It wasn’t pretty, especially the 2nd half, but the Ohio St. Buckeyes survived injuries, mental mistakes, turnovers and a late blocked punt to beat the Arkansas Razorbacks 31-26 in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.
The Buckeyes did just about everything wrong coming down the stretch – giving up a safety in the 4th Quarter, fumbling on a 4th and 1 and having a punt blocked with 1:25 left in the game – but the defense was up to each and every challenge, intercepting Razorbacks QB Ryan Mallett at the 10-yard line to seal it.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor did a little bit of everything for the Buckeyes, going 14/25 for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns passing while running 15 times for 115 yards. As a team, the Buckeyes chewed up 224 yards on the ground and finished with 446 total yards of offense.
Pryor was named Most Outstanding Player of the game.
Perhaps the hero of the night for Ohio St. was WR Dane Sanzenbacher. Not only did Sanzenbacher catch a touchdown pass, but his recovery of a Terrelle Pryor fumble in the endzone for Ohio State’s first touchdown.
As for Mallett, his NFL Draft stock may have taken a huge hit. He completed just over 50% of his passes(24/47) for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns but struggled under pressure all night – including on the deciding interception – and didn’t take advantage of 3 possessions in the 4th quarter that started inside Ohio St. territory.
For the Buckeyes it is 2 straight wins in BCS Bowl games after last year’s win over Oregon in the Rose Bowl.