Ohio State’s football team found itself in the Sugar Bowl last night with five suspended players that weren’t really suspended, facing a former Michigan quarterback playing for an Arkansas program in its first-ever BCS bowl matchup. In a game highlighted by dropped Arkansas passes and generally sloppy play from both sides, Ohio State eked out a narrow 31-26 win. The Buckeyes’ “Tat Five” featured prominently in the game, highlighted by Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s 335 yards of total offense.
Pryor reiterated that he plans to return next season, even though some of his major goals, such as contending for the Heisman Trophy, are now out of reach.
“I don’t think I’m ready for the NFL,” the quarterback said. “I got a lot of learning to do and better decision-making to make, on and off the field.”
The game came down to the wire with Arkansas blocking a punt late in the fourth quarter before Arkansas quarterback (and Michigan transfer) Ryan Mallett threw an interception to defensive end Solomon Thomas to seal the win for Ohio State.
Pryor, Thomas and three other offensive starters were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for “receiving benefits not available to other students,” but were allowed to play in the bowl game (Ohio State has appealed the suspension). From a spectator standpoint, this was unquestionably a good thing, as a Pryor-less Ohio State team would have been throttled last night (they managed only three points in the second half with Pryor). It’s reassuring on some levels to know that the NCAA can keep its bottom line in mind while forbidding their players to do same. Img.