Reason to Celebrate
By Rusty Miller
September 11, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Eight seasons later, the rematch wasn't nearly as close.
Terrelle Pryor ran for 113 yards and a touchdown and passed for another Saturday and No. 2 Ohio State intercepted Jacory Harris four times in a 36-24 victory over 12th-ranked Miami on Saturday.
The last time the teams had met was in the national championship game at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, with the Buckeyes taking a dramatic and controversial 31-24 victory in double-overtime.
But 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.
In what was billed as a Heisman showcase, Pryor completed just 12 of 27 passes for 233 yards but added 20 carries, scoring 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.
It was the last interception which proved to be particularly costly for the 'Canes.
Trailing 26-17 at the half, Miami took the second-half 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 rumbled 80 yards.
That set up Pryor's touchdown run. He rolled right, looking to pass, then reversed field and scored untouched.
The Hurricanes, whose earlier scores 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 7 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.
After Ohio State seemed to grab control at 20-10 on Dan Herron's 4-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter, Travis Benjamin brought a punt back 79 yards for another score. The Buckeyes tried to pooch kick or even kick the ball out of bounds the rest of the day to keep it away from the 'Canes.
Harris was intercepted three times in the first half, but none was poorly thrown. The first was tipped by Ohio State's C.J. Barnett, into the hands of Nathan Williams, setting up Barclay's field goal. The second pick was a result of receiver Benjamin not even looking for the ball, with Chimdi Chekwa grabbing the throw to set up Herron's TD run. Then Harris hit Benjamin on a medium-length pass along the right sideline, but Benjamin bobbled the ball into Chekwa's hands to set up yet another Barclay field goal.
Three times in the half, a Pryor pass was touched first by a Miami defender but none of them were intercepted.