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Published: Thursday, 10/15/2009

The End Zone: Ohio State

Ohio State beat writer Matt Markey Ohio State beat writer Matt Markey

Ever since his first midget league game at age 6, Terrelle Pryor was the Ferrari on the football field. He had an extra gear that provided speed and acceleration that nobody could match. He cut quicker, avoiding the clunkers along the line, and then pulled away from the Firebirds and Mustangs in the secondary. This mastery continued through high school, where Pryor's gift of rapidity made him the most coveted player in the nation.

Since arriving at Ohio State, the landscape Pryor negotiates has changed. All around the Midwest, some pretty smart coaches working inside massive concrete stadiums named after famous dead guys have been plotting on how to stall Pryor's sprint. They use angles and manipulate their personnel to litter Pryor's path with pot holes and speed bumps. They sacrifice other strategic elements in their determination that the OSU quarterback will not beat them with those finely-tuned striated skeletal muscles in his lower body.

Pryor's use of his locomotion — and that vast and vague entity called “potential” — got him named the Big Ten's preseason offensive player of the year. There was even talk about a Heisman Trophy candidacy. In mid-October, many fret since Pryor is last in the conference in passing yardage, but his team sits in first place. Ultimately, isn't that what a quarterback is supposed to do — just win.

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