COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State, where Woody Hayes favored "three yards and a cloud of dust," isn't exactly famous for filling the air with footballs.
No wonder coach Jim Tressel joked about Terrelle Pryor completing a school-record 16 consecutive passes in Saturday's 43-7 victory over Ohio University.
"It must be hard to do," Tressel said of the mark. "We've been throwing the ball all over the place at Ohio State for a lot of years."
After pausing for a second of stunned silence, he added, "That's a joke."
Pryor's big passing day — he completed 22 of 29 passes for 235 yards and two scores with two interceptions — paved the way in a game that was over early. It was the kind of breather the Buckeyes (3-0) needed after last week's bruising 36-24 win over then-No. 12 Miami.
"Whatever they gave me I took advantage of," Pryor said. "The line gave me time, the receivers ran good routes. It's a good step, but I'd like to go 25 for 25."
On a day when the defense was stout but the running game was just average, it was Pryor's play that turned the game into a rout.
"He's everybody's dream of a quarterback," Bobcats coach Frank Solich said.
Tressel said he's come to expect a lot of his junior quarterback.
"Nothing would surprise me, though, from him," he said. "He's capable of everything because he's blessed with tremendous talent and his work ethic is fantastic."
The victory over the turnover-prone Bobcats (1-2) improved Ohio State to 41-0-1 since it last lost to another Ohio college, a 7-6 setback to Oberlin in 1921.
Dan Herron ran for two touchdowns and Ohio State's defense had five takeaways. A week after an 80-yard interception return, massive defensive end Cameron Heyward picked up a fumble and advanced it 5 yards. He also had a tackle in the end zone for a safety.
Two years ago, the Bobcats led 14-12 heading into the fourth quarter before the Buckeyes pulled out a 26-14 victory. But this game — with Ohio getting $850,000 to provide the opposition — was never in doubt after the Buckeyes racked up 17 points in each of the first two quarters.
On their second play from scrimmage, the Bobcats coughed up the ball when Phil Bates' pass to the left sideline was tipped by Devon Torrence to Tyler Moeller. Devin Barclay's 32-yard field goal made it 3-0 five plays later.
Ohio didn't pick up a first down on its next three possessions, either, and after the punts, the Buckeyes scored on Pryor's 9-yard pass to Brandon Saine, Pryor's 13-yard untouched scramble and another Barclay field goal.
Next came back-to-back turnovers, a Bates fumble recovered by Ross Homan and then Heyward's recovery. In rapid succession came a 5-yard pass from Pryor to tight end Jake Stoneburner and Herron's 3-yard run to push the lead to 34-0.
"It seemed they could pass it on us at will," Bobcats linebacker Noah Keller said.
In front of a crowd of 105,075, Pryor hit on 16 passes in a row — most of the receivers were lonesome they were so open — until he underthrew a wide-open Dane Sanzenbacher over the middle, with Hilton Dawson III tipping the ball away late in the half. The previous mark of 12 consecutive completions was set by Jim Karsatos in 1985 against Wisconsin.
"He's controlling the tempo and he's controlling the clock," said Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey, who dueled with his older brother, Ohio defensive back Julian Posey, all day. "I wasn't aware of the record and I don't pay attention to records, but he was sharp."
Not everything was perfect for the Buckeyes, however. They continued to have difficulty on special teams — giving up a 99-yard kickoff return to Julian Posey (called back for an illegal block), along with having a punt blocked.
Pryor, who ran for 35 yards on 8 carries, also was picked off twice on looping, medium-length passes over the middle, both intercepted by Donovan Fletcher.
He was the only person not in a good mood in the Ohio State locker room.
"We got better as a team," Pryor said. "But those two picks were unacceptable. I'm mad about both of them."