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Rose Bowl: The drought is over

Pryor, Ohio State earn the Big Ten’s first Rose Bowl victory in 10 years

Posted: January 1, 2010 10:57 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, center, stiff-arms Oregon defensive end Kenny Rowe (58) during the third quarter of the 96th Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena on Saturday. Pryor finished with 266 yards and two touchdowns passing and rushed for 72 yards in Ohio State's 26-17 win over the Ducks.

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PASADENA - Oregon wanted Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor to throw the ball.

Ohio State wanted him to throw as well.

The fleet-footed sophomore quarterback who had yet to have a coming-out party appeased both sides, and in doing so helped lead the No. 8 Buckeyes to a 26-17 victory on Friday in the 96th Rose Bowl Game over the No. 7 Ducks.

Pryor wasn't the only reason for Ohio State ending the Big Ten's drought of 10 years without a Rose Bowl victory and the Buckeyes snapping their three-game Bowl Championship Series losing streak.

But he was a major reason.

Pryor was 23-of-37 for 266 yards and two touchdowns in the air and added 72 rushing yards on 20 carries.

Ohio State (11-2) came into the game as the 107th-ranked passing offense in the country.

"We needed it, just for the Big Ten in general," Pryor said. "It's our rep. ... It's huge for us to get over the hump and win that game."

A major key for the Buckeyes was keeping Oregon's offense off the field and locking down on junior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.

Ohio State's offense held the ball for more than two-thirds of the game.

The dynamic Masoli never got going in the game.
He was 9-of-20 for 81 yards with an interception and managed 18 yards on six carries on the ground.

"They did a great job of taking him away and not letting him run a lot on our read stuff," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. "They had a guy assigned to the quarterback, so he handed the ball off, and that's what they wanted us to do, and we handed it off."

Ohio State forced the tempo of the game, but Oregon's defense was able to keep things close, especially early.

Pryor set up Ohio State's first score on the game's opening drive with a 24-yard run and by completing 5-of-8 passes. On third-and-10 from the Oregon 13, he found Brandon Saine on the right sideline. Saine ran over cornerback Talmadge Jackson III on his way into the end zone, giving the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead with 11:37 to play in the first quarter.

Later in the quarter, Pryor would set up another score, completing a pass over the top of the Oregon secondary and into the hands of Saine for a 46-yard gain. But Oregon held inside its own 10-yard line, forcing a 19-yard field goal by Devin Barclay and giving Ohio State a 10-0 lead.

The Ducks (10-3) were able to tie the game early in the second quarter.

Oregon Kenjon Barner's 28-yard punt return brought the Ducks to their own 41-yard line.

Barner would then take the first play of the drive 37 yards on a rush.

Yet Oregon couldn't budge past the Ohio State 7.

Morgan Flint's 24-yard field goal cut the lead to 10-3.
Another 28-yard punt return by Barner gave the Ducks even better field position the next time, starting their drive on the Ohio State 30.

Facing a fourth-and-9 on the Buckeyes' 29, Masoli completed for 10 yards to Jeff Maehl.

Four plays later, LeGarrette Blount pounded the ball in from 3 yards for a touchdown, tying the score at 10-10 with 9:14 to go in the first half.

The next drive defined the game in a lot of ways as the Buckeyes marched 67 yards on 19 plays, ending the drive with a 30-yard field goal.

The drive lasted 8:03 and saw the Buckeyes convert on three third downs and a fourth down.

"I think it was the third downs. Three downs to get a first. It's frustrating," said Oregon free safety T.J. Ward on how Ohio State dominated the clock.

After Ross Homan intercepted Masoli with less than a minute to play in the first half, Ohio State added a 45-yard field goal to go into halftime up 16-10.

Oregon took its first lead of the game on the first drive of the second half.

Masoli ended a 12-play, 53-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, giving the Ducks a 17-16 lead.

Oregon stalled from there and Ohio State took advantage.

After a Barclay 38-yard field goal midway through the third quarter put Ohio State up 19-17, the Buckeyes attacked on their first drive of the fourth quarter.

Pryor found a twisting DeVier Posey for a 17-yard touchdown with 7:02 to play in the game, setting the score at 26-17.

"Well, the plan was to make him throw the ball, but when he threw it that good, the plan didn't go well," said Oregon defensive end Kenny Rowe, who had three sacks in the game.

Morgan Flint missed a 44-yard field goal with 5:10 to play, signaling the end for the Pac-10 champions.

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