There has been a lot made of the matchup between Oregon's offense and Ohio State's defense, but unfortunately that leaves out many other storylines in the Rose Bowl. One of those that is important to watch is the progression of Terrelle Pryor. Most college football fans will be watching Masoli closely on the other side of the ball, but Pryor has the potential to grab all the press clips when the clock hits zero. In fact, I think it is time for Pryor to show that he has taken the next step forward for the Buckeyes. Fans have waited for his coming out party and the Rose Bowl will provide the national exposure for him to have a breakout moment, much like what Troy Smith and Vince Young experienced.
Pryor has taken a ton of criticism this season for his decision making and leadership, and many in the media have been disappointed in his progress as a quarterback. It's hard to blame them. He has had his fair share of turnovers, struggled to show consistency as a passer, and has worn his emotions on his sleeve for everyone to see. Not hard to understand why Masoli has been the focus, and Pryor has been a mere backstory.
There is reason for hope though.
His most recent play shows that he is heading in the right direction. Since the Purdue game his has thrown for six touchdowns compared to two interceptions. On top of that, he has been increasingly productive as a runner, averaging 6.72 a carry with three touchdowns. I realize that they are not mind blowing statistics, but they show Pryor is also headed in the right direction.
So, the Rose Bowl could finally be the stage where everything comes together for him. His progression may have not been on the timetable that the media or fans expected, but Pryor is moving forward. Even better, watch for him to take a step forward on January 1st. I am not saying he looks flawless or goes without mistake, but plan on the offense looking sharp. Maybe Pryor's quote to Ken Gordon about the offense's progression said it best.
"We've gone from a Honda to maybe an Infiniti. We're not in the Cadillac/(Mercedes) Benz territory yet."