I'm still decompressing from quite possibly the best trip I've ever had (hopefully a recap of sorts tomorrow) and by decompressing, I mean consuming every last drip of media related to the 96th Rose Bowl.
Pryor, as you can imagine, is receiving most of the accolades from the punditry, pretty much ensuring expectations will start at or near Vince 2.1 next season. Rose Bowl springboards and all.
The Dispatch's Bob Hunter thinks we're finally seeing what was advertised:
This was the composite running-throwing machine recruiters slobbered over, the dangerous either-or Pryor that coaches saw in their dreams. It was the Pryor that Buckeyes fans expected and even demanded almost from his first game as a freshman, and sometimes wondered whether they would ever see. This was the Pryor everyone knew he could be.
Doc Saturday reflects on Pryor's performance amid the run-first tendencies of the last two years:
Altogether, Pryor was the point man as a runner or passer on 57 of the Buckeyes' 88 offensive snaps and accounted for just over 80 percent of the team's 419 total yards -- easily the most Ohio State has gained against a ranked team since the 2006 win over Michigan. Not coincidentally, that triumph against the Wolverines was both the high-point of Tressel Ball and the last time the buttoned-down, run-first philosophy yielded to the exceptional talents of a multi-faceted quarterback.
Ivan Maisel is a believer:
Ohio State won because quarterback Terrelle Pryor silenced a few doubters of his own. If there is a dividing line between potential and performance, the sophomore stepped across it on the first day of the new year.
It wasn't a complete coronation, however. SI's Mandel slightly deviates from his 2009 theme of bashing Ohio State1 by begrudgingly giving props to Pryor:
Pryor's day wasn't perfect. He endured four sacks (three by Ducks defensive end Kenny Rowe), a third-quarter interception and a couple of near picks. But he also converted several key third downs, often by scrambling when the pocket collapsed, and connected with Posey on two long fade passes, most notably his last touchdown.
I don't think I'm the only one still concerned about his youth and what's sure to be an avalanche of offseason pub going to his head, but college football is so much confidence and momentum and the step Pryor took in the Rose Bowl Friday afternoon is a huge one.
The date with Miami will be challenging, but aside from that, he'll have five tuneup games to keep the swagger train rolling before he returns to Camp Randall -- the scene of his first signature moment as a Buckeye -- and a good barometer of whether or not next year's team is ready to make a run at it all.
Not a Borg, After All
Loved, loved, loved, loved the postgame segment Tressel had with the ESPN crew after the Rose Bowl. From the remark about sober Oregon fans to poking a little fun at his offense to finally coming clean on his disdain for utilizing the tight end in the passing game, you could tell the monkey was off his back as well.
There have only been a few of these moments when he's completely relaxed, having fun and soaking it up a bit, and here's to hopefully seeing a few more of them in the coming months.
- 1 Stewart must have been the guy in high school that was always the last to find out about parties and you know he was the last man in America still doing the Budweiser Wazzup, which he likely stopped doing last summer. Hating on Ohio State is sooo 2007, man.