Friday, January 1, 2010
Buckeyes pass game comes alive in win
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
PASADENA, Calif. -- The play was weeks in the making.
Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and his close friend, sophomore wide receiver DeVier Posey, hadn't yet hooked up on a deep out into the end zone against single coverage. But they knew their time was coming.
DeVier Posey caught eight passes for 101 yards and the game-sealing touchdown.
"We've been practicing this throw for a while," Pryor said. "We knew if [the defenders] stayed off a little bit, the back-shoulder throw [would be there]. I finally got it. I was watching tapes of Peyton Manning and stuff like that, trying to get the footwork down."
Posey did the catching part, leaping to snare a 17-yard touchdown to put Ohio State up 26-17 with 7:02 left in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi. The connection capped the game's decisive drive, a 13-play, 81-yard march that gave Ohio State a two-score cushion.
"DeVier made a great catch," Pryor said
As good as Pryor performed Friday against No. 7 Oregon, he got plenty of help from an often overlooked group of wide receivers and tight ends. Wideouts Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher combined for 17 receptions, eclipsing their previous combined total by six catches.
Tight end Jake Ballard had arguably the game's biggest reception, leaping to haul in a 24-yard pass on third-and-13 that set up Posey's touchdown.
Pryor Spreads the Ball Around
Terrelle Pryor was focused on his top two wideouts -- DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher -- but got higher returns when targeting his other receivers.
Yards Per Att.
"This game, we felt like we needed to come in really flinging it around," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said.
Sure, but 37 pass attempts? Ohio State had no more than 32 in any game this season and attempted just 17 throws in each of its final three games.
"We knew that as a passing offense, we could do something like this," Sanzenbacher said. "We just weren't able to put it together in a game yet. ... I didn't expect it to that extent, but when you get the passing game started early and you get that chemistry going, you're going to go with it."
Ballard entered the game with just 13 receptions all season, none for more than 19 yards. Ohio State's tight ends often joke about how rarely a pass comes their way, but when it did Friday, Ballard was ready.
"I was improvising a little bit," Ballard said. "My guy didn't come off the edge, so I went to the flat and saw TP moving around back there. I went upfield, he saw me, threw it up, and I went up and got it.