In a game filled with wild and bizarre plays, the Ohio State Buckeyes made all the big plays in the first half and just enough plays in the second half to hold off a furious Arkansas rally to win the Sugar Bowl 31-26.
Ohio State had come into the game with the controversy of having five key players suspended for the first five games of next year, yet they were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl. Four of the five players made huge contributions to the Buckeye victory.
Ohio State jumped all over the Razorbacks early, scoring four touchdowns in the first half, led by quarterback Terrelle Pryor and a tenacious pass rush fueled by Cameron Heyward as the Buckeyes took a 28-10 lead.
After Arkansas had battled back in the second half to get within 31-26, Razorback Colton Miles-Nash blocked an Ohio State punt with 1:16 left to give Arkansas the ball at the Ohio State 18 yard-line and within striking distance of a comeback victory.
On second down Ohio State defensive lineman Solomon Thomas dropped into coverage and intercepted Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett’s pass for the game-saving interception to seal the Buckeyes Sugar Bowl victory.
And a sweet win it was, as it was the first bowl game in which Ohio State had defeated an SEC team after going 0 for 9 all-time.
Of the Ohio State Buckeyes facing suspension next year; quarterback Terrelle Pryor passed for 221 yards with two touchdown tosses and carried the ball for 115 yards, many of which led to big first downs. Running back Dan Herron ran for 87 yards and a touchdown, receiver DeVier Posey caught three passes for 70 yards including a 43 yard touchdown and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas clinched the game with his interception.
Ohio State’s touchdown on their opening drive was the first of many bizarre plays as Pryor ran 34 yards and fumbled the ball into the end zone where fellow Buckeye Dane Sanzenbacher scooped it up for a touchdown.
Dan Herron added a nine-yard touchdown run and Pryor threw scoring strikes of 15 yards to Sanzenbacher and 43 yards to DeVier Posey as the Buckeyes looked to be fully in charge at the half.
Arkansas was plagued by penalties, pass protection and dropped passes as they headed to the locker room at the break.
A third quarter field goal and a touchdown pass from Mallett to Jarius Wright got the Razorbacks within two scores, 31-21 entering the final quarter.
Jake Bequette tackled Buckeye running back Dan Herron in the end zone for a safety to get Arkansa within 31-23 and a Zack Hocker field goal made it 31-26 with 8:55 to play.
Though there was no more scoring, there were a few more freak plays. Ohio State went for a fourth down and one with six minutes to go and it appeared Dan Herron had a first down, but he fumbled the ball. Ohio State recovered, yet short of a first down and the Razorbacks had the ball at Ohio State 37 yard-line.
Arkansas went three and out and punted to the Ohio State four-yard line. After Ohio State ran seven plays and chewed up some clock, they attempted to punt and had it blocked.
Mallett’s first pass from the 18 yard-line was dropped by All-American tight end D.J. Williams, his next pass was intercepted by Thomas and the Buckeyes ran the clock out for the win.