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September 11, 2010

Bucks weather the storm

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Terrelle Pryor wasn't sure how he would grade himself after Saturday afternoon's game against Miami but the Ohio State signal caller got enough done in passing for 233 yards and rushing for 113 yards as the Buckeyes picked off Jacory Harris four times en route to a 36-24 win in front of a sellout crowd at Ohio Stadium.

This game was the first time the two programs had met on the field since the controversial end to the 2003 Fiesta Bowl game, a game that still draws ire from Hurricane fans and a defining moment for the Ohio State program under head coach Jim Tressel.

The Buckeyes made nine trips to the red zone but were only able to put up 36 points while the Hurricanes became the first team since the 1930s (at least) to score a touchdown on both a punt and kickoff return against the Bucks. That was a stat that Tressel was unaware of would prefer not to ever see a repeat of.

"I'll put that in my memoirs," Tressel quipped with a smile after the game. "I'm really happy your brought that up. Can you typically win if that happens? No. But the good news is, our guys didn't fold and they - they know we've got to get better at that."

Miami put up one offensive touchdown on the day when Chase Ford was on the receiving end of a Harris nine yard strike in the fourth quarter. That touchdown was the first touchdown that Ohio State's defense had surrendered all season long. All other point have either been via special teams or field goals.

Plenty was made of the battle of Ohio State's offensive line trying to hold up against Miami's defensive line. The Canes managed only a single sack but the line showed its mettle racking up an astonishing 11 tackles for loss against the Ohio State running game.

When Ohio State found the end zone it did it quickly with all three touchdown drives in the game taking two plays a piece. Brandon Saine capped off the first touchdown drive with a 16 yard catch to complete an 80 yard drive. Dan Herron scored the next touchdown on a four yard run and the third touchdown went on the board via Pryor's legs with a 13 yard TD scamper.

"I was interested to see if we were a top ten team," Tressel said. "I thought we played a very good team. So now if we'll keep growing from that, we've got a chance."

Kicker Devin Barclay tied a school record with five field goals and now shares that record with three other players. Barclay had a chance to hold the record alone in the fourth quarter but missed out on a 42-yarder.

"It was the first time I've ever been in a game where the kicker cramped up," Tressel joked.

Ohio State is at home against in-state rival Ohio University next week and then finishes off the non-conference schedule against Eastern Michigan the following week before opening the conference schedule a week after at Illinois.

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