Much has been written in recent weeks about Terrelle Pryor, including by me. Following his game-winning heroics against Wisconsin, we're likely to hear even more. ESPN even named the quarterback its player of the game for Ohio State, which is fine, except ... DID YOU NOT WATCH BEANIE WELLS?
For most of Saturday night's showdown in Madison, the Badgers did an exceptional job containing the Buckeyes' freshman phenom. Every time you thought Pryor was about to break a big run, there was a Wisconsin defender to meet him at the line of scrimmage. (Pryor gained 20 yards on 15 attempts). And when he passed, the Badgers often forced him to go deep into his progressions, which, not surprisingly, proved difficult for the freshman.
But stopping Pryor is only half the battle for Ohio State's opponents. You've now got to deal with a healthy Wells. Somehow, the same guy whose toe once caused a week's worth of news coverage fell off the radar these past few weeks. But there he was Saturday night, rushing 22 times for 168 yards and a touchdown. It was his highest yardage total since last year's Michigan game.
Think Jim Tressel might be happy to have him back?
Even with Wells' performance, the Buckeyes found themselves down 17-13 with 6:31 remaining. That's when Pyror seemed to elevate his game. On a 14-play, 80-yard drive, Pryor made four huge plays. On third and 6, he stood tall in the pocket and found Brian Hartline for a 19-yard strike. Two plays later, he hit a wide-open Hartline over the middle for 27 yards. After losing 4 yards on a first down at Wisconsin's 24, he hit Roy Small for a 13-yard gain.
And then came the winning play, one that will undoubtedly strike fear in the hearts of future OSU opponents. Is there any scarier scenario than Pryor and Wells running the option? Wisconsin bit and headed straight for Wells, leaving Pryor to run nearly untouched for an 11-yard touchdown.
Pryor showed the necessary poise to win a tough game on the road. He made few glaring freshman mistakes. He managed the game well. But the reality is, Ohio State does not win that game -- and Pryor most likely doesn't score that touchdown - without the threat of Beanie in the backfield.
The Buckeyes' victory likely put an end to Wisconsin's Big Ten title hopes. The Badgers already have two losses. The best they can hope to do is play spoiler when Penn State comes to town next weekend.
There's a pretty good chance the Big Ten title will be decided Oct. 25 when the No. 6 Nittany Lions visit Columbus. We'll find out that night which is the more powerful weapon: The Spread HD or Beanie?