Pryor glad to get first 'Game' behind him
Nobody but Terrelle Pryor knows for certain how close he came to playing on the other side of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.
The quarterback from Jeannette, Pa., was pursued by both programs and a host of others across the nation, but wound up choosing Ohio State after months of deliberation.
Pryor, a true freshman, saw his first game action against Youngstown State on Aug. 30 and supplanted returning starter Todd Boeckman against Troy less than a month later.
The Buckeyes' quarterback prodigy got his first inside look at the The Game on Saturday. Pryor's take after Ohio State's 42-7 rout at Ohio Stadium?
"I'm glad it's over," he said.
So are the Wolverines.
Pryor overcame a shaky start - he was 1-of-5 for 14 yards with an interception and was sacked twice in the first quarter - to help the Buckeyes pull away from their biggest rivals. Michigan kept Pryor contained in the pocket more often than not, but he threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hartline in the second quarter and his 35-yard strike to Dane Sanzenbacher early in the fourth period - after scrambling to avoid a sack - set up another score.
Pryor finished 5-of-13 for 120 yards. Michigan free safety Stevie Brown stepped in front of Pryor's second pass of the game in the left flat and returned it 34 yards to Ohio State's 13, but the Buckeyes' defense held and the Wolverines squandered the opportunity when their first possession went nowhere and K.C. Lopata missed a 35-yard field goal.
"I got to the sideline and all my teammates were supporting me, saying, 'Come on, Man. Don't worry about it. It's nothing. Put it behind you,' " Pryor said.
"I was like, 'All right, I'm cool.' This is the kind of thing you have to do. Mistakes happen. You can't live off it."
It appeared Pryor - rolling to his left and throwing across his body - did not see Brown closing on wide receiver Brian Robiskie, his intended receiver.
"The play that we threw for the interception was clear over on the other side of the field, so I really don't know what happened there, but that's not the greatest way to start your first Michigan game," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said.
"But Terrelle said, 'That will never happen again.' I didn't want to tell him that if it did ... so I just left it at that."
"But, no, I thought he handled things well."
Pryor tackled Brown to prevent a touchdown return, and that was not the extent of the physical contact he experienced on Saturday. The freshman received a tutorial on the intensity of Ohio State-Michigan.
"I heard about it all week, and it was big," Pryor said.
"I mean, you can hit late in this game. You can do all kinds of things different. I was walking back (to the huddle) and someone just came up and nailed me. I was just walking, so I guess you can hit late and do whatever you want in this game. It's fun."
Pryor was sacked three times and limited to -7 yards on eight attempts.
"We just tried to make sure he didn't leave the pocket," Michigan defensive end Tim Jamison said.
"Of course, he's a great athlete, but he makes big plays when he gets out of the pocket."
Pryor said a 59-yard touchdown run by Ohio State tailback Chris
"Beanie" Wells helped the offense get going.
"The linemen opened the hole and Beanie hit it like he always does every week," Pryor said.
"After we kept punching them and punching them in the mouth, they eventually gave up."