The game against the Iowa Hawkeyes is pretty easily the most important game of the year thus far, and I doubt that there are many who think that it is likely to be a blowout in either direction. OSU has historically owned Iowa, but the recent success of that team coupled with a lot of established stars means you can pretty much just throw past win/loss records out the window. In other words, this is looking more and more like a game that will go right down to the wire, and because of that I think it's a valuable exercise to take a closer look at the leaders of each team, and how they've performed in the past few seasons in the clutch when their teams have needed them the most.
This is a tale of two quarterbacks who are a lot more similar than you might think.
It's hard to hate Ricky Stanzi. This is a relatively unheralded guy from Mentor, Ohio who has emerged from being a serviceable Big Ten QB to being an internet meme and a pretty darn good QB who can carry an offense by himself. In the previous two seasons, Stanzi had nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns, and was mostly known for A) being both very good and very bad, oftentimes in the same quarter, B) looking a lot like Beck, and C) being a proud American. This season though, Stanzi has been the model of consistency, and for a while was mentioned as having an outside shot at the Heisman. In only one game has he thrown for less than 200 yards, and that was mostly because he only attempted 15 passes in a 37-6 rout of Michigan State. Bottles and cans, Iowa fans just clap their hands, just clap their hands.
It's easy to hate Terrelle Pryor. 5 star, #1 ranked QB in the country, and his recruitment got so much attention that it sent Kanye West went into rehab. Huge expectations were placed on his shoulders, and in his first three years (yes, it has literally been that long) as a starter, he has been both brilliant and incredibly disappointing. In his first full season as a starter he only completed 56.5% of his passes and threw for less than 100 yards in a game 4 different times, but was also incredible in the Rose Bowl, passing all over the Ducks for 266 yards. This season has seen TP increase his completion percentage and yardage dramatically, but against Wisconsin and Penn State he was again disappointing, leaving some to sleep with visions of Braxton dancing in their brains, with the hope that Saint Tressel would soon hand him the reins.
So, this begs the question: in 2009, in the 4th quarter, or on 3rd and long, or when tied or losing, which of these two QBs would you want directing your offense?
Well, as it turns out, the answer may surprise you.