Wow, what a game.
What a freshman.
In a battle of two of the Big-10's best teams, the Buckeyes relied on freshman phenom Terrelle Pryor to lead them to victory in front of 81,000 rabid fans in Madison, WI. On the first drive of the game, Pryor and Ohio State tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells made it look easy against the Badger defense: a six-play, 71-yard drive capped by an impressive Wells 33-yard run to pay dirt.
From there, the Wisconsin defense stiffened up, and the longest drive the rest of the half for the Buckeyes was just 24 yards; which allowed the Badgers to hold a 10-7 lead at halftime.
There were numerous big hits in the game, including a big one late in the first half by three Badgers all at the same time against Dane Sanzenbacher; which in turned caused him to fumble and the Badgers recovered.
Daniel "Boom" Herron also had his clock cleaned and seemed to have a concussion when he left the game. This game was also played without the Wisconsin band in attendance, after being suspended by the school president for several misconduct problems on a recent trip.
The Madison crowd didn't seem to have the same swagger as they normally do and weren't really as loud as usual either; which may be attributed to the band not being there.
In the second half, the slugfest continued. Beanie Wells broke a 54-yard run on their first possession of the second half, nearly breaking away for a touchdown. From there, the Buckeyes would get the ball inside the Badger 10 yard line, but would fizzle after that.
Ohio State tied the game on a 20-yard field goal by Ryan Pretorius. Four possessions later, the Buckeyes would add another field goal to take a 13-10 lead. Wisconsin then answered with a 10-play touchdown drive, ended by a P.J. Hill two-yard touchdown run.
The Badgers ran the ball nine of those 10 plays, gashing the Buckeye defense for a 17-13 lead.
This was a nail-biting, back-and-forth game for fans of both teams to watch. What ensued next was just as unpredictable.
With 6:31 left, the Buckeyes started the drive that would determine the game. Pryor came up with big throws and runs during the whole drive. On 3rd-and-6 from their own 24-yard line, Pryor laced a throw to Brian Hartline for a first down.
Pryor would later connect again with Hartline on a 27-yard pass, in which Hartline would fumble and luckily have the ball recovered by Brian Robiskie. On second down at the Wisconsin 11-yard line, the Wisconsin defense seemed to be confused at the Buckeye's offensive formation; which had the Buckeye coaches yelling for Pryor to snap the ball.
Pryor would snap the ball, roll to the left on an option play with Beanie Wells following. Pryor faked the pitch to Wells, and rolled the 11 yards to the end zone for a 20-17 lead with 1:08 left on the clock.
On the first play of the ensuing Wisconsin drive, Badger quarterback Alan Everidge threw a game-sealing interception to Buckeye's senior Malcom Jenkins. Pryor and Co. came out to kneel on the ball to finish the game, which lends itself as a good learning experience for the young phenom.
I am sure Pryor will have some nice things to say to Mark May after the win, as the two had a small spat this week after May questioned Pryor's ability to win in a hostile environment; which is the second time he had something negative to say about Pryor, stemming from Pryor's extra-long recruiting process.