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September 20, 2008COLUMBUS - The less than capacity crowd at Ohio Stadium had some things to cheer about on Saturday afternoon but not a lot. Terrelle Pryor got the start and looked smooth as the Buckeyes (3-1, 0-0) opened up the game in the second half paced by 14 points in the 4th quarter and defeated Troy (2-1, 1-0) 28-10.
Todd Boeckman saw limited action only playing two snaps in the first half and none in the second half, not quite the 50-50 percent split that was expected. Dan Herron saw the majority of the action on the ground with 20 carries for 94 yards.
"Both teams played hard and both teams expended a lot of energy and I was proud of the way our guys took the challenge," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "After (Troy) scored at the end of the first half to bring it to a four point game I thought our guys did a great job rising up."
The Buckeyes got off to a strong start on the first drive with an eight run and one pass drive that featured 21 yards by Herron and 26 yards on the ground by Pryor. It was capped off by a 13 yard touchdown strike from Pryor to Rory Nicol.
"Offensively we've got a ways to go but we did some good things," Tressel said. "(We) had some new guys in there that hadn't been in there all that much before, so it was a very valuable game."
The Trojans got on the scoreboard with an eight play drive that stretched from the end of the 1st quarter into the second quarter. The nine play drive ended with a Sam Glusman 22-yard field goal.
Ohio State made it 14-3 in the 2nd quarter after a Kurt Coleman interception gave the Buckeyes a short field to work with. The Bucks marched the 37 yards after a costly chop block on Brian Hartline pushed the team back. Pryor found a wide open Hartline who made up for his earlier transgression with a 39 yard touchdown catch.
The Ohio State defense showed major cracks when Troy was able to chew up huge gains as Jamie Hampton found a rhythm with his receivers. First Hampton hit Andrew Davis for 27 yards and two plays later found Jerrel Jernigan for a 45-yard strike. The most troubling part of the long TD pass is the amount of missed tackles that were on the play.
"The one bad play where we missed a few tackles, but I'm proud of the way the guys handled it," linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "People weren't pointing fingers, weren't frustrated, they were just saying we have to relax and play football and that's part of the maturity of our defense out there."
The third quarter was far from a thing of beauty for Ohio State which only netted 38 yards compared to 104 for Troy. The Trojans had bright spots with quarterback Jamie Hampton passing for 218 yards on 30-42 passing and with DuJuan Harris picking up 54 well timed yards throughout the game on 11 carries.
Ohio State's offense finally got in gear in the fourth quarter when Pryor connected for two touchdowns with a 38-yarder to Brian Robiskie and a 16-yarder to Hartline.
"Terrelle got a lot of time today and you could really see him getting more and more comfortable as the game was going along," Robiskie said. "I think that all of us around him continue to just improve our play to help him out and make it easier on him.
Not all went well for Robiskie who wasn't able to haul in a wide open pass from Pryor on the 3rd series of the game but Robo isn't one for excuses.
"I dropped it," Robiskie said.
There is time for dropping the ball as the Buckeyes get ready to host 4-0 Minnesota for the Big Ten season opener next Saturday at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on the Big Ten Network. The defense of the league crown starts then.
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