3:30 PM ET, October 18, 2008
Spartan Stadium (MI), East Lansing, MI
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Terrelle Pryor became the first player to tell Ohio State coach Jim Tressel to bench him if he didn't produce.
Then, the Buckeyes' quarterback made the request moot against Michigan State.
Forde: Show And ProveOn the eve of playing No. 20 Michigan State, Terrelle Pryor asked to be benched if he didn't move the offense. He got benched alright, after the Buckeyes were up 31 points thanks to Pryor's on-field magic, writes Pat Forde. Column
Pryor turned some of his potential into production, running for a score and throwing for another in the first quarter to help the 12th-ranked Buckeyes build a four-touchdown lead en route to a 45-7 win Saturday over the 20th-ranked Spartans.
"He stopped in my office right before we left Friday and said, 'If I don't move the ball down the field, you should bench me,'" Tressel recalled. "That's just the way he is."
The freshman finished 7-of-11 for 116 yards and a TD and had 72 yards rushing on 12 carries, including an 18-yarder for a score early in the game.
Pryor showed poise and touch when he threw before sitting on the big lead with handoffs.
When he ran, Pryor displayed speed and power by running past defenders and stiff-arming some to the ground.
• Ohio State scored a season-high 45 points and defeated Michigan State for the 12th time in their last 14 meetings. Ohio State has now won nine of its last 10 games on the road against ranked opponents.
• For Michigan State it was their first loss by more than seven points under Mark Dantonio. Dantonio fell to 0-4 in his career against his former boss, Jim Tressel (0-2 with Michigan State, 0-2 with Cincinnati).
• The Buckeyes' defense held Javon Ringer to a season-low 67 yards and kept him out of the end zone for just the second time this year.
• Beanie Wells rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on a season-high 31 carries.
-- ESPN research
"It's just like high school," said Pryor, who became a YouTube sensation as a prep star in Pennsylvania.
The Buckeyes (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) stayed in first place atop the conference as did Penn State, setting up a marquee matchup Saturday night at Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells had season highs with 31 carries, 140 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
"Pryor played an excellent game and Wells was dominant," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "They came together today and had zero turnovers."
Meanwhile, the Spartans had three fumbles and two interceptions after losing the ball just six times in their first seven games.
"Five turnovers? That's a loss. Missed tackles? That's a loss," Dantonio said. "But we're a 6-2 football team. We have to move on."
Wells' second TD put Ohio State ahead 28-0 midway through the second quarter.
A big play on defense early in the fourth ended Michigan State's comeback hopes.
After allowing backup quarterback Kirk Cousins to drive the Spartans down the field for a TD to open the second half, Malcolm Jenkins' sack forced Cousins to fumble and defensive end Thaddeus Gibson scooped up the football and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown.
"We were working to at least try and be respectable," Dantonio said. "You can't snap your fingers and say, 'It's 28-all.' You have to claw your way back. If we could've gotten to 14 and been down 14, the whole complexion of the sideline changes."
The Buckeyes added a field goal and returned another fumble for a TD to finish the rout of Michigan State, which hadn't lost by 38 points to match the combined total from Dantonio's seven previous setbacks.
The Spartans were off to their best start since 2003, but seemed to show they're not ready to be a contender in a conference dominated recently by the Buckeyes.
"I didn't expect to get beat like that," Javon Ringer said.
Michigan State was handed its most lopsided loss at home since Nick Saban's debut in 1995, when they by 40 to Nebraska.
"I thought we did a good job in warmups today," Spartans defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said sarcastically when asked what his unit did well on defense.
Ringer was held to season lows with 67 yards rushing and 16 attempts a day after the school launched a Web site to tout him as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
"Our D-line did a great job of letting us fly around and make plays," linebacker James Laurinaitis said.
Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer didn't start the second half against because of an injured right hand, but returned in the fourth quarter. Hoyer was scheduled for a concussion test Sunday.
Hoyer finished 5-of-13 for 27 yards and an interception. Cousins was 18-of-25 for 161 yards with a TD, interception and fumble.
Michigan State will get a chance to bounce back next week at Michigan Stadium, where the Spartans haven't won since 1990.
Ohio State is shooting for its fourth straight Big Ten title and perhaps a third straight appearance in the BCS national championship game, winning five straight since getting blown out at USC.
Pryor helped the Buckeyes score 21 points in the first quarter against a team that hadn't allowed a point in its first four home games this season and was giving up less than 17 points a game overall.
He was 5-for-5 for 86 yards in the first quarter and ran for 62 yards on four carries, including a 32-yard gain on the opening drive, that made Pryor smile when recalling what he told Tressel the previous day.
"I wanted to let him know if I don't take us down the field, bench me," Pryor said. "I love when I have to challenge myself."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... The Buckeyes decided that it was time to spread their wings and let their offense fly.
Gameball goes to... Terrelle Pryor, who threw for 116 yards and a TD and ran for 72 yards and another score.
Stat of the game... 216. Ohio State won the battle on the ground with 216 yards rushing to 52 for Michigan State.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-14||3-12|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||1-2|
|TD||08:25||Terrelle Pryor 18 Yd Run (Ryan Pretorius Kick)||7||0|
|TD||04:33||Brian Robiskie 7 Yd Pass From Terrelle Pryor (Ryan Pretorius Kick)||14||0|
|TD||02:44||Chris Wells 1 Yd Run (Ryan Pretorius Kick)||21||0|
|TD||06:34||Chris Wells 12 Yd Run (Ryan Pretorius Kick)||28||0|
|TD||10:51||Charlie Gantt 3 Yd Pass From Kirk Cousins (Brett Swenson Kick)||28||7|
|TD||14:41||Thaddeus Gibson 69 Yd Fumble Return (Ryan Pretorius Kick)||35||7|
|FG||05:27||Aaron Pettrey 40 Yd||38||7|
|TD||00:15||Jermale Hines 48 Yd Fumble Return (Aaron Pettrey Kick)||45||7|