Terrelle Pryor knew that this could be his last football game for a while.
With Pryor and four of his teammates (Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey and Solomon Thomas) receiving five game suspensions for next season, Pryor knew that he had to take this game into his own hands and help win this game for his teammates.
Pryor used his strong arm and fast legs to help the Buckeyes win their first bowl game against the SEC in school history, after going 0-9 in their last meeting.
While Pryor played great, the best players tonight were on the defensive line. Putting great pressure on Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett all night, Cameron Heyward and Dexter Larimore rushed Mallett and helped the defense by getting three out of their four sacks on the night.
Of all the plays though, none was more important than Solomon Thomas' interception with 58 seconds left on the clock to help the Buckeyes prevail against the Razorbacks.
The Buckeyes started off the game hot, scoring 28 points while stopping the Arkansas offense and only giving up 10 points in the first half.
The scoring started off with a Terrelle Pryor fumble, after a 37 yard gain, being recovered in the endzone by Dane Sazenbacher. After coach Jim Tressel called a questionable onside kick call, the Razorbacks capitalized with Mallett hooking up with Joe Adams for a 17 yard touchdown.
The next drive, the Buckeyes kept the scoring going with Pryor throwing it 31 yards deep to Sazenbacher to the Arkansas 20 yard line. Then after two runs, Dan Herron punched it into the endzone untouched.
After the touchdown, Mallett was not in the best of situations, as his wide receivers kept on missing catches throughout the game and on other plays were getting pressured by the Ohio State defensive line.
As the Razorbacks were struggling, the Buckeyes kept putting scores on the board. Up 14-7, Pryor made a read right through the Arkansas defense and threw a quick strike to Reid Fragel, who ran 41 yards to get the Buckeyes into Arkansas territory. Five plays later, Pryor threw it to Sazenbacher who made a beautiful adjustment and caught the ball for a 15 yard touchdown.
In the next series, the Razorbacks were moving the ball effectively early on, but a holding penalty and an incomplete pass on third down forced the Razorbacks to punt again. With a 21-7 lead, the Buckeyes kept the ball moving, but a Devin Barclay missed field goal kept the Razorbacks close with the first half soon coming to a close.
As Arkansas tried to move the ball in their next possession, they were in trouble as the Buckeyes defensive line forced two sacks and stopped the Razorbacks run game as well. In the next Buckeyes series, Pryor made his best play of the game as he threw a deep pass to Posey that went 41 yards and gave the Buckeyes a three touchdown lead.
While it looked as if the first half couldn't produce anymore points, Ryan Mallett led the Razorbacks to a 14 play series with under two minutes left that eventually led to a field goal to end the half.
In the third quarter, it was quiet early on as both teams just hit field goals to make it 31-13 with 5 minutes to play in the game. But with four minutes left, Mallett led the Razorbacks to a 75 yard drive and hit Jarius Wright in the endzone, for a 22 yard touchdown.
Down by 12, coach Bobby Petrino called for the offense to go for a two point conversion and they responded by Mallett finding an open D.J. Williams and making this game a 10 point game.
As the Buckeyes were having trouble responding to this hot Arkansas offense, they were having trouble of their own, as they were called for a holding penalty and settled to punt the ball.
With Arkansas punting on their next series, the Buckeyes were backed up at their own four yard line and on the first play, Dan Herron got stuffed and got tackled in the back of the endzone for a safety.
After the safety, the Razorbacks were in control. Down by eight, Mallett found Julius Wright deep and put the Razorbacks in Ohio State territory. After a few plays, the Razorbacks settled for a field goal to keep them within five.
On the next series, with six minutes to go, the Buckeyes were in desperation as they faced a 4th and 1 on their own 37 yard line. As Dan Herron went to dive and get the first down, he fumbled the ball and gave it to the Razorbacks needing only 37 yards to go to score.
The Buckeyes defense, needing a major stop, earned it as they forced Mallett to throw two incompletions and forced a punt overall.
The Buckeyes offense got to work and with 4:33 left on the clock, ran the ball down until about one minute left on the clock and forced Arkansas to use up its timeouts. As the game seemed just about over, a miracle happened as the Buckeyes, in a spread punt formation, had the punt blocked and the Razorbacks recovered inside the Ohio State 20 yard line.
With Mallett going to work, his first play ended up an incompletion as D.J. Williams dropped a pass by Mallett. On the very next play, the Buckeyes ended up closing the game with a Solomon Thomas interception to seal the Buckeyes 31-26 win against the Razorbacks.
After two kneels, the Buckeyes ended up the winners of the Sugar Bowl.
This game provided the fans with a bowl game to remember as the late game stops by the Buckeyes defense led to their win. Without a doubt though, the best players of the game were the offensive and defensive lines of the Buckeyes.
The offensive line gave up no sacks throughout the game and helped the Buckeyes accumulate 446 yards throughout the night. On the defensive side, the line gave Mallett the pressure no team has given him up until this date.
Even though you could say that the Razorbacks mistakes and dropped balls throughout the game led to their demise, give the Buckeyes credit for forcing those mistakes and even playing without their best defensive player in Chimidi Chekwa, who got injured early in the game.
In the end, we see that the Buckeyes are now the Sugar Bowl champs and have beaten the SEC for the first time ever.
This win also made Jim Tressel the only coach to win the Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, and the Rose Bowl, to go along with a National Championship.
Congrats to the Buckeyes and the seniors who, if they end up being drafted, will be a great addition to those teams that they will play for.
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