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OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Stewart Mandel
August 13, 2010
With Terrelle Pryor hitting his stride, Jim Tressel's loaded Buckeyes are looking to reach their third BCS championship game in five seasons
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August 13, 2010

Ohio State Buckeyes

With Terrelle Pryor hitting his stride, Jim Tressel's loaded Buckeyes are looking to reach their third BCS championship game in five seasons

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OFFENSE

QB

TERRELLE PRYOR*

JOE BAUSERMAN

FB

ZACH BOREN*

ADAM HOMAN

TB

BRANDON SAINE

DAN HERRON

WR

DANE SANZENBACHER*

GRANT SCHWARTZ

WR

DEVIER POSEY*

TAURIAN WASHINGTON

TE

JAKE STONEBURNER

REID FRAGEL

LT

MIKE ADAMS

ANDREW MILLER

LG

JUSTIN BOREN*

CONNOR SMITH

C

MIKE BREWSTER*

JACK MEWHORT

RG

BRYANT BROWNING*

COREY LINSLEY

RT

J.B. SHUGARTS*

ANDREW MILLER

DEFENSE

DE

NATHAN WILLIAMS

SOLOMON THOMAS

DT

DEXTER LARIMORE*

GARRETT GOEBEL

DT

JOHN SIMON

ADAM BELLAMY

DE

CAMERON HEYWARD*

MELVIN FELLOWS

LB

ROSS HOMAN*

DORIAN BELL

LB

BRIAN ROLLE*

STORM KLEIN

LB

ETIENNE SABINO

ANDREW SWEAT

CB

CHIMDI CHEKWA*

TRAVIS HOWARD

FS

JERMALE HINES

ZACH DOMICONE

SS

ORHIAN JOHNSON

TYLER MOELLER

CB

DEVON TORRENCE*

DONNIE EVEGE

SPECIAL TEAMS

K

DEVIN BARCLAY*

BEN BUCHANAN

P

BEN BUCHANAN

DEREK ERWIN

KR

BRANDON SAINE

DANE SANZENBACHER*

PR

DANE SANZENBACHER*

DEVIER POSEY*

*Returning starter

FOR TWO YEARS OHIO STATE FANS WATCHED WITH ALTERNATING fits of excitement and frustration as quarterback Terrelle Pryor slowly grew into his role as the Buckeyes' savior quarterback. Finally, in the last game of his 2009 sophomore season, Pryor delivered his breakthrough performance in a 26-17 Rose Bowl win over Oregon. The former top-rated recruit racked up 338 total yards and threw for two touchdowns to earn MVP honors and further stoke Ohio State fans' excitement for their team's future. "I'd like to think he'll have a heck of a second half of his career here," says Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel.

Pryor, whose mistakes last season (most notably four turnovers in a humbling 26-18 loss to Purdue) often overshadowed his production (2,873 total yards, 25 touchdowns), wasn't the only Buckeye to endure growing pains in '09. He played with seven first-time starters on offense, including receivers DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher. "People wanted Terrelle to make this natural progression," says Tressel. "They didn't take into account that he was playing with a whole different set of characters from his freshman year." Tressel's crew still went 11-2 and took its fifth straight Big Ten championship, thanks in large part to a dominating defense that held 10 of its 13 opponents to 18 points or fewer.

A year later the Buckeyes' depth chart appears loaded at nearly every position. Joining Pryor on offense is the tailback tandem of Brandon Saine and Dan Herron, who averaged a combined 190 yards in late-season victories over Iowa and Michigan. Senior guard Justin Boren is one of four returning starters on the line. And the defense expects to employ seven senior starters, including All-America candidates Cameron Heyward (defensive end) and Ross Homan (linebacker).

On paper the Buckeyes have all the pieces to reach their third BCS championship game in the past five years, but Pryor, who had off-season knee surgery to fix an injury that hampered him over the second half of last season, will have to pick up where he left off in Pasadena. Teammates liked what they saw in spring workouts. "You see him making tighter passes," says Heyward, "and off the field, you see a lot of maturation." Two years of training may be about to pay off.

THE VITALS

COACH Jim Tressel (10th year)

94-21 (59-13 in Big Ten)

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Jim Bollman

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR

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