OSU Rolling With Pryor

Terrelle Pryor still has plenty of maturing to do, but he's already learning how to win.

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The prized freshman quarterback looks to remain perfect as a starter and lead No. 12 Ohio State to a fourth consecutive victory when it hosts struggling Big Ten rival Purdue on Saturday afternoon.

One of the nation's most sought-after recruits coming out of Pennsylvania, Pryor displayed his considerable talent by rallying Ohio State (5-1, 2-0) to a 20-17 victory at then-No. 18 Wisconsin last Saturday. The 6-foot-6, 235 pounder overcame an interception and four sacks to lead Ohio State on a 12-play, 80-yard game-winning drive he capped with an 11-yard touchdown run with 1:08 remaining.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Ohio State -18 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on Purdue +18 (View College Football bet percentages).

"I told him, 'It's a man's world right now, and he's taking a step into manhood right now,''' said running back Chris "Beanie" Wells, who had a 33-yard TD run in the first quarter. "He said he was ready.''

Pryor, who replaced senior Todd Boeckman as starter prior to a 28-10 win over Troy on Sept. 20, was 13-for-19 for a career-high 144 yards as the Buckeyes snapped Wisconsin's 16-game home winning streak. For the season, he is 42-for-65 for 440 yards with five TDs and two interceptions, while rushing for 312 yards and four touchdowns.

"Every snap he gets, he learns from. He was under duress (against Wisconsin),'' Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. "You know Terrelle didn't have everything go his way, but he kept hanging in there."

Maybe more importantly for Ohio State, Pryor has led the Buckeyes to three straight victories as a starter since an embarrassing 35-3 loss at then-No. 1 Southern California on Sept. 13. Ohio State is tied with No. 6 Penn State and No. 23 Michigan State atop the Big Ten standings.

After this contest, the Buckeyes visit the Spartans and host the Nittany Lions on consecutive weekends.

While those games appear vital to deciding the conference race, Tressel will make sure the Buckeyes are ready for Purdue (2-3, 0-1), which has lost its last two games and hasn't won at Ohio Stadium since 1988.

"We made enough mistakes (at Wisconsin) to make it hard on ourselves, and now we've got to work on getting a lot better," Tressel said.

Ohio State has won four of its last five meetings overall against the Boilermakers, who have lost 16 straight contests versus ranked opponents dating to a 27-14 win over then-No. 10 Iowa on Nov. 8, 2003.

Wells, who's rushed for 385 yards on 49 carries in three games despite dealing with a toe injury that kept him out of three contests, ran for 85 yards on 18 carries in a 23-7 win at Purdue on Oct. 6, 2007. Brian Hartline, the Buckeyes' leading receiver, caught four passes for 61 yards and a TD in that meeting.

The Boilermakers face a ranked opponent for a second straight week after falling 20-6 to Penn State last Saturday. Curtis Painter was 13-for-22 for 112 yards to move past Mark Herrmann into second place on the school's career yards passing list, but coach Joe Tiller benched the senior in the fourth quarter.

"We were looking for a spark on offense," said Tiller, who is likely to start Painter against Ohio State as he remains 12 passing yards shy of 10,000. "We were flat all day and sometimes a different voice and face in the huddle is what you need."

Painter, who has struggled a bit this season completing 57.6 percent of his passes while throwing five TDs and five interceptions, is 0-9 against ranked schools.

Senior running back Kory Sheets, who rushed for Purdue's lone score last week, looks to extend his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to nine. He has eight TDs in all this season.

Ohio State holds a 36-12-2 advantage in the all-time series with Purdue and is 24-5-2 against the Boilermakers in Columbus.

Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
OHIO ST is 7-4 against the spread versus PURDUE since 1992
OHIO ST is 9-2 straight up against PURDUE since 1992
5 of 8 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
OHIO ST is 1-0 against the spread versus PURDUE over the last 3 seasons 
OHIO ST is 1-0 straight up against PURDUE over the last 3 seasons 
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at OHIO ST since 1992
OHIO ST is 4-1 against the spread versus PURDUE since 1992
OHIO ST is 5-0 straight up against PURDUE since 1992
2 of 4 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Key Player Injuries:
(!) [RB] Kory Sheets is upgraded to probable - Shoulder - 09/30/08
[RB] Jaycen Taylor is expected to miss the rest of the season. - Knee - 08
[OL] Jared Zwilling is upgraded to probable - Ankle - 09/28/08
[LB] Jason Werner missed last game, expected to miss - Back - 09/27/08
[S] Frank Duong is downgraded to doubtful - Knee - 09/30/08
[RB] Maurice Wells missed last game, upgraded to probable. - Back - 10/01/
[TE] Rory Nicol left last game, downgraded to expected to miss. - Ankle - 
[OG] Steve Rehring missed last game, upgraded to probable. - Foot - 09/29/
[LB] Austin Spitler missed last game, downgraded to expected to miss. - Un
[CB] Andre Amos is expected to miss the rest of the season. - Knee - 10/01

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