steps to being great is playing within yourself. Saturday night was the first time, in a big game at least, in which we’ve seen Pryor let the game come to him instead of forcing things that weren’t there with drastic consequences...Though he was clearly banged limiting him to 5 carries, Pryor came up extra large on 3 of them in particular. His first tote of the day was a nifty 7 yard scramble for OSU’s first TD, the second a 24 yard run on 3rd and 5 keeping a FG drive alive giving OSU a 10-7 lead and his 4th carry was a killer 12 yard run on 3rd and 11 setting up a six yard Pryor to Saine TD that put the game on ice. Big runs. Big nuts.
Defense Does It Again: ...If not for their domination, Tressel is forced to call a riskier game offensively thus increasing the chances for shenanigans to occur. Armed with the knowledge his defensive line was overpowering the Lion front, Tressel was able to pick his spots knowing full well 14 points would be more than enough to leave HV with an inside track to the conference crown...
Small Is Large: Ray Small again showed why Tressel has stuck with him after years of nonsense off the field...The return enabled Pryor and the offense to quickly remove the taste of a first possession 3 and out from their mouths quieting the drunk white out...
What’s It All Mean?: I was hoping this game would answer lots of questions no matter the outcome but isn’t there’s still plenty to ponder? I’m perplexed when it comes to just how good this team is or isn’t mainly because I’m having a hard time not thinking Penn State was anything other than a fraud as evidenced by two losses at the hands of the only legit teams they’ve played...If Pryor and his o-line can get it done the next two weeks the Buckeyes will lock up an outright conference title in addition to their first Rose Bowl trip under Tressel. Funny how things come full circle. This team has walked the tight rope all year long but they’re just two games away from doing what most of us thought they’d do in a season that most logically viewed as a steppingstone for a title run in 2010. Looking back, it’s hard to believe they are right on course but maybe that’s because they took such a bumpy road to get here..."
Game won in trenches, but could be turning point for Buckeyes' Pryor November 7, 2009 Source: Sporting News - "...A year out, the world might point back to today as the turning point in Pryor's career. And sure, he played better and with more confidence, and he finished with two passing touchdowns, against no interceptions, as well as a rushing score, as evidence...." (Webmaster Note: Dave Curtis was the only member of the six person Sporting News panel to pick the Buckeyes to win. He predicted a 23-17 score.)
Pryor's play puts Buckeyes in control November 8, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "OSU back in tie atop conference as defense handles Nittany Lions...''November is for contenders, we always say that,'' Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. ''It's hard to get too ecstatic right now because you know the Hawkeyes are coming to town.'' They'll head home to Columbus with a confident Pryor, the native of Jeannette who came up with several clutch plays against the team he turned down as a highly touted high school prospect. On Saturday, Pryor showed Happy Valley why he was such a prize. He finished 8-for-17 passing for 125 yards and rushed for 50 yards and a 7-yard touchdown on five carries..."
A shirt on sale Saturday at a Penn State store.
No more failure shirts for Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor November 8, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor said he didn't cry after last season's loss to Penn State. "I didn't cry or anything, but I wanted to cry, because when you lose it drops on the quarterback. Last year was a step and a growing process for me. I wish I didn't go through it, but that's what people go through. I tried to handle it as well as I could." His anguish on the bench a year ago led to this T-shirt at Penn State on Saturday. After Saturday's Ohio State win, the shirts may be a bit more difficult to come up with for Penn State fans next year. "It's huge," Pryor said of Saturday's 24-7 win over Penn State. "They were making a big deal about it, and people were doubting us, the Buckeyes can't do this and that. Lots of stuff motivates us. I know we slipped up back at Purdue and I'm going to keep bringing it up. That's a learning process. That's just what happened."
Doug Lesmerises' report card for OSU-Penn State November 7, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "A -- Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward: The junior was the best player on the field. He had two sacks, three tackles for loss and a team-high 11 tackles, which is a huge number for a defensive lineman. "He does it week in and week out," said OSU defensive end Thaddeus Gibson. "Not just in games but in practice. He played a heck of a game." Heyward has proven that one player is not enough to block him, and OSU fans need to appreciate him now. The kind of game he had Saturday only makes him more attractive to the NFL, and he's a likely first-round pick that might have a hard time coming back next season. But his return would be a big lift for Ohio State's national title hopes in 2010.
A -- Ohio State coach Jim Tressel: When the Buckeyes lose big games, it's on the coach. When they win big ones, it should be on him, too. This was Ohio State's first win in seven games against a team ranked in the top 15. Tressel had the game plan, helped keep Terrelle Pryor's emotions in check and put his team on a new path..."He's a perfect gentleman," Tressel said. "His comment was, 'Hey Jimmy, your kids played really well.' And that's the way he is. He's great for the game. He's a legend. Sometimes I pinch myself to think that I've had a chance to coach against him."
A- -- The Terrelle Pryor game plan: All week, the Buckeyes downplayed the severity of Pryor's injury, and he took some heat for taking his pads off against New Mexico State last week after he was injured. Turns out that his left ankle injury was pretty severe, and it limited his running and cutting ability and forced him onto a stationary bike on the sideline when the offense was off the field. So the Buckeyes had Pryor run just five times, when he was averaging twice that many carries, and asked him to throw just 17 passes. They relied on the run game and defense because they wanted to, but also because they had to. "There were some things we didn't feature for sure, because he wasn't 100 percent," Tressel said, "but he wasn't going to miss a Big Ten game here at Beaver Stadium. He has so much respect for the people here, so much respect for competition, that he wasn't going to miss it, he was going to stay loose."
C -- Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark: Pryor got the first big win of his career, but Clark, a senior, missed out on what might have been the last chance for a defining victory. He was out of the game with a concussion when Penn State won in Columbus last year. "I think we just failed to develop a rhythm early on in the game," Clark said. "They did a good job of getting to the backfield with just rushing four guys a couple of times. When that happens, it's kind of tough to execute an offense." "He's had better games," Paterno said of Clark, "but there was an awful lot of pressure on him early and throughout the whole ballgame, actually."
The Bottom Line November 7, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Offense (3 leaves) To say the game plan was limited in its scope is like saying JoePa wears some thick specs. No duh. But the Buckeyes executed just well enough to make it work -- if not consistently, then at least when it counted. Someone start a flip card: Terrelle Pryor has played "1" consecutive mistake-free games.
Defense (4 leaves) Cameron Heyward and his teammates took to Daryll Clark like they were hungry bears, and he was made of honey. Just go ahead and gorge your ursine selves, gentlemen. OSU collected only one turnover but forced the action throughout, limiting Penn State to 201 yards, less than half its average.
Special teams (4 leaves) Game ball to Ray Small, whose 130 yards on punt returns set up two Ohio State touchdowns, the key first one and the backbreaker in the fourth quarter. Elsewhere, newbie Devin Barclay acquitted himself well, though PATs are less pressure than FGs. Jon Thoma's punt was OK, could have been aces.
Coaching (3 leaves) First rule of Fight Club is that you never dismiss a win on the road. OK, so the Vest likely had legions of fans openly cursing his existence as he continued to send running backs into the line while trying to protect a 10-7 lead. But the grand plan paid off with the deep pass. Take back what you said.
Opponent (3 leaves) The knock on the Nittany Kitties was that they had lost to the only breathing team they had played (Iowa, also at home). At least Punt State managed 10 points in that meltdown. The Lions surely will have a go in a New Year's Day bowl in Florida, but this group doesn't have JoePa's elfin magic.
Officiating (3 leaves) The worst call was late, when Ross Homan was penalized for rough play for tackling a QB. OSU's Devon Torrence didn't like being flagged for interference, but it was proper; he rode his cowboy. Replay corrected a boo-boo fumble call when the PSU receiver was well down. Get 'em next week, stripes.
No. 15 Buckeyes Defeat No. 11 Nittany Lions November 7, 2009 Source: Penn State Official Site - "Penn State's five-game winning streak came to end as Ohio State came out on top, 24-7, in battle of two of the nation's premier defenses. An exuberant, sun-splashed crowd of 110,003 jammed Beaver Stadium in the venerable facility's 300th game. The Nittany Lions are 241-59 (80.3) in home games since the facility was erected in 1960. Penn State is 32-4 in its last 36 home games, dating to the final two games of the 2004 season...The Buckeyes (8-2, 5-1) held the ball for 34:02 and limited Penn State (8-2, 4-2) to nine first downs and 201 yards of total offense to take a 13-12 series lead. The visiting team has won the last three meetings after the home team had won 12 of the previous 14. The 24 points and 228 rushing yards by the Buckeyes were the most by a Penn State opponent this year, and the most rushing yards allowed by Penn State since giving up 288 rushing yards to Minnesota in 2004..."
Tough day for Clark: After having to watch Penn State's comeback victory over Ohio State from the sideline last year because of a concussion, quarterback Daryll Clark craved a chance to beat his home-state school. It was not to be for the senior. The Youngstown native completed 12 of 28 passes for 125 yards with an interception and ran for 20 yards on 11 carries as he was harassed continually by OSU's defense. "I could have played 10 times better," he said. "We just couldn't get into a rhythm. It was really frustrating." Clark acknowledged that he didn't expect Ohio State to pressure him as much as it did. "I knew there'd be some pressure," he said. "They have a good defensive line. How consistent and frequent it was, I did not expect that. I tried to change the count to try to get those guys to jump offside, and they didn't. "When you have someone in your lap, it's kind of hard to throw the football down the field." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Post Game Quotes November 7, 2009 Source: Penn State Official Site - "TB, Evan Royster...Q: What was tough about Ohio State's front seven on defense?
A: We just couldn't handle them. They were getting pressure on Daryll (Clark). They were getting to me in the backfield. We just really couldn't handle them today...QB, Daryll Clark...Q: What was Ohio State's defense doing that was making it tough for you guys?
A: Those guys were just getting after it and getting a little bit of a push early on. Like I said, it just disrupted the whole offense early. I just felt that when you're not able to have a rhythm, you can't really get anything off of that. We thought we had a very good game plan going in and they did a good job of disrupting it and their defenders and defensive backs did a good job of getting in our guys' faces and disrupting their routes a couple of times. We were just in a little bit of disarray the whole game...DT, Jared Odrick...Q: This was one of the few games that you couldn't generate a lot of pressure on the quarterback, what was their line doing? Or what weren't you guys doing?
A: It was a combination of both, what we weren't doing and what they were doing. They had a strong pass protection scheme set up for us and it worked to a certain extent. We could have ran a few different things, but that is neither here nor there. We just need to move on..."
Opposite sideline November 8, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...Drawing board: Oh, where to start? Most of the offensive problems stemmed from a line that couldn't block Ohio State's front seven. Left guard Johnnie Troutman was particularly overmatched against Cameron Heyward before leaving because of an injury. Penn State's special teams have been a problem all season, and the kicking game didn't help yesterday. Two of Ohio State's touchdowns were set up by long punt returns by Ray Small. He caught a low kick by Jeremy Boone and returned it 41 yards to the Penn State 9 before the Buckeyes' first touchdown. Small then gave Ohio State possession at the Penn State 47 with a 45-yard return at the end of the third quarter. Boone had to make a touchdown-saving tackle.
First downs key for Buckeyes, Lions: Running backs Evan Royster (Penn State) and Brandon Saine (Ohio State) both have done well on first down this year, and they'll need to continue the trend in Happy Valley.
First-down rushing: Evan Royster vs. OSU run defense
Saine, meanwhile, is averaging an impressive 6.26 yards a carry on first downs during Big Ten play (244 yards on 39 attempts). But Penn State ranks sixth nationally in fewest rushing yards allowed on first down (3.09 average).
Four Downs: Doug Lesmerises take on what to watch when the ball is snapped November 7, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "First down - Derek Moye, Penn State receiver: The 6-foot-5, 198-pound sophomore is fifth in the Big Ten with 72 receiving yards per game, and he's gone over 100 yards in two of his last three games. "He's definitely been a deep threat for us," Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark said..."
Second down - Austin Spitler, Ohio State linebacker: OSU coach Jim Tressel believes Penn State is particularly adept at throwing on running downs, and running on passing downs. Spitler, who often comes out in passing downs, could be involved in coverage more than usual, especially on the Penn State ends...Then there's the Penn State run game, where Ohio State linebackers will have to handle Evan Royster, the second-leading rusher in the Big Ten..."
Third down - Sean Lee, Penn State linebacker: The problem for Lee and Navorro Bowman, Penn State's two best linebackers, is that they've barely played together this season. Because of Bowman's groin injury and Lee's knee injury, they've started just two games together...But against the Buckeyes today the Penn State linebackers should be as prepared as they have been all season...
Fourth down - Jim Tressel, Ohio State coach: During the broadcast of Ohio State's win at Penn State in 2007, announcers Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musburger spent much of the time praising the way Jim Tressel mixed up the playcalling...Tressel has a lot more to handle this time. He has an offensive line with more questions, and no running back like Beanie Wells. He has an inexperienced kicker, with Devin Barclay replacing the injured Aaron Pettrey. And he has a quarterback in Terrelle Pryor who is coming home to face the greatest challenge of his career so far. Tressel must help Pryor manage his emotions as much as the Penn State defense..."
Five Key Factors November 6, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "1) CAREFUL QB: ...A turnover by Pyror determined the outcome of last year’s meeting; will it happen again?
2) ATTACK THE EDGES: Athletically, Ohio State is better-equipped than any other Big Ten team to stretch the field offensively, and yet, in games against power teams such as Southern California and Penn State, the Buckeyes seem to get sucked into a between-the-tackles style...
3) LONG-DRIVE CONTEST: Along those lines, Penn State loves to play zone and keep everything in front, making opponents earn yards slowly. This does not play to OSU’s strength this season...
4) SHOCK CLARK: Penn State has faced only one team with a top-20 defense: Iowa, which happened to be Clark’s worst game. He threw three interceptions and completed just 12 of 32 passes. He got worse as the game went on, too...
5) DON’T JUMP: Again going back to 2007, the unsung hero for OSU was Jim Cordle. Playing center and snapping with his left (off) hand because of injury, Cordle handled the silent counts and the incredible crowd noise flawlessly. This Buckeyes team has suffered an epidemic of false starts and has struggled at times with silent counts. Center Mike Brewster has not played in these conditions. Can he repeat Cordle’s success?..."
Ten Pressing Questions: Ohio State at Penn State November 6, 2009 Source: Bucknuts.com - "1. Can the Ohio State offense move the ball and move the chains against Penn State’s vaunted defense?...2. Can Terrelle Pryor help lead Ohio State to a big win?...3. Which OSU running back will emerge and can the Buckeyes establish the run?...4. Will DeVier Posey be able to find some holes in PSU’s zone defense?...5. How will OSU’s patchwork offensive line hold up against Penn State?...6. Will the OSU defensive front seven be able to exert pressure on PSU’s Daryll Clark?...7. Can the Buckeyes contain PSU tailback Evan Royster?...8. Which team will win the all-important turnover battle?...9. With OSU playing without Aaron Pettrey, what impact will the special teams have on this game?...10. Will Ohio State still be in the hunt for the Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl berth?..."
Change at kicker isn't worrisome to Tressel November 7, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...Tressel didn't seem worried about the kicking game, even though Beaver Stadium is one of the toughest venues in college football. "Maybe I should (be worried), I don't know," he said. "But it is what it is, and that's the cards we have right now. "Every (team) in America can show you someone who is not with them right now, and they have to adjust. That's why you have a team. And we're fortunate a guy like Devin Barclay wandered onto our campus and Ben Buchanan chose our campus. So we think we're as well-prepared as we can be." Down in the ranks, though, it seems confidence must be earned. "They're good, but we'll see," senior offensive tackle Jim Cordle said of options B and C. "We missed a couple last week (Barclay was 1 of 3 on field-goal attempts), so that is a concern for us."..."
Vaughn Broadnax: Plenty Of Horses In Stable November 6, 2009 Source: Lost Lettermen - "Former Ohio State RB Vaughn Broadnax examines backup RBs Jordan Hall and Jermil Martin with Brandon Saine and Boom Herron nursing injuries: "It has been established by the coaching staff that Brandon Saine and Dan Herron are 1A and 1B when it come to the starting tailback for Ohio State. Both have their shortcomings, but can be effective. Herron needs to run with more authority and Saine needs to trust his combination of speed and power. However, two young backs are emerging and it begs the question: Which one comes in after Saine and Herron? Both Jordan Hall and Jermil Martin have provided glimpses of greatness in recent games, but which one of these fine young backs emerges as the clear number two back? When I evaluate a tailback I look for several things. The first is vision...The second thing I look for in a tailback is how they position themselves as they are about to get tackled...The third thing I look for is how the tailback helps their blockers create seams..."
At his Thursday press conference, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel discussed his kicking situation going into the Penn State game. He also gave updates on the OSU players that have been injured, talked about the Terrelle Pryor-Vince Young comparisons, the Buckeyes' RB-by-committee approach and much more. (Source: Bucknuts.com)
This week's challenge:All signs point to a defensive struggle, yet it should be an afternoon to let it all hang out on offense since the loser faces likely elimination from the Big Ten title race. Penn State already has lost to Iowa. Ohio State, which lost to Purdue, plays host to Iowa next week. If they can win this week and next, the Buckeyes could be in position to nail down at least a share of a fifth straight league title and be in the driver's seat to the Rose Bowl headed into the regular-season finale at Michigan. OSU now is sixth in the country in scoring defense (11.67-point avg.), Penn State is second (9.33). Fans of offense should shield their eyes Saturday. Call it Pryor notice -- Penn State and Iowa probably won't drop possible interceptions. New Mexico State did, then was buried by the second-quarter avalanche. (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Co-Defensive Coordinator and LB's Coach looks ahead to the game against Penn State Saturday in Happy Valley
Defending Big Ten Champs Meet Saturday: The only two teams to win Big Ten titles over the last four seasons will meet on Saturday when Penn State hosts Ohio State. The Buckeyes have earned at least a share of the conference championship in each of the last four seasons while the Nittany Lions tied for first place in 2005 and 2008. Last season, PSU earned a hard-fought 13-6 road triumph against OSU to hand the Buckeyes their only conference loss of the season and win the tiebreaker and a berth into the 2009 Rose Bowl. The two teams have split their last four meetings, including Penn State wins in 2005 and 2008 that marked Ohio State's only conference losses in those seasons. The teams have played every year since 1993, when Penn State joined the Big Ten. Over that span, Ohio State has an 11-5 edge. The Buckeyes’ series with Penn State is tied 12-12.
Who's the better head coach: Paterno or Tressel? November 5, 2009 Source: Altoona (PA) Mirror - "Use whatever criteria you like. Consider longevity, or don't. Base your choice on success this decade, or pay more attention to what happened 20 years ago. Are graduation rates important? How about money raised for the school? Take anything or everything into account and decide for yourself: Who is the better head coach, Penn State's Joe Paterno or Ohio State's Jim Tressel? It's not an easy choice. And if it is an easy choice for you -- oh, it has to be JoePa, right? -- then you probably haven't looked hard enough at Tressel's accomplishments..."
Big Ten Teleconference-November 3, 2009- Source: Big Ten Network
"We still have a chance of doing something great in the Big Ten. This upcoming game should be an all-around challenge for our special teams, offense and defense. I think we’re up for it." - Buckeyes defensive tackle Doug Worthington on the Penn state Game
"It's a very big game. We've been waiting on this one for awhile. Obviously, it's a really big game with O State and Penn State. Everyone is very excited about it." - Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark
SERIES RECORD • The Buckeyes’ series with Penn State is tied 12-12. Penn State holds a 5-4 lead in all games played in Happy Valley. Ohio State has an 8-6 advantage
in all games played in Columbus and a 10-6 advantagein games since Penn State began Big Ten
football participation in 1993. The home team has won 12 of the 16 meetings since the Nittany Lions began Big Ten play in 1993, but the visiting team has won the last two contests.
• Last Meeting: 2008 Penn State 13-6 in Columbus
• Three of the last four meetings in State College
have been decided by a total of 10 points
• The team ranked higher has won 17 of the last 18 games.
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS:
• Ohio State is 128-104-12 all-time when facing a ranked opponent, and 39-41-7 on the road against ranked teams. Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 34-13 overall and 12-6 on the road against ranked teams.
HISTORY WILL BE MADE:
• Some history will be made Saturday at 3:30 p.m. when the Buckeyes play Penn State's Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley. It will mark the first regular season matchup between coaches who total more than 600 career wins between them, regardless of division.
• Ohio State is plus-8 in turnover margin this year; Penn State is plus-5. The Buckeyes who lost the turnover battle in 2002 (they had three takeaways but lost the ball away four times) were the last team in this series to do so and still win the game. The only time Tressel coached Phio State team lost a Big Ten game when winning the turnover battle was 2001. That was 29-27 to Penn State.
100/200 • Only three times in Ohio State history has a
Buckeye quarterback rushed for 100 yards and
passed for 200 yards or more in the same game,
a feat achieved twice by sophomore Terrelle Pryor
already this season. The three times it has happened
145/241 Troy Smith vs. Michigan (2004)
110/262 Terrelle Pryor vs. Toledo (2009)
104/239 Terrelle Pryor vs. Minnesota (2009)
DOWN THE STRETCH • During the Jim Tressel era, the Buckeyes are 78-
6 (.929) when winning or tied at the half. Ohio
State is 83-6 (.933) when winning or tied going
into the fourth quarter of a game under Tressel.
NUMBER CHANGE • Because Sanzenbacher and Barclay had the same jersey number (12), Barclay has switched to 23 in case Sanzenbacher is pressed into action as the holder. Jon Thoma will remain the holder, Tressel said. The backup holder is receiver Dane Sanzenbacher.
4th CAPTAIN & HONORARY CAPTAIN • Dane Sanzenbacher, WR, be be the fourth captain.
• Ohio State's honorary captain was Doug Plank (safety, 1972-74), who is an assistant coach with the New York Jets.
TV: ABC • Sean McDonough (P-by-P) and Matt Millen (analyst) in the booth and Holly Rowe on the sidelines.
PENN STATE AT A GLANCE • Penn State hosts Ohio State in the 300th game in Beaver Stadium’s 50-season history
• The Nittany Lions have won 32 of their last 35 (91.4 pct.) games in Beaver Stadium, dating to a 37-13 win over Michigan State on Senior Day on Nov. 20, 2004. The only setbacks over the past 35 home games have come to No. 4 Michigan in 2006, No. 1 Ohio State in 2007 and Iowa on Sept. 26
• The Nittany Lions are 8-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten and are currently ranked No. 11 in the latest BCS standings. Their only loss came at the hands of Big Ten leader Iowa who won 21-10 Sept. 26 in Happy Valley. Penn State is coming off a 34-13 win over Northwestern in Evanston Saturday.
• Like Ohio State, Penn State features one of the better defenses in the country. They lead the NCAA in scoring defense, giving up just 9.3 ppg, while ranking fourth in sacks (3.56), fifth in rushing defense (84.11) and total defense (254.78) and sixth in pass efficiency defense (95.65).
• Senior quarterback Daryll Clark leads the Big Ten with a 149.3 passer effi ciency rating. Junior running back Evan Royster is second in the Big Ten in rushing at 95.4 ypg to go along with five touchdowns. Derek Moye is the team’s leading receiver with 39 catches for 648 yards and five scores.
LIONS ONLY TEAM • Penn State is the nation’s only team ranked in the top 12 of the six primary defensive categories.
WHITE HOT IN RED ZONE • PSU began the season converting just 6 of 11 Red Zone opportunities in the first two games, but since then they have been perfect when advancing to the 20-yard-line; they are 26 of 26 inside the 20 the past seven games, with 19 touchdowns and seven field goals.
ONLY ONCE THIS SEASON • Penn State has trailed at halftime in only one of its nine games this season.
ALREADY GRADUATED • Nine Nittany Lion players have already graduated, including Clark and starters Boone, Hayes, Landolt, McCormack and Poti. The same number have fathers who played under Paterno at Penn State.
PREP TEAMMATES MEET • Several former high school teammates will be
on opposite sidelines Saturday: Penn State RB Brandon Beachum and RB Michael Zordich attended Youngstown (OH) Cardinal Mooney HS, as did OSU DT John Simon; Penn State LB Michael Yancich and Ohio State OL Andrew Miller and LB Andrew Sweat attended Washington (Pa.) Trinity HS .
HEAD COACH • Head coach Joe Paterno is college football’s alltime winningest coach with 391 wins. He is in his 44th year as head coach.
Clark, Pryor share spotlight in Happy Valley: ESPN's Adam Rittenberg writes: "...When it comes to hype and popularity, Pryor will always be No. 1 in this league. When it comes to production and leadership, Clark's the guy. "He was a five-star recruit, a big-time guy coming out of high school, able to make plays with both his arm and his legs," Clark told ESPN.com this week. "So it’s a juicy story. He's going to receive a lot of media attention." The attention has reached a fever pitch as Pryor returns to Happy Valley with No. 16 Ohio State to face No. 11 Penn State on Saturday (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET). The Jeannette, Pa., product considered both Ohio State and Penn State during the recruiting process but opted to cross state lines and become a Buckeye.
Pryor's decision didn't sit well with Penn State fans, especially when he said he didn't like the State College area, calling it "too country." Nittany Nation is ready for his return, and Penn State students even made a T-shirt depicting "The Terrelle Cryer Story," which mocks Pryor's anguish following last year's loss to the Lions at Ohio Stadium. "I'd like to get a few [T-shirts] before the game," Pryor told reporters Wednesday. "I'd like to wear one in warm-ups. I guess they're trying to get in my head. ... I can't let anything get to me."...
Pryor is still trying to prove he can be a complete quarterback at the college level. He has rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries (7.8 yards per carry) in his last two games but ranks last among Big Ten starters in completion percentage (54.6). Clark, meanwhile, leads the Big Ten in pass efficiency (149.3) and ranks sixth nationally in touchdown passes (18), having thrown only one interception in his last five games. "Experience is everything," Tressel said. "This week we're facing Daryll Clark, and I think this is his sixth year out of high school. He's had a bunch of snaps. You can see he's in command of the football game. You can't flip a switch to get to that level. "In Daryll's Year 2, he probably wasn't there, and I think Terrelle's a little bit ahead of the curve."..." (Source: ESPN)
Pryor, Clark took different paths to QB jobs November 5, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "Lost in the hoopla over Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor's trip home to Pennsylvania this weekend is the story of how Penn State found its own signal-caller in the Buckeyes' backyard. Cool in the pocket and confident in the locker room, Youngstown, Ohio-native Daryll Clark has turned into a star with the No. 11 Nittany Lions. Pryor's visit Saturday to Beaver Stadium will be his first since signing with No. 15 Ohio State (7-2, 4-1) more than 18 months ago to end a heated recruiting race. Still, things have turned out just fine in Happy Valley. "I've tried to say time and time again ... I think Daryll Clark has been an outstanding performer for us," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said this week before adding his signature phrase reserved for his favorite Nittany Lions. "Daryll Clark is one heck of a football player."...
A 6-foot-6 phenom from a western Pennsylvania region known as the Cradle of Quarterbacks for producing the likes of Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Joe Namath, Pryor was the only player in state high school history to rush for more than 4,000 yards and throw for more than 4,000 in a career. In contrast, Clark was a mid-level recruit upon graduating from Ursuline High in Youngstown in 2004...
Most notably, some critics or columnists will point out that Clark has faltered in some big games. Arguably his two worst performances of his career have come in losses to Iowa in September and last season. He threw two picks in the final three minutes of the Rose Bowl loss last season against Southern California as Penn State tried to rally from a back from a 24-point deficit. Clark was mostly ineffective before being knocked out in the third quarter of last season's win at Ohio State because of a concussion. Devlin ran for the go-ahead touchdown in relief..."
Can Ohio State topple Penn State?: Sure, Terrelle Pryor hails from Pennsylvania, but those expecting the Beaver Stadium crowd to warmly welcome home their native son clearly haven't purchased their "Terrelle Cryer" T-shirts yet. Penn State fans still haven't forgiven Pryor for choosing to jet for Ohio State, and they certainly haven't forgotten how he fumbled away the game when the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions met last season. Turnovers led to Ohio State's Week 7 loss to Purdue, too, but since then Pryor's taken better care of the ball and returned to dual-threat form. The Buckeyes have lost two games, but they still control their own destiny. The stakes aren't much lower for Penn State, which can't afford to fall another game behind Big Ten leading-Iowa in the loss column. Source: SI.com)
What will Terrelle Pryor's homecoming be like?: Pryor isn't expecting a warm welcome when No. 16 Ohio State plays at No. 11 Penn State on Saturday. Pryor, from Jeanette, Pa., was the country's top-rated quarterback in high school in 2007, when he chose the Buckeyes over the Nittany Lions and Michigan. The Nittany Lions got some revenge last season, when Pryor's third-down fumble helped them hold on for a 13-6 victory in Columbus. Pryor has endured an inconsistent sophomore season, and Penn State senior Daryll Clark has looked like the better quarterback the past two seasons. Both teams are 4-1 in Big Ten play, and neither can afford a loss if it's going to stay in the hunt with unbeaten Iowa. Source: ESPN)
"I came here to Ohio State to play in this type of game. I have my teammates with me, all 70 guys. We'll feed off of that, whether it's our fans or their fans. It's going to be exciting, electric." - Terrelle Pryor"
"Ohio State typically plays in hostile environments with they hit the road. Every away game they have on their schedule is usually the biggest home game for their opponent. Through their hatred acts prior to the game, the Penn State fans actually show how important this game is to them and how much they actually fear and respect the Buckeyes. "It definitely gets you going though and when you get the Zombie Nation and the white out, it gets us pumped up too," said Cordle.
Public enemy number one this week from Ohio State will be Pennsylvania native Terrelle Pryor. In the return to his home state, the Penn State fans may add a little extra saliva to their ammunition when they see number two in red emerge from the visiting locker room. "Their fans make it personal. It's just a unique stadium. Their fans are right there on top of you and I'm sure there will be lot of stuff directed at Terrelle," said Cordle. "He might have to carry an umbrella or something. Walking under the stadium there and they are definitely going to come after him. Hopefully that gets him going." (Source: BuckeyeGrove.com)
Analysis: Time for Terrelle to match prior QB: Doug Lesmerises, The Plain Dealer, writes: There's a blueprint out there for beating a Penn State defense that doesn't change much from year to year, and Ohio State doesn't have to go far to find it. For the Buckeyes to win at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor might want to channel his inner Boeckman. Two years ago, the Buckeyes sliced up a Penn State defense ranked seventh in the nation and that led the country in sacks. The 37-17 win came courtesy of a sturdy offensive line and the best game of Buckeyes quarterback Todd Boeckman's career.
"To me, the key to that game two years ago was we had [only] one turnover, we had good balance, we were able to run and pass and we protected very well," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "When you do those general things, you have a chance to move the chains." The Buckeyes used that balance to soften up the Nittany Lions for a few deep shots. But for the most part, Boeckman succeeded with short and midrange passes in front of Penn State's deep safeties. "They may give you some of those underneath throws, and that's what you have to do," Boeckman said this week. "You can't get bored taking those short 5- and 6-yard passes. If you get bored doing that and throw deep on that defense, it's not going to happen. "You've got to wait and when they give you that shot one time in the game, you've got to go deep to keep them honest." Two years ago, Boeckman was 19-of-26 for 253 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the win..." (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Texas coach believes in Pryor: Coaches Mack Brown of Texas and Jim Tressel of Ohio State have stayed in touch since their spring trip to visit troops in the Middle East. They share a common interest: the development of Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Brown likens Pryor's progress to the steps that Vince Young, another running-throwing quarterback, took in becoming a dominant force when he led Texas to the 2005 national title. It was at the midpoint of Young's sophomore season in 2004 that Brown noticed an uptick in his awareness. Brown said he thinks that, as Ohio State prepares for Penn State on Saturday, Pryor has crossed that point, too, no matter what the critics are saying about the sophomore. "About this time in his career, Vince Young turned the corner and didn't lose another game," Brown said. "He was a good player up until that point, but we did not score against Oklahoma, he had a tough game against Missouri, and then he didn't lose a game for his last year and a half. "And I see Terrelle doing the same thing. Jim is doing a great job with him."..." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Whether hero or villain, Terrelle Pryor accepts that he's the star attraction of OSU-Penn State: Doug Lesmerises, The Plain Dealer, writes: "Everyone can't help but make Ohio State vs. Penn State about Terrelle Pryor. Having a bad guy in college football is just too much fun. Ohio State's sophomore quarterback is stoking the fires of the rivalry that matters most in the Big Ten at the moment -- the one between the teams that have accounted for the last four Big Ten titles -- just by breathing. Pryor is from Pennsylvania. Home state school Penn State was in his final four, maybe the final two, of his college choices. He didn't pick the Nittany Lions. He selected Ohio State. In explaining his decision to come to Columbus instead of State College, he described Penn State as "too country" and said, "I don't like the area."
Starting with unofficial recruiting visits in ninth grade, Pryor said he has been in Beaver Stadium at least 10 times in his life, but never as the enemy, and that's what he'll feel on Saturday. "It's more than him just being the opposing quarterback," said Matt Brown, the football editor for Penn State's student newspaper, The Daily Collegian, explaining how fans view Pryor. "It's definitely a little more personal. Obviously, people wanted him here. With some of the comments he made about Penn State when he chose Ohio State, there's kind of a chip on their shoulder."
So Pryor likes a little more of an urban setting. Penn State running back Brandon Beachum, a Youngstown native, said this week that he never considered Ohio State much in recruiting in part because "the city atmosphere never really interested me." That's understandable, too, and unlikely to create controversy..."
Pryor sore, but eager to play: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor said he is banged and bruised, but he left no question about his playing status for a game Saturday at Penn State, his home-state team. "I'm a little sore," Pryor said after practice yesterday. "But like I've told a bunch of people, you're going to have to kill me not to play. I'm going to give it my all. I owe the seniors in there, I owe the team -- I owe them 100 percent of my play on Saturday." The sophomore, who leads the Buckeyes in rushing and passing, did not play in the second half Saturday of a 45-0 win over New Mexico State after helping Ohio State to a 28-0 halftime lead.
He has not named any specific ailment he is dealing with, but a little wear and tear is to be expected after nine games, and he said he is spending extra time in the training room. "I feel a little sick today, too," Pryor said. "It's just as a team we need to make sure we keep getting fluids in our body and take care of our bodies in general, getting in the cold tub. "You just always want to be taking care of your body, even for later on in life after you take all those hits, especially coming up to a big game like this. We're going to have three big games in a row. Penn State is going to be very tough. We've just got to take care of our bodies so we can give it our all." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Pryor: Big Game Hunting: Dave Biddle writes in Bucknuts.com: "Terrelle Pryor doesn’t have to be reminded that he hasn’t led Ohio State to a "big win" at this point in his career. In fact, the sophomore quarterback was very candid when discussing the No. 15 Buckeyes’ game at No. 11 Penn State on Saturday. "To tell you the truth, speaking as an individual, I haven’t led us to a big win yet," Pryor said Wednesday evening. "That’s what a quarterback needs to do, lead, and I haven’t led us to a win in a big game. "We’re just going to go in there and I’m going to (be accountable) and help the other 10 players on the field and try and get a win. I know our defense is hyped up and ready to go. So, it’s up to me to lead the 10 guys out on the field. That’s what we need to do and that’s what we need to focus on. That’s going to be our focus from here on out because that’s what it’s going to come down to."..."
Former coaches say Buckeyes' Pryor feeds off criticism: Cory Giger writes in the Altoona Mirror: "Terrelle Pryor will either fold under the pressure and be a huge bust, or he will battle through the intense criticism and make a lot of college football followers eat their words. His coaches from high school predict it will be the latter. "The thing about Terrelle is, the more you say negatives, the more he's going to prove you wrong," said Ray Reitz, Pryor's former head coach at Jeannette High School. Seemingly the entire country has piled on Ohio State's quarterback recently. That includes yours truly, who wrote in this space two weeks ago that the heavily hyped Pryor is the biggest fraud in college football..."
Return home to be biggest test for Pryor November 2, 2009 Source: Zanesville Times Recorder - "Unassailable and unbeatable as a high school senior, Terrelle Pryor found out in 2008 against Penn State he was no longer bullet-proof...Pryor was making his sixth collegiate start. He deserved to be cut some slack. Problem is, on Saturday he'll make start No. 20 in his return home to Pennsylvania for a rematch with the Nittany Lions, and no one can say for certain he's better now than he was then. He'd better be if the Buckeyes are to stay in contention for a fifth consecutive Big Ten title and squelch Penn State's hopes. He'd better be if he's going to out-play Daryll Clark, the reigning first-team all-league quarterback who has a nasty score to settle after getting passed over for Pryor by the media in preseason Big Ten Player of the Year balloting. Pryor emulates Troy Smith, but the last thing Ohio State needs is a reprise of Smith's 2005 performance in Happy Valley. We saw a flummoxed Smith that day in a 17-10 loss. Bad Troy wouldn't be seen again through 19 consecutive victories until...Let's not go there..."
Redemption Saturday: Pryor Looks to Get Monkey off Back in Happy Valley November 6, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "Even if a picture is worth a thousand words, it may not have been enough to describe the feeling of quarterback Terrelle Pryor as he sat on the bench, head slumped in his hands, after last year’s 13-6 loss to Penn State. It was an image of Pryor the world had never seen, and would not soon forget. A dejected hero. A celestial being faced with his own mortality right before their eyes. He was only a freshman making the sixth start of his college career, but it was as if fans were being blindsided with the realization that he would not win four Heisman Trophies and four national titles during his time at Ohio State..."I’m sure Terrelle, like a lot of other players on this team, is really excited for this game. A little more so for him, but I don’t think he’s going to let it get to him too much," Sanzenbacher said. "He’s been enough big games now to know that he needs to try to control his emotions and I don’t think he’ll let it affect his game." The problem is, Pryor has yet to win one of those big games. He is 15-4 since taking over as the starting quarterback in Columbus last September, but 0-3 against top-10 opponents. "I haven’t led us to a big win yet," he said Wednesday..."
Some quality please? Both Ohio State and Penn State seeking first win of season vs. ranked foe November 4, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Ohio State is 7-2, Penn State 8-1. Both are 4-1 and tied for second in the Big Ten. Penn State is No. 11 in the BCS standings and Ohio State 16th. By winning out, the Nittany Lions would virtually assure themselves of a BCS bowl, while Ohio State would guarantee a Rose Bowl bid with three wins to end the season. But so far? There's not much to brag about. Neither team has a win over a ranked opponent.
"I definitely hear it all the time," Ohio State senior left tackle Jim Cordle said. "People don't know where we are or where they are because the quality opponent we played we lost to." Ohio State lost to USC. Penn State lost to Iowa. The combined record of the teams the Buckeyes have beaten is 30-31. Take away 7-2 Eastern Illinois, a lower-level FCS school, and the combined record of the schools the Nittany Lions have beaten is 27-32. So Saturday afternoon's game at Beaver Stadium might feature two of the top 16 teams in the country, but neither has really proven it yet..."
Updates: The good news for OSU on the injury front is defensive tackle Dexter Larimore and left guard Justin Boren, who enhance the Buckeyes' physical presence on their respective sides of the ball, are expected to play...Larimore has missed the last four games and Boren sat out last weekend's game. LB Austin Spitler said of Boren's return: "He's a physical presence in the middle. He keeps the guys off the linebackers up front. We really like that. He's a great player and we really need him this week. Any time you get a physical presence like Dex in there, it's going to help us out a lot."...Ken Gordon wrote in the Columbus Dispatch: "I think Dexter Larimore will be limited this week. He returns, yes, but based on how hobbled he looked as recently as two weeks ago, there's no way he's full strength. He may get a few series, is my guess." At Thursday's press it was reported Larimore returned to practice this week after missing the last four games, but Tressel and his staff weren't exactly sure how his knee would hold up to the rigors of playing in the trenches. "I asked him that question after practice yesterday. I said how you feeling Dex, and he said, ‘I'm feeling great, I'm not playing very well.' But that's just Dex," Tressel said. "I asked coach (Jim) Heacock this morning, how should I react to that and he said he's playing fine. I would expect for him to help us."
Justin Boren, the junior guard, took part in every drill this week will be good to go this weekend, Tressel said at his Thursday press conference. Boren, who sat out last weekend's game against New Mexico State, started at left guard the first eight games of the season and has generally been regarded as the team’s best offensive linemen for the season. His return is welcomed as the Buckeyes get set to contend with stout Nittany Lion defensive tackles Jared Odrick and Ollie Ogbu. He won’t have Mike Adams next to him, however, as the left tackle will miss at least one more game following minor knee surgery. Andrew Miller appears to close to the form he showed before an illness caused him to lose 18 pounds. "He looked great in practice so I guess he’s feeling pretty good," Herron said of Miller on Tuesday.
Aaron Pettrey is done for the Year..."He won't be ready for the rest of our season, so that was obviously the downside," Tressel said. With Pettrey out, the depth chart listed Devin Barclay and Ben Buchanan as co-starters this week and Tressel said that they could see split duties against the Nittany Lions. "If it unfolds in practice that one looks significantly better than the other, absolutely. It's not like we're saving anyone's redshirt or one's been in the game a lot more than the other."..."If we were kicking the derby today (Thursday, Devin Barclay would handle the field goals and the kickoffs," Tressel said. "As we go into the weekend, unless something happens, Devin will handle those two chores, though I think both have done well this week." "Devin likes kicking on grass, he did it for all those years as a soccer player."
...Buchanan, who was not available against NMSU..."Ben was not in uniform Saturday, he was out last week. He'll be back, I'm told by the trainers that he'll be able to work today," Tressel said. "Ben's been in the game, he did a good job filling in for Jon Thoma (at punter) when Jon was out with the flu, so that could happen."..."If we had a game this moment, Devin would kick off and kick field goals because I haven't seen Ben for a week but we have Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday practice." "So between Devin and Ben, we've got to step up," Tressel said. "I'm not sure any of us expected that, but that's part of football." While some think that the low block by a New Mexico State player on Pettrey that tore a liagament in his knee and forced him to have surgery may have been a cheap shot, Tressel said the player and several of his teammates apologized to Tressel and punter Jon Thoma right after the game, saying there was no intent to hurt Pettrey.
What Injury? Terrelle Pryor healthy: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who sat out the second half of the Buckeyes' win over New Mexico State on Saturday, is fine and ready for practice. Terrelle Pryor has some minor bumps and bruises, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said today, but nothing that will keep him out of practice this week. "I would expect him not to be debilitated," Tressel said. "Adrenaline is an amazing thing, even when you're feeling a little bit sore or whatnot. All of a sudden the blood starts flowing and the lights are turned on and it's time to go. "I'm not sure any of our guys, whether it's the ones with the (bruised) ribs or the elbows or the ankles or the hips or the knees or the feet -- we've got a little bit of everything. He'll be ready to go." "He looked good. He was definitely excited," Ohio State left tackle Jim Cordle said of the OSU quarterback. "He realizes what this is, a little homecoming, and he just had a little extra spirit today."
Boom Herron is back...After starting the first four games of the year, Herron had missed most of the next four games before returning to action against New Mexico State. He ran for 66 yards on six carries against the Aggies (including a 53-yard touchdown run), but Tressel said he was still only about 90 percent for the game. "We really think Boom is back to very nearly 100 percent," Tressel said. "Brandon is solid and Jordan we have the utmost confidence in, so I would just expect that all three are going to play significantly. If someone gets hot, you might not pull them because they might be getting a feel for what's going on."
Anderson Russell has replaced Jermale Hines in the starting lineup at safety and is listed ahead of Hines at the depth chart. That move is largely in response to Hines' health - he injured his elbow earlier this year - and part of an effort to reduce his number of plays...Ken Gordon wrote in the Columbus Dispatch: "I also was impressed with the attitude of Anderson Russell. Most of you know Russell, a fifth-year senior, lost his starting job to junior Jermale Hines after the Navy game. Hines now is nursing an elbow injury, and Russell is back as the starter. I asked him yesterday if it was gratifying for him to be back in the lineup, after all he's been through. He emphatically shook his head no. He wanted no part of any personal vindication story. He spoke of how the DBs are all tight, nobody feels good about someone else's misfortune, etc and so on. Russell showed a lot of class and maturity, I thought."
Tressel said the Buckeyes will continue to be without left tackle Mike Adams (knee)..."Nate Oliver, we're still waiting. He won't work today. Kind of expecting him to be back though. Those other guys will all work today."
(Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer/Columbus Dispatch/BuckeyeSports.com/The Ozone/Associated Press)
What to watch in the Big Ten: Week 9: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor: The Buckeyes don't have much to gain from Saturday's game against New Mexico State, which owns the nation's worst offense and will have a rough time putting up points. But it does provide Pryor another opportunity to make strides before next week's huge trip to No. 12 Penn State. Ohio State needs to decide how it wants to use Pryor the rest of the way. My plan? He runs the ball 17-22 times a game and throws deep when the opportunity presents itself. (Source: ESPN)
Buckeyes always dangerous in November November 4, 2009 Source: ESPN - "Ohio State heads to Penn State on Saturday as the underdog, trying to avoid a loss that would end its run of four consecutive Big Ten titles (won or shared) and four consecutive BCS bowl games. The Buckeyes are the younger team, the more banged-up team, the team with more question marks and the lower-ranked team. Plus, their Big Ten road win streak is over, snapped in shocking fashion Oct. 17 at Purdue. But one factor still favors the Scarlet and Gray: the calendar.
It reads November, and under head coach Jim Tressel, Ohio State owns November. Tressel boasts a 23-4 record (a 85.1 winning percentage) in November in eight previous seasons at Ohio State, never losing twice in the month and dropping only one game since 2004. Last year, Ohio State won its three November games by a combined score of 117-37. During the last four seasons, Ohio State has outscored its opponents 416-174 in November games.
"Coach Tressel puts it as, 'Septembers are for pretenders and Novembers are for contenders,'" junior linebacker Ross Homan said. "In order to be great, you have to be great in November. That's what you strive for, year in and year out." Tressel picked up the catchphrase from former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, whom he worked for in Columbus from 1983 to 1985. He has emphasized it to his team each season, particularly this one, as Ohio State plays a backloaded schedule that finishes with No. 11 Penn State, No. 4 Iowa and archrival Michigan..."
(Webmaster Note: Paterno Teams In November: 112-33-2 since 1966, a winning percentage of 76.8.)
Ohio State, Penn State sides gear up for showdown November 1, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "No sooner had Ohio State and Penn State wrapped up their latest victories than both were looking ahead to their critical tangle at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. "The crowd is going to be against us, especially against me," Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor said of a showdown with Big Ten title implications...
"Are we consistent enough right now to be the contending champions for the Big Ten? Not yet," said Tressel, whose team has won at least a piece of the last four conference titles. "That's why we're going to practice like crazy and get ready for the Nittany Lions." Those Nittany Lions rattled off three touchdowns in less than 4 minutes to turn a squeaker into a rout in a 34-13 victory at Northwestern.
As quarterback Daryll Clark was leaving the field, he encountered 82-year-old Penn State sage Joe Paterno. "He called to me and told me that this was a good win," Clark said. "We've got our big one next week. We all laughed about it."...A loss doesn't eliminate either team from the league race, but it sure would make things difficult.
A year ago, the teams met under somewhat similar circumstances at Ohio Stadium, with both perfect in league play. The Buckeyes led 6-3 in the fourth quarter when Pryor fumbled on a third-down play. The Nittany Lions, with Pat Devlin taking over for an injured Clark, drove 38 yards and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Both quarterbacks , Clark from Youngstown, Ohio, and Pryor from Jeannette, Pa., would like nothing better than to engineer wins that would break hearts back home...Pryor, who chose Ohio State over Penn State and Michigan, is expecting a less-than-warm welcome from the fans in Happy Valley. He knows he won't be a favorite son. "I'll probably get booed as soon as I go out to warm up," he said.
He has no concerns that the Buckeyes will be up to the challenge. "Just the way we carry ourselves, we feel confident. I'd preach that to any team I'd be on," Pryor said. "You have to be confident, because if you go into a game thinking you're going to lose, that's not how you win. So we go in thinking that we can beat everybody. "We know it's going to be a very tough job to do at Penn State, but the way we think, you have to think you're going to win. So we have to be positive-thinking, just like Penn State will be positive-thinking."...
The atmosphere should be something else. "Penn State is definitely a big game," safety Kurt Coleman said. "I love their crowd and the challenge of playing against Daryll Clark. From the beginning it's an electric atmosphere."
A loss would almost certainly knock a team out of the BCS picture. "This is as big as they come," Pryor said. "I've been at Penn State a lot. It's a crazy stadium, but it's going to be fun. I was there the one day and the whole stadium was just shaking. It's crazy like that, but I always want to play in tough stadiums against tough opponents. That's where you measure yourself."..."
Penn State heads into Ohio State matchup on tear November 2, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "...Erupting for three fourth-quarter touchdowns in less than four minutes, the 11th-ranked Nittany Lions pulled away for a 34-13 victory Saturday night that sends them into a showdown with Ohio State this week riding a five-game winning streak...Penn State (8-1, 4-1) gave up just its second first-half TD this season as Northwestern held a 13-10 halftime lead. But the Wildcats lost starting quarterback Mike Kafka to a leg injury in the second quarter, and the Nittany Lions' vaunted defense pitched a shutout in the second half against backup Dan Persa. "The adjustment we made is their quarterback got hurt," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said. "We played better defensively in the second half. I don't think we had quite realized how good they are offensively and it took us some time to speed up the tempo."...With Clark at the controls, the Nittany Lions have some momentum in their favor against the Buckeyes after back-to-back road wins in Ann Arbor and Evanston. "Daryll is the leader of our football team," Paterno said. "He is a guy that makes us go."..."
Intriguing plots abound for Ohio State-Penn State November 3, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "JoePa vs. Jim Tressel. Daryll Clark vs. Terrelle Pryor. The best defense in the Big Ten against the league's second-best unit. It looks like Saturday's game between No. 11 Penn State and No. 15 Ohio State should be another star-powered, high-stakes slugfest. The winner remains alive in the Big Ten race, in position to pounce should undefeated Iowa falter in the last three weeks of the season. The loser probably says goodbye to a shot at a BCS bowl — not that Paterno is trying to heap more pressure on his No. 11 Nittany Lions..."
Last Time Out... November 3, 2009 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "Ohio State and Penn State face off this week in yet another crucial Big Ten battle. The Nittany Lions turned the first turnover of the 2008 meeting into the contest's lone touchdown. Take a look back at Penn State's 13-6 win at Ohio Stadium in this edition of "Last Time Out..."
The Other Border War November 3, 2009 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "On Saturday, two of college football's two powerhouse programs -- Ohio State and Penn State -- will renew their colorful rivalry. This will be the 25th rendition of this series with each team holding 12 wins. We check out the history of this great series..."
A Look Back: Ohio State Series November 7, 2009 Source: Centre Daily Times (PA) - "Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of their borders, or it could be that they had some history before Penn State joined the Big Ten. Whatever the reason, Ohio State has emerged as Penn State’s true rival in the Big Ten..."
Penn State fans show visitors no mercy November 2, 2009 Source: Toledo Blade - "The Ohio State Buckeyes...later this week will parade into the colorful and notoriously politically incorrect orchestrated chaos of Penn State's Beaver Stadium. The place is infamous for its environmental impact on visiting teams. A trip to play in Beaver Stadium is an adventure into a swirling 100,000-person mosh pit. It is college football's Woodstock, minus most of the nudity, the drugs, and Joe Cocker. "The atmosphere is unreal, and the fans are crazy," Ohio State senior linebacker Austin Spitler said, grinning and showing no signs of trepidation over Saturday's game that will have a lot to do with the Buckeyes' postseason plans, and their role in potentially claiming a fifth straight Big Ten championship..."
Game Data: Ohio State vs. Penn State November 4, 2009 Source: Bucknuts - "We look at the pertinent information, depth charts and share a prediction on Saturday's pivotal Big Ten football match-up between No. 15 Ohio State and No. 11 Penn State Saturday at PSU (3:30 p.m., ABC). Click this free link for all the details...When Penn State Has The Ball: The Penn State offense sputtered early in the season after losing its top three receivers and three key offensive linemen from a year ago. The Nittany Lions stumbled terribly in their home loss to Iowa, committing four costly turnovers. QB Daryll Clark threw three interceptions in that loss. But Penn State has not turned it over in any of their last three games. During its current five-game winning streak, PSU has forced 11 turnovers and lost only two. Clark has several new targets, including wideouts Derek Moye and Graham Zug and tight end Andrew Quarless. They succeed by taking what teams offer them without forcing the issue. RB Evan Royster has quietly put together a nice season after a slow start. He is up to second in the Big Ten in rushing per game (95.4 yards per game)..."
2009 Penn State Nittany Lions Game Preview November 5, 2009 Source: Buckeye Planet - Analysis and more, including: "...Offensive Line: Of all the Lion subunits, this one has clearly struggled the most. The run blocking has steadily improved over the course of the season, but the pass blocking has not been especially good, forcing Clark to scramble and release the ball faster than he wants to many times. In their defense, they replaced several key pieces this season and arguably they have their two best players playing out of position. As a result, the line has struggled for significant stretches of the season. Their best player is probably Wisniewski, who is really a natural guard but has shifted to the middle following the turnover from last season's line...Penn State Offensive Preview...Defensive Preview..Special Teams Preview..."
Penn State Preview November 4, 2009 Source: Buckeye Football Analysis - "Penn State's Offense vs. OSU's Defense: My first time undertaking a preview. I'm going to structure this essentially as a scouting report. I will focus first on Penn State's schematic approach, followed by a breakdown of their strength and weaknesses, and finally address how Penn State may approach playing Ohio State's defense and how Ohio State will counter..." - Also: Penn State's Defense vs. Ohio State's Offense
Ohio State vs. Penn State Preview November 6, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "Tony Gerdeman's preview of the Penn State game ...The Nittany Lions have allowed the fewest sacks in the conference, giving up just ten sacks so far through their first nine games. Against Iowa and Michigan, however, they gave up two sacks in each of those games. It’s no coincidence that those two teams possess some of the best pass-rushing defensive ends in the conference. Against the Buckeyes on Saturday, offensive tackles Dennis Landolt and Ako Poti will face constant pressure from defensive ends Thaddeus Gibson, Cameron Heyward and Nathan Williams. Poti has struggled at various times this year, and he may be a frequently-targeted area of attack by this Ohio State defense..."
Preview: #16 Ohio State vs #11 Penn State November 6, 2009 Source: Eleven Warriors - "...With the team mostly cured of injuries, it may be on Terrelle Pryor to come up big in his home state and get the job done. If there was ever a game for TP to make the leap we’ve all been waiting for, it is this one, but he cannot do it alone...With Boom Herron healthy to team-up with Saine, Hall and Martin, the running game needs to get back on track. Clock control was huge in last year’s matchup and if the Buckeyes want to open up the pass, as well as keep the clock in their favor, they will have to run successfully. This won’t be an easy task against a stout Penn State front, meaning the offensive line will need to step up big time..."
Closer Look: No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions November 5, 2009 Source: Buckeye Sports - "...After early-season struggles, the Nittany Lions have rounded into form on offense, the defense is one of the best in the Big Ten. Find out more of what to expect in State College in this week's game preview...Penn State had punts blocked against Iowa and Michigan, with the Hawkeyes returning the block for a critical score in their win in Happy Valley. In addition, both of Penn State’s return units have been outgained this season...Those wishing to argue that Penn State has the best defense in the Big Ten can point to a bevy of statistics in which the Nittany Lions are No. 1 in the league...The only drawback for the Nittany Lions is that only Michigan, of the team’s nine opponents, is in the top half of Division I-A in scoring offense. The Wolverines and Northwestern are the only ones who are above the midway point in yardage gained..."
Game of the Week: Ohio State (7-2) at Penn State (8-1) November 4, 2009 Source: College Football News - "...Why Ohio State might win: Penn State’s offense isn’t as good as the stats might indicate. Sure it’s No. 1 in the league in yards and the passing game is among the most efficient in the country, but Darryl Clark and the attack haven’t seen a defense with a pulse. The offensive line has been getting better and better over the last few weeks, but it has been helped by not dealing with anyone with a dangerous pass rush. Ohio State’s defensive front isn’t going to sack Clark on a regular basis, but it gets a good push into the backfield and it has been improving each and every week. Clark and the receiving corps will see a real live secondary, and the timing of the passing game might be a bit off with the pressure coming. If OSU could hold Wisconsin’s ground game to 118 yards, it should be able to stop Evan Royster and the Nittany Lion rushing attack...Why Penn State might win: … it this is the close, tight game it’s supposed to be, then Ohio State not having PK Aaron Pettrey is a really big deal...CFN Prediction: Penn State 17 … Ohio State 10 ... "
Ohio St.-Penn St. Preview November 4, 2009 Source: ESPNU - "...Pryor will continue to struggle in the hostile environment of Beaver Stadium...While Ohio State's defense (11.7 points and 260 yards per game) can go toe-to-toe with the Nittany Lions, the offense has struggled at times, with much of the blame pinned on an inconsistent Pryor. Pryor started out slow "but the last two games he's been very, very overpowering, really. He's running well, he's throwing the ball well deep," Paterno said..."
Preview: No. 16 Ohio State at No. 11 Penn State November 5, 2009 Source: Zombie Nation - "...Penn State, on paper -- With nine games in the books, this year could be described as a tale of two seasons for Penn State: pre-Iowa and post-Iowa...Ohio State, on paper -- The Buckeyes have been anything but consistent for any stretch this season, avoiding an upset at the hands of Navy--a team that just lost to Temple--losing a close contest in Ohio Stadium to USC--a team that lost to Washington and was just blown away by Oregon--followed by two shutout wins and two more blowout wins..."
Ohio State Preview By The Numbers November 4, 2009 Source: Black Shoe Diaries - "...Best Matchup
Good God is it going to be fun watching the Penn State offense and Ohio State defense go toe to toe. Both units are pretty evenly matched. I think we'll see both teams win their share of battles. Both teams commit very few penalties. So it should be a pretty clean game, unless the Big Ten officials decide to finally start calling holding for a change. Or if they flag Sean Lee with yet another unnecessary roughness penalty, cuz, ya know, he's the most dirty player in the league for hitting tight ends in the chest with his shoulder pad...Advantages for Ohio State: As usual, Penn State gives up a lot in the kicking game. Expect Penn State to be starting with poor field position most of the night, and don't be surprised if Ohio State gets a good return or two. But keep in mind that Ohio State's kicker is out for the year. So maybe there's hope there..."
The Penn State-Ohio State series is tied at 12-12. Last year, the Nittany Lions scored 10 points in the final 6:25 to win, 13-6, in Columbus. Penn State's clash with Ohio State--the 300th game to be played in Beaver Stadium--will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. ET and will be nationally televised by ABC/ESPN2.
5 Keys To V: Ohio State November 5, 2009 Source: Nittany Network - "1. Move Daryll Clark around. If the Nittany Lions offensive line can keep Cameron Heyward, Thaddeus Gibson and the rest of the Buckeye terrors up front away from their quarterback, great. But it’s more likely that Clark’s pockets will be small and not there for very long...2. Keep Pryor in the pocket...3. Get horizontal to get vertical. Penn State’s not going to be able to run the ball on the Buckeyes, who are allowing 2.7 yards per carry, by going outside. Quick-hitting plays between the hash marks are the ticket...4. No special teams mistakes...5. Do what you do best..."
Odrick at center of Penn State-Ohio State November 5, 2009 Source: The Philadelphia Daily News - "THEY ARE ALL big and powerful. You don't cut it as a lineman in a major college program unless you meet certain requirements in terms of size and strength. But XXXL physical dimensions are about the only tie that binds offensive linemen to their rowdier defensive counterparts. A mental divide separates those who play on one side of the ball or the other, a divide created by a player's natural proclivities or a coach's assessment of his nature. Almost everyone agrees that Saturday afternoon's nationally televised Big Ten showdown between No. 11 Penn State and No. 15 Ohio State in Beaver Stadium will be another low-scoring war of attrition, settled in the trenches by straining giants. The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes are ranked first and second in the conference in virtually every team defensive category, which suggests another round of smash-mouth football. First group to hammer a crack in the other side's Wall of Jericho triumphs.
The 6-5, 306-pound Odrick is a bundle of combustible energy. Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and d-line coach Larry Johnson both call him the best three-technique player in the country, but that defines the scope of his duties too narrowly. Odrick is the subject of more game-planning by opposing coaches than any other Penn State defensive player; he has to fight through double-teams on almost every play, as guys in different-colored jerseys come at him from myriad directions. The price Odrick pays for all that attention is that he frequently gives up his body so that a teammate can fill a hole and make the stop. But every now and then, his power and quickness enable him to defeat the combo blocks, resulting in a sack or a tackle for loss. And those occasions are the most satisfying of all . . . fun, even..."
Penn State linebacker corps rebounds from early injuries November 5, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "This was supposed to be the year that Linebacker U. reappeared as potent as ever for Penn State. Sean Lee was back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered during spring practice in 2008. Navorro Bowman was supposed to become a version of LaVar Arrington. He even switched his uniform number to Arrington's No. 11 in tribute. Michael Mauti was expected to build on his promising freshman season and become the newest linebacker star at a school famous for them. It hasn't quite worked out as planned this season..."
PSU offense must convert third-and-short situations vs. Buckeyes November 4, 2009 Source: Altoona (PA) Mirror - "Every first down is important against Ohio State's tenacious defense, so converting third-and-short situations will be paramount for Penn State this week. The Nittany Lions had a tough time in those spots early Saturday, seeing a pair of first-half drives stall in Northwestern territory. Running back Evan Royster was stopped for a yard loss on third-and-2 from the 45 in the first quarter and for no gain on third-and-1 from the 43 early in the second. Quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno said the offense cannot be predictable in those short-yardage spots, and it clearly was as the Wildcats knew what was coming. "Northwestern was really good about reading our plays last week," Royster said. "They were really reading our tight end coming in motion pretty well. They pretty much just loaded up the right side each time we were trying to run a short-yardage play."..."
Big Ten Teleconference-November 3, 2009- Source: Big Ten Network
Big Ten October superlatives: Offensive MVP -- Penn State QB Daryll Clark: Clark rebounded from the Iowa loss with a dominant performance during October. He has clearly established himself as the Big Ten's top quarterback and the frontrunner for Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors. He finished the month with 1,200 pass yards, nine touchdowns and only one interception to go along with five rushing touchdowns. A strong November should gain Clark some national award consideration. (Source: ESPN)
Penn State's Ham says Ohio State's Pryor judged unfairly November 1, 2009 Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette - "...Jack Ham, a former Steelers' Hall of Fame linebacker and current Penn State radio analyst, believes Pryor is being judged unfairly. "People expect the world from him," Ham said. "Remember, he's a sophomore -- 18, 19, 20 years old -- who was thrown into being the starting quarterback at a big-time program. "Gosh, you can't expect him to come out and dominate games when you're playing people like Southern California, Texas or Penn State. It's a tough thing for him to do. "The bottom line is, people are expecting way too much out of him."...Ham, a first-team All-American for the Nittany Lions in 1970 who went on to earn four Super Bowl rings as a member of the Steel Curtain defense, just can't comprehend it. "I feel for him, to tell you the truth, when people start saying stuff like, 'He's not a college quarterback,' or 'He can't throw the ball,' or whatever," he said. "Give him time. Be patient with him. He'll be fine."..."
Daryll Clark's legacy on line against Ohio State November 1, 2009 Source: York Daily Record - "He may truly understand what really is riding on this mega-matchup in Beaver Stadium in five days. Daryll Clark knows it goes beyond Penn State vs. Ohio State. He won't say it. His coaches will outright dispute such a notion. But the legacy of a really good Nittany Lion quarterback will be decided with what happens on one afternoon. That's just what it's come to be, fair or not...
Clark has exceeded most expectations as a two-year starter, throwing the ball better than ever anticipated. Penn State is 19-3 when he takes the opening snaps of the game, for example. He offers a sunny and yet serious personality, a likeable kid and an impressive leader. He's the most efficient passer in the Big Ten, is still a dangerous runner and is playing his best now, at the end of his career, when he should. Plus, he rarely turns the ball over anymore and is among the national leaders in touchdown passes...
He's beaten Michigan in back-to-back seasons and even helped win in Ohio Stadium. Both of those accomplishments broke long, painful Penn State streaks.
And yet so much of his legacy still will be determined by what happens Saturday. Beat hated Ohio State again, finish the game this time, and he will just about be immortalized with the true Penn State greats by many supporters. It's that simple...."
#17 Daryll Clark POSITION: QB
Senior Daryll Clark is 19-3 as Penn State’s starting quarterback and has emerged as one of the nation’s top signal callers. Clark leads the Big Ten in pass efficiency (149.3, 14th in nation), is second in passing yardage (239.8 ypg) and third in total offense (256.2). He is the conference’s only player among the top three in all three categories. A two-time semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award, Clark also leads the Big Ten with 18 touchdown passes, good for a tie for No. 6 in the nation. Clark has thrown 26 touchdown passes in the past 12 games.
#91 Jared Odrick POSITION: DT
He has 10 tackles for a loss and 6 sacks this season. Odrick is a dominating force in the interior of the Penn State defensive line. The 2008 first-team All-Big Ten honoree is the most experienced member of the D-line. His skills and tenacity often force the opposition to put two blockers on him, freeing up a teammate to make a play. A physical, talented, no-nonsense player, his ability to provide an inside push is disruptive to the opposing team's rushing and passing attacks.
#45 Sean Lee POSITION: LB
A Penn State co-captain, along with Clark, Sean Lee made his first start since the Temple game and delivered a game-high 12 tackles. He is a Butkus Award semi-finalist. to move into the top five on the school career tackles list. In his most extensive action since suffering a sprained knee in the second half of the Temple game, he enters the Ohio State game with 288 career stops, needing 12 more to become just the fifth Nittany Lion with 300 hits. The Northwestern game was Lee’s 15th career double figure tackle game. Having missed the 2008 season with a knee injury, the 2007 Valero Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP is returning to form to make a significant impact for the defense and special teams.