Stats reveal extent of Pryor’s injury

OSU and Terrelle Pryor continue to claim that his early-October thigh injury was only minor. Yet, those of us who have been studying the quarterback for three years have noticed a significant dropoff in on-field performance during the last month, particularly in his rushing and scrambling ability.

Numerous times over the recent weeks, Pryor has been easily chased down from behind, or easily tripped up by light contact that he would have laughably shrugged off at any other point in his Buckeye career. Most notable was the his Boeckman-like play in the Wisconsin game. The way this year’s race for the NC game is evolving, hindsight will make that particular game so much more painful. What could have been had Wisconsin actually played against a healthy and mobile Pryor? It certainly dropped him out of Heisman contention.

Simply put, Pryor’s biggest asset – his elusiveness – simply disappeared in the 3rd quarter of the Illinois game, and didn’t start to make a return until last week at Minnesota.

The stats will tell the tale. We tabulated all of Pryor’s numbers from the season opener against Marshall to his early-3rd quarter injury against Illinois, and compared them against the numbers that followed his return in the 4th quarter of that same game to last week’s game against the Gophers. The number of quarters pre- and post-injury in which Pryor played are identical, as are nearly the overall number of snaps.

The difference is surprising:

Terrelle Pryor Rushing Stats, Pre- and Post-Injury
Rushing Att
Rush Yards
Rushing YPC
Pre-injury 53 371 7.0 3
Post-injury 31 92 3.0 1

Note the difference in YPC! The dropoff is twofold: Pryor has been sacked more often since his injury, and he’s no longer rushing for as many positive yards to make up any potential net loss.

At least he’s making up for it with increased passing numbers, right? Wrong. Overall the passing numbers have remained largely similar:

Terrelle Pryor Passing Stats, Pre- and Post-Injury
Passing Cmp/Att
Pass Yards
Passing YPA
Pre-injury 77/119 987 8.3 12 3
Post-injury 75/106 1010 9.5 8 4

Overall, the total passing numbers are nearly the same. There is a dropoff in TD passes, but that’s it’s uncertain how much of this difference can be attributed to Tressel’s new approach of relying on Boom Herron, or with opponents respecting Pryor’s arm in reaction to his early season success. Note, however, that his accuracy has improved significantly – from 65% before the injury to over 70% afterwards. In fact, against Minnesota he hit 82%.

The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. Last week against Minnesota he not only saw the end zone for the first time in almost a half-dozen games, he also averaged 11 ypc. Clearly his performace against the Gophers seems to imply that he’s nearing full strength again. Time will tell as OSU heads into the annual November gauntlet.

Want some encouraging news? Even though Pryor’s been far less than 100%, OSU’s offense has steadily risen to #5 in FO’s S&P rankings – a much-respected predictor of offensive strength.


  1. Pryor’s injury is actually another reason I am in favor of a playoff. Right now if OSU runs the table they get a BCS bowl game…all becuase Pryor was injured and didn’t play nearly as well as he could have if fully healthy.

    The BCS does not take into consideration things like injuries. With a playoff, Ohio State could run the table and grab an at large bid and from there….who knows.

  2. If he kept his rushing numbers on par before the injury, he’s only a couple hundred behind supposed Heisman front-runner (and embattled) Cam Newton.

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