3:30 PM ET, September 11, 2010
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
Ohio St. picks off Jacory Harris 4 times; Terrelle Pryor scores 2 TDs
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Miami quarterback Jacory Harris and the 12th-ranked Hurricanes came into their showdown with No. 2 Ohio State confident and comfortable.
Four interceptions later, they were deflated and defeated.
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Terrelle Pryor ran for 113 yards and a touchdown and passed for another score Saturday as the Buckeyes took advantage of Miami's miscues to hang a 36-24 loss on the Hurricanes.
"Feeling good doesn't always end up good," Harris said.
Eight seasons after the Buckeyes and Hurricanes played a classic game for the 2002 national championship, the rematch wasn't nearly as close. In the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, the Buckeyes earned a dramatic and controversial 31-24 victory in double-overtime against a Miami team trying to repeat as national champs.
This one was no work of art, with numerous sloppy plays and bad tackling. But it kept the Buckeyes (2-0) perfect and prevented the Hurricanes (1-1) from making a case they belonged back among the nation's elite.
It all came down to the mistakes.
"When you can create four takeaways, you're going to have a chance," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "And when you have zero giveaways, you're going to have a real good chance."
In what was billed as a Heisman Trophy showcase, Pryor completed just 12 of 27 passes for 233 yards but kept alive drives with many of his 20 carries and scored on a 13-yard run. Harris was 22 of 39 passing for 232 yards and a touchdown but had the four interceptions -- three of which could easily have been caught.
"Two of them the receivers ran the wrong route," Miami coach Randy Shannon said. "But, still, if the receiver runs the wrong route then throw the ball out of bounds."
• Terrelle Pryor threw for 233 yards and a TD and ran for 113 yards and a TD as the Buckeyes improved to 27-2 at home under Jim Tressel against nonconference opponents.
• Ohio State has won eight straight games when ranked second in the AP poll.
• Jacory Harris was 22-for-39 for 232 yards with four interceptions and one TD. Harris had 17 interceptions last season. Dating back to last season, Harris has five touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the Hurricanes' last five losses.
• Miami has lost three straight games against Big Ten teams.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
It was the last interception which proved to be particularly costly for the Hurricanes.
Trailing 26-17 at the half, Miami took the kickoff and drove to a first down at the Ohio State 6. But on third-and-goal, Harris' pass over the middle was wide of the mark and intercepted by burly Buckeyes defensive end Cameron Heyward, who had dropped back into pass coverage. He rumbled 80 yards with the ball.
"I was trying to take it to the house," said the 6-foot-5, 288-pound Heyward, the son of former NFL running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward. "They caught me. That shows they didn't give up, and shows I'm not that fast."
That was OK with his coach.
"They were going to bring it down to a one-score game," Tressel said. "I was shocked how far he got. I kept thinking that someone was going to catch up to him and strip the ball. Oh, man I was petrified. That was a long run for a big guy."
It set up Pryor's touchdown run. He rolled right, looking to pass, then reversed field and scored untouched.
The Hurricanes, whose earlier TDs both came on kick returns, scored on Harris' 9-yard pass to Chase Ford on the first play of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 36-24.
Miami got the ball just once more, marching down the field only to lose it on downs at the Ohio State 39 with 7½ minutes left. The Buckeyes, with Pryor picking up big yardage on runs, then played keep-a-way the rest of the game.
Devin Barclay tied an Ohio State record with five field goals.
The first half had to leave both coaches exasperated.
The Buckeyes dominated, piling up 260 yards to just 104 with three turnovers for the Hurricanes. But Miami twice returned kicks for long scores. The first was Lamar Miller's 88-yard kickoff return.
It was the first time in 121 years of football that the Buckeyes surrendered a touchdown on punt and kickoff returns in the same game.
The first interception Harris threw was tipped by Ohio State's C.J. Barnett, into the hands of Nathan Williams, setting up Barclay's field goal.
The second was a result of receiver Benjamin not even looking for the ball, with Chimdi Chekwa grabbing it to set up Herron's TD run. Then Harris hit Benjamin with a pass along the right sideline, but he bobbled the ball into Chekwa's hands to set up yet another Barclay field goal.
Three times in the half, Miami defenders got their hands on one of Pryor's passes but none of them were intercepted.
"Today was the most calm I've ever been," Pryor said. "I was really comfortable. I feel like I made good decisions and I was thinking about not making turnovers -- and I got that done."
Harris couldn't say the same.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Cameron Heyward returned an interception 80 yards, setting up a Buckeyes touchdown.
Gameball goes to... Terrelle Pryor, who passed for 233 yards, rushed for 113 yards and scored twice.
Stat of the game... 1991. Miami hasn't defeated an AP top-2 team since Nov. 16, 1991.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-15||6-18|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||1-1|
|FG||05:57||Devin Barclay 24 Yd||0||3|
|TD||05:45||Lamar Miller 88 Yd Kickoff Return (Matt Bosher Kick)||7||3|
|FG||13:05||Matt Bosher 51 Yd||10||3|
|TD||12:23||Brandon Saine 18 Yd Pass From Terrelle Pryor (Devin Barclay Kick)||10||10|
|FG||07:03||Devin Barclay 41 Yd||10||13|
|TD||06:17||Dan Herron 4 Yd Run (Devin Barclay Kick)||10||20|
|TD||03:04||Travis Benjamin 79 Yd Punt Return (Matt Bosher Kick)||17||20|
|FG||01:01||Devin Barclay 21 Yd||17||23|
|FG||00:00||Devin Barclay 24 Yd||17||26|
|TD||10:16||Terrelle Pryor 13 Yd Run (Devin Barclay Kick)||17||33|
|FG||01:29||Devin Barclay 24 Yd||17||36|
|TD||14:52||Chase Ford 9 Yd Pass From Jacory Harris (Matt Bosher Kick)||24||36|
In the 2010 season, Terrelle Pryor has showed an improved ability to the throw the ball downfield. Last season, 45.4 percent of Pryor¿s yards were from throws of 15 yards or more. This season 56.9 percent of his passing yards are from throws of 15+ yards.[+]
Terrelle Pryor Throws of 15+ Yards
During his career with Ohio State, Terrelle Pryor has terrorized defenses on third down with his running ability. Last season on 3rd down, Pryor was second in FBS with 366 rushing yards and third in FBS with 30 first downs. Miami was Pryor¿s latest victim as 58 of his 113 rushing yards came on third down.[+]
Terrelle Pryor Rushing on 3rd Down
Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris has been accurate on short throws since becoming a full-time starter in the beginning of 2009. However, Harris really struggled with his short throws Saturday against the Buckeyes, who turned Harris¿ four interceptions into 20 of Ohio State¿s 36 points.[+]
Jacory Harris Throwing Fewer Than 10 Yards Downfield
ESPN Stats & Information