Eastern Michigan loses 73-20 at No. 2 Ohio State
Jay LaPrete | Associated Press
Story updated at 8:47 p.m.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The way Jim Tressel explained it, No. 2 Ohio State wasn't trying to score more points than any Buckeyes team in 60 years.
It just sort of happened.
"We didn't come in saying, 'Well, you know, we're going to go after X amount of points,'" the notoriously conservative coach said Saturday.
Dane Sanzenbacher tied two school records by catching four touchdown passes from Terrelle Pryor, and Pryor also ran for a score and caught a TD pass in the Buckeyes' 73-20 landslide over Eastern Michigan. Not since an 83-21 beating of Iowa in 1950 had Ohio State scored so much.
The biggest cheers throughout the day came not for the Buckeyes, but when it was announced that Arkansas was leading top-ranked Alabama. The Crimson Tide came from behind to win 24-20, the only damper on an otherwise glittering afternoon in Columbus.
Ohio State took no prisoners, continuing to pile up the points long after the outcome was decided. Eastern Michigan coach Ron English seemed bemused but aware of what was happening.
"My thing is this: You've got to stop them," English said. "So I'll never whine about that. Yeah, he kept throwing. He throws the throwback to the quarterback and all that stuff but we were trying to score, too. ... I respect Jim Tressel. I don't say that I'm (ticked) off at Jim Tressel. That's the nature of the beast. The strong survive in this profession."
The Buckeyes (4-0) certainly looked strong Saturday, scoring on their first six possessions against the 44Â½-point underdogs, who lost their 16th game in a row.
Pryor completed 20 of 26 passes for 224 yards and the four scores, rushed seven times for 104 yards and a touchdown and also caught a 20-yard scoring pass from his former high school teammate, Jordan Hall, late in the third quarter.
"I never had a day when I caught one, ran for one and threw one," said Pryor, who was told by Tressel that if he dropped the pass from Hall "to just keep running through the tunnel."
Pryor, who opened the scoring on a 53-yard run, hit Sanzenbacher on scoring passes of 31, 9, 7 and 8 yards. Sanzenbacher finished with nine grabs for 108.
"Obviously you never come into a game expecting to do that," he said. "As an offense, we don't come into the game planning on 73 points, either, but sometimes you're in the right place at the right time."
Eastern Michigan (0-4) did put together three long, impressive scoring drives against an Ohio State defense that had surrendered just two touchdowns coming in. But the Eagles were overmatched at almost every position.
It took just three plays on each of Ohio State's first two possessions to make it 14-0. The outcome wasn't in doubt the rest of the way.
Dan Herron added a 7-yard touchdown run, running back Jaamal Berry went 67 yards on a run, backup quarterback Joe Bauserman tossed a 17-yard scoring pass to Hall, and third-team QB Kenny Guiton ran it in from 15 yards.
Sanzenbacher's four touchdown catches tied the school record. He and Pryor also tied the Ohio State mark for touchdown connections by a quarterback and receiver in a game. In addition, Pryor matched another school mark by having a hand in six scores.
He played until late in the third quarter, when his scoring pass from Hall made it 52-20.
"Every dog has his day. I've had my days," English said. "I'm taking mine right now, and I'm sure there'll be a day when I'm giving mine again. Whether it be here or somewhere else. But I promise you I'll be back giving my butt-whuppin's out, too."