The Rose Bowl game for the 2009 college football season was a physical, tightly contested game. Trailing 26-17, Oregon kicker Morgan Flint missed a 44-yard field goal allowing Ohio State to seal the game and win.
The real story of the game is the play of sophomore Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor has been in the spotlight since high school as he was one of the most hotly recruited prospects out of Western Pennsylvania in recent memory.
In this Rose Bowl, he showed the nation why Oregon coach Chip Kelly reportedly visited him every week for a time while recruiting him. Pryor played almost flawlessly, throwing for 266 yards and 2 TDs, while also running for 72 yards on 20 carries.
Although he threw one ill-advised interception, his 37 attempts were his highest all season. In Ohio State's loss to Purdue mid-season, Pryor had his second most attempts, 31, with his TD-INT ration flipped, throwing 1 TD and 2 picks.
Pryor, almost strikingly reminiscent of Vince Young this season with the Titans, continuously was able to move the chains with his legs. On the final game-sealing drive, Pryor converted a third-and-2 and 2nd and 7 by running.
Pryor has done this before, but when combined with mostly accurate and very well-timed throws he looked like a future star.
The performance of Pryor tonight will obviously draw Vince Young comparisons. Similar to Young, Pryor is a 6'6" quarterback, has struggled throwing the ball early in his career, and is an extremely effective scrambler.
Young also had his national coming out party in the Rose Bowl against Michigan. In that game Young led Texas to a 41-38 victory, throwing for 180 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT but also running for 192 yards and 4 TDs.
The following year, Young led Texas to the national championship with his iconic touchdown run to beat heavily favored USC. Young and Pryor stats in their first season as starter are also strikingly similar, Young having 1,849 yards passing to Pryor's, 1,848 yards.
Vince Young ran the ball for over 1,000 yards compared to Pryor's 700. Pryor had 23 total TDs to Young's 26. The obvious similarities between the two players are followed by overtly odd statistical similarities.
Despite the turmoil he went through last season, Vince Young played mostly very well for the Titans to close the season and his future still seems bright. A less successful comparison would be former Arkansas QB Matt Jones.
Jones again had strikingly similar numbers with both Young and Pryor. In his final season his final line was 2,073 yards passing, 622 yards rushing and 21 total TDs.
Jones, definitely lacking the arm strength of both Young and Pryor, entered the draft as a receiver, a switch some wanted from Pryor after the Purdue loss.
Jones, who played basketball at Arkansas, is also 6'6". At the combine he ran a 4.37 40 (Pryor allegedly ran a 4.33 this past spring, I highly doubt he's that fast, but he is fast.) and possessed a 39.5" vertical. Quickly rising up draft boards, he became the 21st overall selection of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jones' NFL career has been an utter failure. As expected, Jones' development at a receiver was slow. He yardage total from his first three seasons were, 432, 643, and 317.
Then everything started to click for Jones in his fourth season as he had 65 catches for 761 yards through 12 games.
Unfortunately though, this progress was cut short by a suspension following a substance-related arrest. Jones didn't play again in 2008 and was cut by the Jaguars prior to the 2009 season. He currently isn't on an NFL roster.
The physical stature of Pryor, Young, and Jones makes comparisons inevitable, with the odd statistical similarities only furthering those comparisons. The professional careers of Young and Jones couldn't be much different.
With Pryor anything is possible, although equaling Young's national championship has to be his aspirations with an Ohio State team that returns most of it's starters next year.