for this game

Wells, Pryor help Ohio State steamroll Michigan State

Oct 19, 2008 - 2:07 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- In what was billed as a battle for supremacy in the Big Ten Conference, Chris "Beanie" Wells and Ohio State proved they still operate at a different level than Michigan State.

Wells ran for a season-high 140 yards and two touchdowns Saturday as the 11th-ranked Buckeyes pounded the 17th-ranked Spartans, 45-7, in a game that quickly deteriorated into a beatdown.

"If you want to be the champion, you are going to have to come up with good, tough wins on the road," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "So that is huge. They are a ranked opponent and a team playing with a lot of confidence."

Freshman Terrelle Pryor also enjoyed an outstanding game for Ohio State (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten), rushing for a touchdown and throwing for another score in the opening 10 1/2 minutes.

The Buckeyes raced to a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back, scoring a pair of defensive touchdowns in the second half to win their seventh straight meeting with the Spartans (6-2, 3-1).

It was the fifth straight victory for Ohio State, which has won at least a share of the Big Ten title each of the last three years. The Buckeyes can take another major step toward another league crown next Saturday when they host No. 3 Penn State.

Pryor, installed as the starting quarterback following a 35-3 loss at Southern California on September 13, struggled in last week's 16-3 victory over Purdue - a game in which the Buckeyes did not score an offensive touchdown.

On Friday, Pryor told Tressel to bench him if Ohio State's offense stalled again. But that clearly was not an issue.

"I was dead serious," Pryor said. "I told him, give me the ball during the first half. If I don't move it, I said you better sit me down and put Todd (Boeckman) in.

"He said, 'Terrelle, I believe in you, you'll do fine as long as you don't turn the ball over.' I needed that challenge because if I don't do great, I'll just be sitting down."

The Spartans, off to their best start since 2003, entered this contest seeking their first seven-game winning streak since 1978 and riding the outstanding play of Heisman Trophy hopeful Javon Ringer, the nation's leading rusher.

But Ohio State completely bottled up Ringer, who finished with season-lows of 67 yards and 16 carries, while limiting Michigan State to just 240 yards of total offense - most of which came in garbage time.

"It's tough to run the ball when you fall behind by so much so fast," Ringer said. "Ohio State just played a great game offensively and defensively, and we didn't answer the bell when we needed to.

"I've been saying all week I don't want to go through my whole college career without beating a specific opponent, Ohio State being one of them. ... Congrats to Ohio State - they got the best of us today."

Pryor gave Ohio State the lead for good at 7-0 midway through the first quarter when he raced along the left side for an 18-yard TD run.

Michigan State wide receiver Keshawn Martin fumbled on the ensuing possession, and defensive back Donald Washington reeled off a 42-yard return to the Spartans 17-yard line.

Five plays later, Pryor rolled to his right before throwing across his body to Brian Robiskie for a 7-yard TD and a 14-0 lead.

"(Pryor) played pretty good," Wells said. "He had some little mishaps out there, but that happened to all of us out there."

Pryor ran for 72 yards on 12 carries and also completed 7-of-11 passes for 116 yards.

"It didn't surprise me," Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. "(Pryor) was the No. 1 recruit in the country, everybody wanted the guy. ... Pryor made plays while we didn't make plays. He's a great athlete and a great player."

Pryor showed off his strong arm later in the quarter when he leaned on his back foot and lofted a perfectly thrown 56-yard pass to Brian Hartline, who was tackled at the 1. Wells, who missed three games earlier this season due to a foot injury, scored his first TD of the game on the following play.

Wells capped off a 78-yard drive with his second scoring run, a 12-yarder that made it 21-0 with 6 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half.

Defensive end Thaddeus Gibson and defensive back Jermale Hines scored on long returns following fumble recoveries in the second half for the Buckeyes.

Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer completed just 5-of-13 passes for 27 yards before being replaced by Kirk Cousins, who finished 18-of-24 for 162 yards and accounted for the Spartans' only score of the game - a 3-yard TD pass to Charlie Gantt.

"It was obviously not a very good game today," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "Inability to tackle, turnovers, and we lost a very good opportunity I think to make an impact on this country. The most important thing to me is how we're going to refocus and play next week."