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More Sugar Bowl videos, including: Sugar Bowl Speed Game: Ohio State Beats Arkansas, another great Ohio State Sugar Bowl Highlight Video, Jim Tressel and Ohio State 2011 Sugar Bowl Halftime Speech, 2011 Sugar Bowl - Bad Call: Safety. Ohio State vs. Arkansas, Ohio State Comments On Victory in 2011 Sugar Bowl, Pryor on field interview after Sugar Bowl, Cheapshot by Wade Grayson on Cameron Heyward, Ohio State Sugar Bowl Hype Highlights...
Final grains from the Sugar Bowl: 10 things from Doug Lesmeries January 5, 2011 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "...1. The no-huddle was perfect: It should go down as one of Jim Tressel's better coaching moves at Ohio State...3. The onside kick is still stunning: Tressel plotted it for weeks. Weeks. Take it as a sign of respect for Mallett, and remember it as the rare time when Tressel took a risk and put his defense in bad position...4. The idea of the least-known of the Suspended Five icing the game with an interception is almost too much, but just what Solomon Thomas needed...5. The biggest playmaker? Cameron Heyward: He was out of ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's top 25 draft prospects entering bowl season, but jumped back to No. 21 with maybe the best game of his career...7. Special teams were special for Arkansas: Ohio State lost its only game this season thanks in part to special teams, with Wisconsin returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. A blocked punt almost cost the Sugar Bowl, and the Razorbacks pinned Ohio State deep with three punts inside the 5. That doesn't sit well with Tressel.
10 Things We Learned from a Memorable Sugar Bowl Win January 5, 2011 Source: The Ozone - "...1.Ohio State needed the five juniors to win this game...Many felt the Buckeyes would be better off without them. They were wrong. Whatever you think about the five juniors, there is no question the Buckeyes needed all of them to beat Arkansas last night...Without them, especially Pryor, the Buckeyes would have been run off the field by the Razorbacks. That’s not a knock on the rest of the players, but there’s no way a team with Joe Bauserman running the offense could have competed...
2. Dane Sanzenbacher really was their Most Valuable Player...It was Sanzenbacher who jumped on the loose ball in the end zone after Pryor fumbled inside the five. It was also Sanzenbacher who made a great catch on a questionable ball thrown by Pryor in the end zone. Those plays were largely forgotten because of the way the game played out, but they were two of the biggest in the game...
3. Cam Heyward left it all on the field. If there was anyone more valuable to the Buckeyes than Sanzenbacher or Pryor Tuesday night, it had to be Cam Heyward. Despite the best efforts of Arkansas players to knock Heyward out of the game, the senior defensive lineman completely dominated the Razorbacks up front. They tried to block him one-on-one with left tackle DeMarcus Love, but Heyward tossed him aside with ease. They tried to double-team him, but even that didn’t work. Officially he finished with six tackles, one sack and 3.5 tackles-for-loss, but his impact on the game was much greater than anything that showed up in the box score. Playing in his final game at Ohio State in the city where his dad started his pro career, Heyward played one of the most dominant games of his entire career. Mallett had to feel like Heyward was coming at him from all directions and he pretty much was.
4. Ryan Mallett is Ryan Mallett...There were some throws, in particular the touchdown passes to Joe Adams and Jarius Wright, where Mallett looked like he was already playing in the NFL...He also made some nice plays to avoid Ohio State’s pressure by stepping up in the pocket and throwing great passes on the move... It was his interception in the final minute, with the game on the line, however that makes Mallett Mallett. It was that play, when Arkansas had a chance to win the game after blocking an OSU punt, that will cause him to slide down the draft board behind Andrew Luck and possibly even Blaine Gabbert.
5. Buckeyes were better up front. A big reason Mallett threw that interception was the pressure Ohio State had gotten all night. Much like they did against Oregon last year, the front-four dominated the line of scrimmage...Heyward, Dexter Larimore, John Simon and Nathan Williams were at their best, with solid contributions from Thomas, Adam Bellamy and Garrett Goebel off the bench. They overpowered the Arkansas offensive line and kept OSU Defensive Coordinator Jim Heacock from having to blitz Mallett the way teams like LSU did. Of course it was a blitz by Ross Homan on that final play that caused Mallett to rush his throw to tight end D.J. Williams...
6. Tressel opened it up in the first half, then buttoned it up...The Buckeyes came out with a hurry-up offense that caught Arkansas off guard, and quickly put 28 points on the board in the first half. They called some plays they haven’t used all year, including a nifty play-fake to tight end Reid Fragel that looked like it came directly out of Rich Rodriguez’ playbook. Then, just as quickly as he had opened it up, Tressel buttoned it back up in the second half...Tressel clung tightly to page-one of his playbook like he was Woody Hayes coaching against USC. Even with the Razorbacks selling out on the run...He tried to win the game running Pryor and Herron against nine guys in the box.
7. Field position is critical. A big reason Tressel shut it down in the second half was Ohio State’s terrible field position. Arkansas punter Dylan Breeding played the game of his life, putting the Buckeyes inside the five on four different occasions. One of those led to a safety when Herron was (allegedly) tackled in the end zone, but even the other three punts were drive-killers.
8. Defense won the game for Ohio State. People are going to point to that offensive outburst in the first half as the reason Ohio State won this game, but it was the defense that carried them down the stretch. The Buckeyes managed only three points in the second half, which meant the defense had to be at its best against Mallett and Co...they also came up with some huge stops in the fourth quarter. The interception by Thomas was the big one, but let’s not forget that Heyward and the boys on defense kept Arkansas out of the end zone for the entire fourth quarter. They held the Razorbacks to just 5-of-16 on third downs and sacked Mallett four times in the victory.
9. Special teams must improve drastically next season...Ohio State’s that nearly cost them another game. After a failed on-side kick early in the game, the Buckeyes almost cost themselves a win with a blocked field goal in the final minutes. For some reason, they have copied what other teams are doing with the spread punt formation, and it allowed Arkansas to come right up the middle for the block. It was just the latest in a season of special teams gaffes for Tressel’s squad...
10. Buckeyes were fortunate to have Christian Bryant back...With three players already out of the game with season-ending injuries, the Buckeyes lost All-American cornerback Chimdi Chekwa to a separated wrist in the first half against Arkansas...It was another blow for a depleted secondary, but the Buckeyes were very fortunate to have freshman Christian Bryant back healthy after he missed the second-half of the season with a foot injury...Then Howard went down with cramps and Dominic Clarke was forced into the game. Had Bryant not been available, the Buckeyes might have been forced to take the redshirt off freshman Bradley Roby..."
Our Sugar Bowl Play of the Game: Solomon Thomas' interception of a Ryan Mallet pass to preserve the Buckeyes' 31-26 victory over Arkansas.
With less than a minute left in the game and Arkansas facing a 2nd and 10 at the Ohio State 18, Ryan Mallett's pass is intercepted by Thomas at the OSU 17. "I didn't see the guy," Mallett said. "I tried to get rid of it quick. They had pressure coming. I didn't see him. He made a great play." Thomas yelled on the field as his teammates celebrated around him, "That was the second interception of my whole life. It feels great."
The ending of Sugar Bowl 2011 with the punt block and Thomas' subsequent interception Source: MlbIndian
Thomas' pick hard to forget: Defensive end is facing suspension, but for now is enjoying bowl victory...He was sick all week, soon to be suspended and a backup player who had never intercepted a pass. There may not have been a more unlikely Sugar Bowl hero for Ohio State than Solomon Thomas. Yet it was Thomas, a junior defensive end, who snagged Ryan Mallett's pass in the final minute Tuesday to preserve Ohio State's 31-26 victory over Arkansas. Asked when he last had an interception, Thomas started talking about a practice in August. How about in a game? "Never," he marveled. "College, high school, ever."...It appeared the Buckeyes' 0-9 bowl-game drought against Southeastern Conference teams would be extended. But Thomas, who said he plays about 10-15 plays a game, dropped off the line as the Buckeyes (12-1) brought a zone blitz. "My responsibility was to take two hard steps up field, drop back (and) find any (crossing receivers)," Thomas said..." Source: Columbus Dispatch 1/6/11
"It's good to wash my name of negativity. It's really good," Thomas said after the Buckeyes' 31-26 win. "A lot of people were offended because I hadn't even played and I sold my gold pants and sold my ring. They felt I was really a spoiled brat for selling my stuff that I haven't even earned. I got a lot of remarks about not even earning those gold pants. So it's not revenge, but it just shows we're all hard workers. The coaches just told me it was just a matter of time before my time comes."
His time came on a zone blitz, as the Buckeyes dropped two of their front four defenders - Thomas and Cameron Heyward - into coverage on second-and-10 from the 18-yardline. Heyward intercepted a pass on a similar call against Miami earlier in the season.
"I still don't know where the receiver was," Thomas said. "But it might have been the receiver gloves I wear. I wear receiver gloves and linebacker gloves. We opt out of the defensive lineman gloves."
Thomas was maybe the most articulate Buckeye when the players publicly apologized in Columbus before the team left for Columbus - "That guy, he's a great kid," OSU receiver DeVier Posey said. "I'm so happy he made that play," - but obviously, players are best known for what they do on the field...
"I just want to thank Buckeye Nation," Thomas said. "It's amazing to come back and, not redeem myself, but to show I can provide for this team and this nation.
"I'm not a starter. I haven't really contributed much to my defense. I don't look at myself as a bad player. I'm not contributing because of great players ahead of me, but I feel like we're all playmakers on The Silver Bullet defense..." Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer 1/5/11
Terrelle Pryor piles up 336 total yards as Buckeyes hold on: "...The Razorbacks had a chance to pull off an improbable comeback when they blocked a punt with the clock winding down. Two plays later, Thomas surprised Ryan Mallett by dropping into coverage, and Arkansas' star quarterback threw the ball right to the 255-pound defensive end. "That was the second interception of my whole life," Thomas yelled on the field as his teammates celebrated around him. "It feels great."..."I didn't see the guy," Mallett said. "I tried to get rid of it quick. They had pressure coming. I didn't see him. He made a great play."...Pryor and Thomas were among five Ohio State juniors given five-game suspensions by the NCAA for selling memorabilia and getting discounted tattoos. But they don't have to start serving their penalties until next season, giving them time to come up big for the Buckeyes in the Big Easy. A thank-you note to the governing body might be in order. The group of suspended players also included Dan Herron and DeVier Posey, who each scored a touchdown, as well as starting left tackle Mike Adams..."Their contributions were important," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel acknowledged. "They're great kids. And I'm looking forward. ... We've got a plan. And if we'll stick with our plan, we'll be fine."...Throw in Mallett's big mistake at the end, and it was enough for Ohio State to escape with its first bowl win against the SEC. "They have a great conference. No one would refute that," Tressel said. "To beat a team like that is special..." Source: ESPN 1/4/11
Buckeyes' quarterback Terrelle Pryor discusses his future at Ohio State Source: FoxSports 1/4/11
Terrelle Pryor's shining moment in NOLA: "Terrelle Pryor had another amazing performance in a BCS Bowl game, but the most important moment he had will never show up in the box score...Physically supported by teammates James Louis and Andrew Sweat, unable to stand without assistance after suffering a foot injury on Ohio State's final drive, Pryor was being interviewed on national TV. Without even being asked about his upcoming suspension, Pryor let loose a teary-eyed apology.
"They kept on preaching how we're a football family when everything goes bad, and that's exactly what happened," Pryor said. "They stuck with me and I love all my teammates for that. "I apologize to Buckeye Nation. We made dumb mistakes two years ago and the NCAA had to do their job and take us out. Man, I apologize to everybody." It was a genuine, honest and beautiful statement...
Terrelle Pryor gets it. Given a chance to play by the NCAA, and being taken to task by Jim Tressel this week, finally got through Pryor's skull, and the outcome was there for a national-TV audience to soak in. If Pryor can keep that moment fresh in his mind, he's got a chance at redemption. Remembering what it was like to feel genuine remorse, being held up literally and figuratively by his teammates, can be a powerful moment in time. The next step is living up to his word, and returning for his senior season at Ohio State..." Source: FoxSports Ohio 1/5/11
The 'Vest Bump'
Ohio State working on appeal of NCAA suspensions January 5, 2011 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "OSU will use same points that kept players in bowl...The moment the Sugar Bowl was over last night, Ohio State officials turned their attention to preparing their appeal of the five-game suspensions the NCAA levied last month against five players...Smith said he and the school's compliance department had some discussions while they were in New Orleans. "We have to develop our rationale for the appeal," Smith said. "Many of the things we'll build it upon will be the same stuff" that Ohio State included in its successful argument to reinstate the players for the bowl game.
In other words, Ohio State once again will point out that the school did not begin to explicitly tell players it could not sell certain items (rings, gold pants pendants, etc.) until November 2009, after the violations occurred. And it will include what players told school officials in their investigation - that the players used the money to help their families.
"And there's been some other things that evolved from there," Smith said. "So we'll go through developing that and probably just when we get back from the bowl game, we'll get (the appeal) in."...The appeal will be heard by a six-member committee - different people than the ones who heard Ohio State's case for reinstatement for the Sugar Bowl. "The committee will interview the kids," Smith said. "We'll set that up around their class schedules. We're not going to rush it..."
CFN Sugar Analysis - Ohio St 31, Arkansas 26 January 5, 2011 Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - "...The CFN writers give their thoughts on Ohio State's breakthrough win...Most bizarre about the victory was that one of Tressel Ball’s basic tenets, the need to win the special teams battle, blew up for the Buckeyes. Arkansas came up with one of the greatest all-around kicking performances in BCS history, with Zach Hocker nailing all three shots from 20, 46, and 47 yards away and punter Dylan Breeding averaging 43.7 yards on seven punts , putting four kicks inside the 20. Breeding crushed the Buckeyes with bad field position in several key spots in the game. Throw in the blocked punt by the Hogs and Tressel won’t be happy.
- If you had told the OSU coaches that Ryan Mallett would only throw for 56 more yards than Pryor, they’d have been measuring their head size for championship hats.
- If you had told the Arkansas coaches that Knile Davis would run for 139 yards and average 5.3 yards per pop against the nation’s No. 3 ranked run defense, they would’ve led the S-E-C, S-E-C chant before the game started.
- Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward just proved that he might be the most versatile top defensive line in the 2011 NFL Draft.
- Plenty will be made out of the Arkansas dropped passes, but Ryan Mallett wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be under pressure. He didn’t handle himself in and out of the pocket like he normally does, but when he had time to throw, he put up some beautiful deep touch passes.
Doesn’t Ohio State WR Dane Sanzenbacher look like the kind of receiver who’ll be catching 55 passes from Peyton Manning or Tom Brady two years from now? He won’t be one of the top 5 receivers taken in April, but he just knows how to play his position and will wind up out performing his draft position at the next level.
How could the ACC refs fail to blow a play dead due to forward progress at the Ohio State 2, instead of allowing Dan Herron to be driven three yards into the end zone, disengage from a tackler, and be re-tackled for a ridiculous safety? (To be clear: Herron disengaged; that point is not up for debate or dispute. Of course he shed the tackler, without the whistle being blown, and was then re-tackled. The salient point is that when a running back gets driven five yards backwards, the whistle should be blown. Forward progress has clearly been stopped in such a case.)..."
Gameball goes to...: Cameron Heyward, who led Ohio State's impressive defensive performance, keeping Arkansas' offense in check.
Star of the game: It was a tie between Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward and quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Heyward suffered an elbow injury but still inspired the defense in his final game. Pryor set a career record for rushing by an OSU quarterback and tied the school record for career touchdown passes.
What he said: "This one was for our seniors."
What he meant: "Who I didn't make promise to return next season."
JT's Record: Tressel is 106-22 in his 10th year at Ohio State and 241-79-2 overall. He is the second-winningest active FBS coach. Ohio State is 6-4 in bowl games and 5-3 in BCS bowls under Tressel. He is now 37-15 against ranked teams at Ohio State and 10-8 against the Top 10 (AP and Coaches).
Jim Tressel, Buckeyes head coach, said it: "I think it's a big deal because Arkansas is a great team. The fact that it happens to be an SEC team, that makes you maybe even a little bit prouder because you know how good that league is." - on the Sugar Bowl victory
Jim Tressel, Buckeyes head coach, said it II: "Their contributions were important. They're great kids. And I'm looking forward... We've got a plan. And if we'll stick with our plan, we'll be fine." - on the suspended players after the game.
Solomon Thomas, Buckeyes Jr DE, said it: "That was the second interception of my whole life. It feels great." - Thomas yelled on the field as his teammates celebrated around him.
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas QB, said it: "I didn't see the guy. I tried to get rid of it quick. They had pressure coming. I didn't see him. He made a great play." - on Thomas 4th quarter interception
Solomon Thomas, Buckeyes Jr DE, said it II: "I just want to thank Buckeye Nation. It's amazing to come back and, not redeem myself, but to show I can provide for this team and this nation."
Jermale Hines, Buckeyes Sr S, said it: "I don't care who it is out there, fourth string, fifth string, walk-on - it doesn't matter. If you're on the Buckeye defense, our attitude is 'We've got to get the job done at all costs,' and that's what we went out there and did."
Terrelle Pryor, Buckeyes Jr QB, said it: "I don't think I'm ready for the NFL. I got a lot of learning to do and better decision-making to make, on and off the field." - when asked if he plans to return for his senior year.
Did You Know: Ohio State is 99-17 since the start of the 2002 season, the third-best record among FBS teams.
Did You Know II: Terrelle Pryor is now 31-4 as Ohio State's starting quarterback, tying Greene (31-3-1) for the second-most wins among Ohio State quarterbacks (Art Schlichter 36-11-1).
Did You Know III: Dexter Larimore recorded a career-high 2.0 sacks for 17 yards.
Did You Know IV:
Did You Know IV:Cameron Heyward recorded 3.0 TFL, tying his career high.
Did You Know V: Ross Homan led the Buckeyes with 9.0 tackles.
How the team sees it: Finally!
How the pollsters will see it: Buckeyes prove they're best of the Big Ten, which is like saying you're the best apple of a wormy batch, but better than nothing.
How Buckeye Nation will see it: Mark May can stick it where the sun doesn't shine.
In the polls: Ohio State will certainly finish in the top five of the final polls next week. The Buckeyes are ranked sixth, and a loss by No.4 Wisconsin to No.3 TCU in the Rose Bowl should make it happen
Stat of the game...: 1. Ohio State notched its first victory over the SEC in a bowl game. The Buckeyes were 0-9 entering the game.
Best/worst special teams decision: An onside kick in the first quarter of the Sugar Bowl? It's hard to believe that Jim Tressel called it and that the Buckeyes rebounded to take the lead back after it didn't work and Arkansas scored on the short field, needing to move the ball just 51 yards to knot the game at 7.
What went right?: The zone blitz on the last defensive play. With Cameron Heyward, the defensive MVP for the Buckeyes, playing so relentlessly, it's no wonder that Razorbacks quarterback Ryan Mallett passed away from him and to his right, not noticing that Thomas had dropped off the line. Thomas made a fantastic move to make the interception and pluck one of the great souvenirs in Ohio State bowl history.
Best replacement: Christian Bryant; Buckeyes were fortunate that the freshman was healthy. He was needed.
Best timeout: Leading, 21-7, in the middle of the second quarter, the Buckeyes stopped Arkansas near midfield after defensive lineman Cameron Heyward blew up a second-and-1 running play and the Razorbacks' Joe Adams dropped a third-down pass. Facing fourth-and-4 at their own 46, Arkansas lined up to punt, but the Buckeyes had 12 men on the field. Before Arkansas could get the punt off, Ohio State called a timeout, took a player off the field and didn't allow the Razorbacks any momentum.
Numbers for dummies:
16: Chants of "Woo Pig! Soooie! that echoed through the Superdome
1-0: Ohio State's bowl record vs. SEC teams from Arkansas (hey, never say we don't keep it positive)
28: Points scored by the Buckeyes in the first half, more than in any of their other three Sugar Bowl appearances for the whole game.
0: Previous Daniel Herron fumbles before he committed one in the fourth quarter
They said it:
As heard on TV: The ESPN duo of Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge are as smooth and solid as they come, and the Sugar Bowl broadcast was no exception. Blackledge deserves a hearty atta-boy for coining "Vest Bump" after Pryor and Tressel bumped chests after an OSU touchdown (although OSU football radio color analyst Jim Lachey may have used it earlier in the game). But no one is perfect, right? And neither were these two. Boom Herron became Bam and Cameron Heyward became Haywood.
Best thing for OSU fans to do Wednesday: Watch the Under Armour High School All-American game on ESPN at 7 p.m. It will feature Huber Heights Wayne quarterback Braxton Miller, otherwise known as "The Possible Ohio State Starting Quarterback for the Start of 2011."
One-liner: Arkansas fans on opposite side of field look confused when TBDBITL performed at halftime. They don't know what script OIHO spells.
Just wondering: What will this win do for the Buckeyes' reputation? On one hand, Ohio State was in a no-win situation in that a win would be questioned because of the suspended players seeing action. A loss, meanwhile, would be seen as OSU's receiving its just desserts. But the SEC bowl drought has been so long and painful that maybe all will be forgiven.
Worth the trip?: If the gumbo and jambalaya didn't upset the stomach, the second half did. In other words, the spice of both N'awlins and the Sugar Bowl made you feel like you were alive. Plus, tickets were going for $20 at kickoff. What's not to like?
Repercussion: The Buckeyes are going to keep hearing about the NCAA's decision to let Pryor, Solomon and the three other players play. But at least they won't be hearing about that 0-9 bowl record against the Southeastern Conference anymore.
Drawing board: Someone must have erased many of the offensive plays for the Buckeyes at halftime. The offense barely broke a sweat in the second half. Talk about playing with house money, leading 28-10, the offense barely anted up in the second half with a lone field goal from Devin Barclay.
Putting a cap on it: A 12-1 season is nothing to discount, especially when it's capped by a victory in a BCS game that ended a nine-game losing streak against SEC teams in bowl games. Yet this was a near-great Ohio State team that, were it not for those first 20 minutes in the loss at Wisconsin, likely would have been playing Monday night.
(Sources: ESPN/OSU Official Site/Columbus Dispatch/Cleveland Plain Dealer/Toledo Blade)
As they say in French down here: “Let the good times roll!” No. 6 Ohio State snapped an 0-9 streak against SEC teams in bowl games by holding on late vs. No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks for a 31-26 nail-biter in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Tuesday before 73,879 fans.
The Buckeyes finish 2010 with a 12-1 record while Arkansas dropped to 10-3. In addition, the win also allowed Ohio State to tie Southern California with its sixth Bowl Championship Series bowl victory, an FBS record.
Terrelle Pryor, who had 336 total yards of offense and two TD passes, was named MVP of the bowl, but it was reserve defensive lineman Solomon Thomas who came up a most unexpected play of the game.
After Ohio State failed to salt away the game clock and was forced to punt from its own 38-yard line with just more than a minute remaining, Arkansas blocked Ben Buchanan’s kick and recovered the ball at the OSU 18.
Following an Arkansas incompletion on first down, Thomas drifted back into coverage and picked off Mallet for his first career interception and what turned out to be the game-sealing play. Pryor took a knee in victory formation, ending the drama to the joy of thousands of Buckeye fans who made the trek to the Big Easy.
Ohio State went wild in the first half by scoring four touchdowns behind a dominant offense to build a 28-10 lead at the break. The Buckeyes would only muster a 47-yard field goal by Devin Barclay in the second half, opening the door for the Razorback rally.
On its first possession, Ohio State marched 74 yards in eight plays to grab a quick 7-0 lead. Pryor capped the drive with a 37-yard running play. He fumbled at the end and Sanzenbacher recovered it in the end zone for the score. Corey “Philly” Brown had a big 13-yard reception on third down to keep the drive alive.
The Buckeyes went 68 yards in seven plays for a touchdown on their second possession for a 14-7 lead at the 7:17 mark of the first quarter. A 31-yard completion to Sanzenbacher set Ohio State up on the Arkansas 21 and Dan “Boom” Herron rushed twice to cover the remaining yards to pay dirt for his 12th consecutive game with a score. Herron finished the game with 87 yards on 24 carries.
After Arkansas failed on a fourth and 1 play from the Ohio State 30 when Cameron Heyward batted away a Mallett pass at the line of scrimmage, Ohio State drove 70 yards for its third score of the game. Pryor fired a perfect pass to a well-defensed Sanzenbacher, but the senior from Toledo made the catch for a 15-yard touchdown and a 21-7 Ohio State lead. A big play in the drive was a 42-yard completion from Pryor to Reid Fragel down to the Arkansas 28. Sanzenbacher totaled three catches in the game for 59 yards.
Just inside of two minutes to play in the half, Ohio State struck again. Pryor found DeVier Posey with a 43-yard touchdown pass play. Posey made a marvelous catch, turning 180 degrees to pull the ball in over his left shoulder to extend the lead to 28-7. Pryor’s impressive stat line included 115 yards on 15 carries and 221 more yards through the air on 14 of 25 passing.
Arkansas had initially tied the score at 7-apiece when Mallett connected first with D.J. Williams on an 18-yard gainer and then with Joey Williams on the game-tying touchdown one play later. The 51-yard drive was set up by a short Ohio State kickoff.
Arkansas kicked a field goal at the end of the first half to cut the lead to 28-10. Another field goal early in the third quarter got the Hog fans going once again with the score 28-13.
With momentum now in the Arkansas corner, Mallet led and capped another third-quarter scoring drive, finding Jarius Wright for a 22-yard touchdown in the corner of the endzone despite blanket coverage by OSU senior DB Devon Torrence. Mallet then found D.J. Williams in the flat for a successful 2-point conversion and a 31-21 score. The drive covered 75 yards on seven plays and took just 58 seconds.
In the fourth quarter, Arkansas used another win in the field position battle and tackled Herron in the in the endzone for a safety, making the score 31-23 with 11:52 to play.
A 24-yard Mallet connection to Wright highlighted the ensuing Arkansas drive before kicker Zach Hocker booted a 47-yard field goal, cutting the Ohio State lead to just five at 31-26.
Now entangled in a one-possession game, several Pryor scrambles moved the chains for the Buckeyes on their next drive. However, a Herron fumble on a fourthand a foot play at the 37 yard-line with 6:10 to play gave Arkansas possession in OSU territory. Ohio State recovered the loose ball but lost yardage turned the ball back to the Razorbacks.
Ohio State Report Card Sugar Bowl January 5, 2011 Source: Lancaster Eagle Gazette - "OFFENSIVE LINE: The Buckeyes clearly won the battle in the trenches in the first half, affording Terrelle Pryor much more protection than Ryan Mallett got from the misnamed Hogs. The running game, except for Pryor's scrambles, was only average...The second half was a different story with the OSU offense grinding to a halt and the Arkansas defense starting to overwhelm the front five. GRADE: C
RUNNING GAME: The Arkansas defense that gave up 56 points to Auburn showed up in the first half...Those open lanes weren't there in the second half, Pryor started to lose some composure and the Razorbacks roared back to make it a game. In the end, Pryor (115 yards rushing) and Herron (84) were able to chew up enough ground and eat enough clock to secure the win. GRADE: C
PASSING GAME: Team MVP Sanzenbacher figured in OSU's first three scores...Tight end Reid Fragel had a career-long 44-yard catch before Sanzenbacher's touchdown reception. DeVier Posey made a nice adjustment on a jump ball that went for a 43-yard score and seemed to put the game out of reach. Seemed. GRADE: B
DEFENSIVE LINE: Defensive end Solomon Thomas...made the play of his nondescript career with the game-sealing interception -- the only turnover of the game. Cam Heyward picked a good time to have his best game in a largely sub-par season. His pressure forced a third-down incompletion from Mallett on the game's opening series. A bigger play came in the second quarter when he batted down a pass on fourth-and-1 from the OSU 30. The whole line fed off Heyward's inspired play with Dexter Larimore in on three of the Buckeyes' four sacks. Larimore only had two sacks all season. GRADE: A minus
LINEBACKERS: The outstanding job done up front in pressuring Mallett masked the trouble the Buckeyes had all night stopping bullish running back Knile Davis. The linebacking crew made no impact plays... GRADE: C
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Wide receiver Joe Adams was the Buckeyes' best friend, dropping three passes, and they needed one when All-America corner Chimdi Chekwa left with a wrist injury in the first quarter. Travis Howard (cramps) and Jermale Hines (toe) added to the misery for a secondary that has been banged up all season...The Buckeyes gave up two scoring passes, but they were perfectly thrown balls against good coverage. GRADE: B
SPECIAL TEAMS: The kicking game, OSU's Achilles' heel, all season almost killed the Buckeyes. Ben Buchanan's punt was blocked in the final minute, giving the Hogs the ball inside the 20 with a chance to score the winning touchdown...Arkansas' first score was set up by a poorly-executed kickoff by Drew Basil that gave the Hogs the ball near midfield. (Webmaster Note: Tressel said that was a planned "onside kick.") The Buckeyes did a nice job of keeping Adams bottled up. He came in averaging nearly 18 yards per punt return. Clearly, the special teams star was Arkansas punter Dylan Breeding, three of his kicks downed at the OSU 3, 1 and 4. GRADE: C
COACHING: ...the staff did a nice job of having the Buckeyes prepared. They showed fire on both sides of the ball from the get-go, keeping things simple in the passing game and waiting for Arkansas' season-long chinks on defense to show themselves. When OSU started to come unglued, the offensive braintrust had no answers and relied almost entirely on Pryor's broken field ability. A questionable decision to go for it inside their own 40 on fourth-and-inches backfired when usually sure-handed Herron fumbled... GRADE: C..."
The Bottom Line January 5, 2011 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...Offense (3 leaves): Do the math: You take a five-leaf, four-touchdown first half and divide it by a one-leaf, five-first-down second half and you end up somewhere in the middle. The final swig out of the bottle doesn't taste all that great, but at least it's finished. That first half, though, was yummy.
Defense (4 leaves): A tape-and-baling-wire special. Considering the weapons they faced, and the loss of Chimdi Chekwa to an injury, it's a minor miracle the Buckeyes held Arkansas to two TDs. Cam Heyward is the man, of course, and he and his bull-rushing D-linemen pressured Ryan Mallett just enough.
Special teams (2 leaves): Even before the unfathomable -- Ben Buchanan getting a punt stuffed in the final 90 seconds -- the Buckeyes were largely outplayed by the Razorbacks specialists. OSU had lousy field position throughout the second half, but at least its coverage teams mostly kept the Hogs in check.
Coaching (3 leaves): Who's going to argue when the night ends with a second straight BCS game win against a top-flight offense? Then again, the onside kick try after the first touchdown can raise some eyebrows. The Vest couldn't much play the aggression card in the second half, but he rolled the dice on fourth down.
Opponent (4 leaves): For one half, it was easy to see how the Razorbacks gave up 65 points to Auburn. After intermission, though, the Hogs got their 12th man behind them, and it was reminiscent of Florida in Glendale in early '07. Mallett can wing it, but Razorbacks receivers didn't always catch it.
Officiating (3 leaves): Where to begin? The Big East crew had three calls reversed by video review, as well as a couple more upheld. No harm, no foul on those. The Buckeyes argued most about a false-start penalty that negated an important first down. Mostly, the zebras let the players settle the game on the field..."
Aggressive offense, Sanzenbacher's hustle pays off: Ohio State report card January 5, 2011 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "...A -- Ohio State's early play calling: The Buckeyes attacked Arkansas with a no-huddle right off the bat, hitting a defense that has a reputation of taking its time to line up. On at least one play, Dan Herron popped a big run to the outside as an Arkansas lineman was still trying to run into position and get in his stance. Jim Tressel found a good mix of what the Buckeyes do best -- running Herron, getting Terrelle Pryor moving and throwing outside the pocket -- but also mixed in some things we haven't seen often. Pryor made some nice throws to his sometimes-neglected tight ends, including one quick hitter to Reid Fragel for a 42-yard gain on a play that may have been borrowed from Auburn after watching film of the Tigers beat Arkansas. But it was the aggression with the no-huddle, taking it to the quickest team the Buckeyes played this year, that made the most difference.
A -- Ohio State center Mike Brewster and left guard Justin Boren: The junior and the fifth-year senior have turned into quite the combo, and they could have earned this grade just on one block alone. Boren has been impressive as a nasty run blocker since he arrived as a Michigan transfer, and Brewster has turned into one of the best centers in the nation during a healthy third year in Columbus. Their first-quarter blocks on Dan Herron's 9-yard touchdown, when he went in untouched, gave the Buckeyes a 14-7 lead. It's the kind of highlight that the Buckeyes should show as their ideal run-game exhibit. Boren played his last game as a Buckeye and went out doing what he does best, while Brewster has as a real decision to make...
A -- The combination of luck and an MVP: Dane Sanzenbacher was named both the Buckeyes MVP and most inspirational player. On the Buckeyes' first series, his play -- not a catch -- was both valuable and inspiring...The Buckeyes, remarkably, had lost just two fumbles coming into the game, and both were by backups in blowouts. Now the ball was on the ground on the Buckeyes' first possession...As it rolled into the end zone, Sanzenbacher flew over several Razorbacks and dove on the ball for a touchdown...
C -- Arkansas receiver Joe Adams: The 5-foot-11 junior was involved in everything the Razorbacks did early on, the good and the bad. The first was really bad. On their first offensive play, Adams beat the coverage down the middle of the field and quarterback Ryan Mallett hit him in stride and right on the hands. And he dropped it. If the Razorbacks had gone ahead, 7-0, in the first minute, who knows how the rest of the night would have unfolded. He dropped at least two more catchable balls in the first half...He was fast. He was dangerous. His first half, for instance, still consisted of six catches for 92 yards. If he caught everything that came his way? Wow..."