Guiton and Washington lead Gray to victoryWritten by Chris Schmidbauer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For a team that has been a early favorite to win the national championship next season, the Ohio State Buckeyes entered its annual Scarlet and Gray spring game with many questions to be answered.
Less than four months removed from a 26-17 victory in the Rose Bow over the Oregon Ducks, Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes provided plenty of highlights in a 17-14 win by the Gray squad over the Scarlet.
One question mark many wondered was which Terrelle Pryor would show up at the Scarlet and Gray game this past Saturday. Would it be the Pryor who led the Buckeyes to the stunning win over the Ducks this past January in Pasadena, or would it be the Pryor who struggled mightily during the season, which caused the Buckeyes to curtail the passing game near season’s end?
After an early Gray touchdown, Pryor led the Scarlet on a four play 78 yard drive to tie up the score. The sophomore quarterback was not allowed to use his most dangerous asset, his running ability, during the game, but he showcased his arm, completing all four passes. Pryor found Toledo native Dane Sanzenbacher three times on the drive, including the touchdown pass of 12 yards. He finished the game 8-12 for 108 yards.
Tressel was pleased with Pryor’s play, despite his limited action.
“I thought he looked good today,” Tressel said. “Terrelle knew what he was allowed to do and not do, and he focused on working on what he could do, like his footwork and reading coverages, but I thought he looked good.”
But it was fellow quarterback Kenny Guiton and receiver Taurian Washington who stole the show in the second half.
Guiton and Washington hooked up on two touchdowns, the final a 45 yard game winning connection, and the duo were the offensive catalysts for the Gray squad.
Guiton was 11-21 for 167 yards, and he was encouraged by his performance during the game.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I think I did really well during spring practice. I think I could have done better during the game, but overall I feel it went really well today.”
Washington was one of the aforementioned questions for the Buckeyes heading into next season. With receiver Duron Carter still battling academic issues, many have tabbed Washington as the team’s third option at receiver after Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey. While he had just three catches, Washington racked up 83 yards and the two touchdowns.
Washington was excited about his performance, but he needs to carry the success over to the field during the fall.
“I am just going to keep working hard and keep doing my best out there,” Washington said. “It felt great to get in the end zone a few times, and it felt great to be successful during the spring. I just need to improve and do it during the season too.”
On the defensive side of the ball, linebackers Etienne Sabino and Dorian Bell had good days for their respective squads. Sabino racked up seven total tackles to lead the Gray squad, and Bell led the Scarlet with five tackles. Both along with Storm Klein are looking to fill the third linebackers spot for the departed Austin Spitler.
Returning senior linebacker Brian Rolle was pleased with the defensive progression during spring practice.
“I think the defense has taken a huge step forward since the fall,” Rolle said. “I feel that we are really getting there, but I feel like we can always get better.”
Rolle also liked what he saw during the spring workouts from new starting safeties Jermale Hines and Orhian Johnson.
“We’ve got two guys stepping in who do a great job,” he said. “I feel like they are really coming together. It’s a good feeling.”
Tressel was pleased with the game overall, and he was happy that his team came away from the spring practices relatively healthy.
“I think we came out pretty good health-wise. That’s always goal number one,” he said.
Despite a successful spring game, Tressel said the Buckeyes have more to do before their first game.
“We know we’ve got a lot to do between now and August,” Tressel said. “It’s up to the players to kind of initiate that, and I know they’ll do that. Our staff will do a great job of planning a good preseason in August and be ready to see if we can meet the challenge of 2010.”
Ohio State kicks off the 2010 season against Marshall on Thursday September 2 in Columbus.