COLUMBUS, Ohio – Even though he says he never looks back, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel couldn't help but reflect on his 100th victory with the Buckeyes.
"It's exciting every time you win," he said after Terrelle Pryor 's three touchdown passes and 334 yards led the second-ranked Buckeyes to a 38-10 victory over Indiana on Saturday. "We've had a lot of awfully good players here and our coaching staff has been outstanding. A lot of those 100 wins have been here at home and we've got great fans.
"This is a place that, if they let you stay long enough, you should win 100."
After the game, Tressel was congratulated by athletic director Gene Smith. Tressel's wife, Ellen, joined him on the dais.
He went on to remember his father, hall of fame college coach Lee Tressel, whom he played for at Baldwin-Wallace.
"This was always his team," Tressel said of his father, who died in 1981 — four years before Jim got his first head coaching job. "No matter where he coached in high school or college, Ohio State was very special."
Tressel improved to 235-78-2 in 25 years (the first 15 at Football Championship Subdivision Youngstown State). He won his 100th at Ohio State in his 121st game, the third-fastest among Big Ten coaches. And he is likely to be coaching the No. 1 team in the country by Sunday afternoon when the new rankings come out after No. 1 Alabama lost 35-21 at South Carolina.
Pryor, who had strained a left thigh muscle a week ago at Illinois, proved he was the picture of health. He threw for a career-best 334 yards and three touchdowns.
Pryor hit on scoring passes covering 22 yards to Dane Sanzenbacher, 60 yards to Brandon Saine and 17 yards to DeVier Posey as the Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) rolled to their 12th consecutive win — and 16th in a row over the Hoosiers (3-2, 0-2).
It was a big deal that he helped Tressel get a watershed win.
"I was messing with him in the quarterback meeting today about the 100th win," Pryor said. "I look at him as a father figure. Every week, I learn something new from him."
Indiana came in averaging 40 points and almost 350 passing yards a game, but quarterback Ben Chappell was harassed all day, completing 16 of 26 for 106 yards with two interceptions.
"Believe me, we didn't come over here thinking we were going to move the ball up and down the field on them," IU coach Bill Lynch said. "We've watched a lot of football through our careers. And you could tell that's a great defensive football team."
The Buckeyes piled up 478 yards while the Hoosiers finished with just 210, less than half their average of 455 yards a game.
Dan Herron added two touchdowns while rushing for 68 yards on 12 carries.
Pryor's passing yardage easily surpassed his previous high of 266 in a victory over Oregon in the 2010 Rose Bowl. With his sixth straight game of at least 300 yards of total offense, he tied the school record held by Joe Germaine (1996-98). Pryor, who also moved into fourth place in total offense at Ohio State with 6,518 yards, finished 24 of 30.
"He's coming along," Tressel said of Pryor. "(Completing) 24 for 30's pretty good. The big one is no interceptions. If we can do that, we have a chance in every game."
Much like Michigan did last week in a 42-35 victory over the Hoosiers, the Buckeyes scored quickly. It took them just four plays after the opening kickoff for Herron to race through a big hole at left tackle for a 39-yard touchdown.
After Chappell was picked off by Devon Torrence, Pryor hit a wide-open Sanzenbacher for the score. Saine's long bomb made it 21-0 and the rout was on.
Indiana, which has not beaten the Buckeyes since 1988, has never beaten a team ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in 27 attempts.
A week after passing 64 times against Michigan, the Hoosiers ran almost as much as they threw it for most of the day.
"They disguise their coverage really well," Chappell said. "They're fast, physical and they get up the field with the rush. All that causes some havoc."