Arkansas has Sugar Bowl win in its hands…then drops it.

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett (15) is chased from the pocket by Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Hayward (97) during first half action of the 77th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana January 4, 2011. UPI/A.J. Sisco

Here are five quick-hit observations on Ohio State’s wild 31-26 win over Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.

1. From the opening play of the game, Arkansas blew its opportunities.
Little did Arkansas know that the first play from scrimmage would be an omen for the rest of the game. Ryan Mallett threw a perfectly timed spiral to streaking receiver Joe Adams, who beat the coverage and would have had a touchdown had he hung onto the ball. It was the first of six dropped passes for the Hogs on the night, most of which came in crucial situations. And the drops weren’t the only opportunities Arkansas missed on the night. From Dane Sanzenbacher’s fluke fumble-recovery-turned-touchdown in the first quarter to the missed scoring opportunity after Boom Herron’s fumble late in the fourth quarter to Colton Miles-Nash’s inability to pick the ball up cleanly on teammate Ben Buchanan’s blocked punt to Solomon Thomas’ interception of Mallett in the final minute, the Razorbacks blew it time and time again. Wisconsin was heavily criticized for missing opportunities to beat TCU in the Rose Bowl last Saturday, but that was nothing compared to what Arkansas did Tuesday night. Their fans will need a lobotomy after watching that game.

2. Cameron Heyward will make one NFL team very happy some day.
Heyward is an absolute monster and he and the rest of his defensive linemates deserve major praise for harassing Mallett all night. He manhandled Arkansas offensive tackle DeMarcus Love and he didn’t allow Mallett to set his feet for many of his throws. When Mallett had to step up in the pocket to pass, he was widely inaccurate, often throwing the ball at his receivers’ feet. His wideouts didn’t do him many favors, but the Buckeyes’ defense really brought the heat on third down and made life uncomfortable for the Razorback signal caller. If it weren’t for Heyward and crew, Arkansas may have scored 40 points.

3. The SEC curse is over for Ohio State.
Try as they did to lose the game, the Buckeyes finally got the SEC monkey off their backs. The win snapped a nine-game bowl losing streak against SEC teams. OSU also saved some face for the Big Ten, which went 0-4 on New Year’s Day. Terrelle Pryor threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, while also rushing for 115 yards on 15 carries. On a night when Herron only gained 3.6 yards per carry and couldn’t get anything going on the early downs, Pryor stepped up several times when the Buckeyes’ offense faced third-and-long. He also picked up a huge first down on a quarterback sneak late in the game to shed time off the clock and keep the ball in OSU’s possession while they tried to preserve the lead. For the second year in a row, Pryor was special in a BCS bowl.

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Sugar Bowl Preview: Ohio State vs. Arkansas

2011 BCS Bowl Previews: BCS National Championship | Fiesta Bowl | Rose Bowl | Orange Bowl | Sugar Bowl

Date: Tuesday, January 4 2011
Time: 8:30PM ET
TV: ESPN

Why Watch: Because this may very well be Terrelle Pryor, Daniel Herron and DeVier Posey’s final game as Buckeyes after they were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season after receiving improper benefits. Assuming there’s a NFL season next year, you have to wonder if all three will consider forgoing their senior years at Oho State to go pro. Either way, they’ll be in uniform for the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas and for now, that’s all that matters for college football fans (or the NCAA for that matter, which didn’t want ratings to suffer by suspending OSU’s best offensive players). The Buckeyes are 0-9 against SEC teams in bowl games and will face a Razorback squad making its first BCS Bowl appearance in school history. Fans that want to see a shootout may get one, as OSU averages 39.4 points per game and Arkansas averages 37.3 PPG. But the key may be OSU’s defense, which is allowing an average of 9.5 fewer points per contest than Arkansas.

Game FactsThe Buckeyes are 19-22 all-time in bowl games and finally broke a three-game bowl losing streak last year when they beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl. They haven’t played in the Sugar Bowl since 1998, when they defeated Texas A&M, 24-14. As previously mentioned, this will be Arkansas’ first appearance in a BCS bowl game and its first trip to the Sugar Bowl since 1969, when it lost 27-22 to Ole Miss. The Hogs are 12-22-3 all-time in bowl games, which includes a 20-17 overtime win over East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl last season.

Key Player: Knile Davis, Arkansas.
We all know about Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas passing game, but the balance that Davis adds is what makes the Razorbacks especially dangerous. Despite starting just seven of Arkansas’ 12 games, Davis managed to gain 1,183 yards and score 13 touchdowns. He’s also a First-Team All-SEC selection and if he can get things going on the ground, that will open things up for Mallett in the passing game.

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2010 College Football Bowl Schedule & Matchups

CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 04: Darron Thomas  of the Oregon Ducks looks to pass against the Oregon State Beavers during the 114th Civil War on December 4, 2010 at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Looking for a college football bowl game schedule? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let The Scores Report be your one-stop shopping experience for all things bowl game schedule.

BCS National Championship: Auburn vs. Oregon, January 10, 8:30PM ET
In the end, there really wasn’t any debate to which teams should play for the national title. The Tigers beat six teams this year that finished in the top 25 of the BCS standings and went 13-0 on the year. Their 56-17 pounding of South Carolina in the SEC championship game left no doubt about their spot atop the BCS rankings. On the other side, Oregon blew out Tennessee earlier in the year, but the Ducks’ made their best statement in a 52-31 thrashing of Stanford. They outscored opponents by nearly 31 points a game this year, with only one team (Cal) coming within single digits of Darron Thomas and Co.

Sugar Bowl: Ohio State vs. Arkansas, Tuesday, January 4, 8:30PM ET
The Buckeyes have another shot to end their woes against the SEC when they take on the Hogs on January 4. If Terrelle Pryor plays as well against Arkansas as he did against Oregon in the Rose Bowl last year, then OSU will be fine. But the Buckeyes will certainly have their hands full with Ryan Mallett and the Hogs’ explosive offense. Arkansas has a chance to win 11 games in a season for the first time since 1977.

Orange Bowl: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech, January 3, 8:30PM ET
This is a great matchup but it’ll be overshadowed by the persisting rumors that Jim Harbaugh will be coaching elsewhere next season. Stanford’s defense will have its hands full with VA Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who took the ACC title game over against Florida State. But the Hokies will need more than Taylor to defeat a Stanford team that is arguably the best one-loss teams in the country. Andrew Luck can further cement his status as the No. 1 pick in April’s draft with a great performance.

Fiesta Bowl: Connecticut vs. Oklahoma, January 1, 8:30PM ET
The Huskies stumbled to a 3-4 record while losing their first two Big East conference games, but they rebounded to go 5-0 down the stretch and their reward is that they get to take on Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. The Sooners will be heavy favorites against Connecticut but remember that Oklahoma is on a five-game BCS bowl losing streak that include three national title losses and a pair of Fiesta Bowls. Statue of Liberty, anyone?

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TCU, January 1, 5:00PM ET
This may be the most underrated matchup of the five BCS bowl games. Wisconsin won its final seven regular-season games and did so by averaging 48.3 points per contest over that span. They also combined for 201 points in their final three games and now take on a TCU team that owns the top-ranked defense in the country. That’s impressive considering they lost Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington (their top defenders from a season ago) to the NFL last April.

2010 College Football Bowl Schedule:

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