What if Terrelle Pryor had been a Nittany Lion?

Posted by Jeff Rice on June 8, 2011 

The following is a hypothetical (HYPOTHETICAL, people) depiction of the last four years if Terrelle Pryor had decided to matriculate at Penn State instead of Ohio State. No names have been changed. Just about everything else has.

March 2008 -- Shortly after leading Jeannette to the PIAA basketball championship, Pryor calls an impromptu news conference at the Joe Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium and announces, using six different ball caps and three mascots as visual aids, that he will attend Penn State. Lions defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who recruited Pryor, is carried to work for two weeks on the shoulders of a pack of grateful students.

August 2008 -- Pryor plays precisely two snaps of Penn State's 58-3 win over Coastal Carolina. One is a 63-yard incomplete pass in the third quarter; the other is a 56-yard touchdown run in which he carries two Chanticleer defenders the remaining 10 yards into the end zone. Lions backup Pat Devlin is seen shaking his head on the sideline.

October 2008 -- Pryor enters the game at Ohio State in relief of Daryll Clark, who had suffered a concussion, but has trouble moving the ball against a stubborn Buckeye defense. Meanwhile, fifth-year senior QB Todd Boeckman has uninspiring (14-27, 133 yards) but turnover-free performance as Buckeyes hold off the third-ranked Nittany Lions, 17-13.

Jan 2009 -- The Southern California Trojans throttle Penn State 38-24 in the Rose Bowl. Pryor watches from his couch in Jeannette after being left off the bowl roster for being late to a pair of bowl practices. Kevin Newsome enrolls in classes a semester early at the University of West Virginia.

September 2009 -- Penn State hammers Akron 28-0 in home opener despite Nittany Lions' incredible decision to line up Clark, Pryor and Evan Royster in the same backfield and run the triple option, which results in two fumbles and a mild ankle sprain for Royster. A week later, Pryor is seen playing pickup games with Talor Battle in the IM Building but tells reporters he is sticking with football.

October 2009 -- Pryor is suspended for "an unspecified violation of team rules" two days before Penn State's game at Michigan. He is spotted driving a new Dodge Charger on campus, the third car he has been seen in since the start of the season. Final-minute touchdown run by Boom Herron allows Ohio State to nip Penn State 21-20 in Beaver Stadium.

November 2009 -- Pryor announces his decision to transfer to LSU. Penn State does not issue formal comment.

January 2010 -- Nittany Lions nip LSU in Capital One Bowl. Oregon waxes Joe Bauserman and Ohio State in Rose Bowl. Pryor, four days after receiving an underage drinking citation in New Orleans, changes his mind and elects to enroll in classes at Ohio State.

August 2010 -- Penn State begins preseason camp with quarterbacks Rob Bolden and Paul Jones sharing first-team repetitions, but coaches are impressed by plucky walk-on Matt McGloin.

December 2010 -- Columbus Dispatch reports four Ohio State players (Pryor is not among them) received cash and discounted tattoos from a local tattoo parlor; head coach Jim Tressel denies knowledge of the improprieties.

January 2011 -- Rob Bolden leads Penn State to win over Florida in Outback Bowl.

May 2011 -- Tressel resigns in wake of scandal. Pryor, who has been waiting for a year to play again, decides to enter NFL supplemental draft.

Could it have happened? Sure. Would it have happened? Maybe. It's not much stranger than the actual chain of events that turned Columbus on its head. When they said Pryor was a program-changer, they were right, in more ways than one. But Ohio State would have gone down sooner or later no matter where the giant quarterback decided to play football.

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