|Pryor leads Buckeyes to first win over the SEC|
Pryor threw two touchdown passes, helping the No. 6 Buckeyes build a big lead, and Solomon Thomas made an interception with 58 seconds remaining to seal Ohio State's first postseason win against a Southeastern Conference school, 31-26 over No. 8 Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night.
The Razorbacks had a chance to pull off an improbable comeback when they blocked a punt with the clock winding down. Two plays later, Thomas surprised Ryan Mallett by dropping into coverage, and Arkansas' star quarterback threw the ball right to the 255-pound defensive end.
"That was the second interception of my whole life," Thomas yelled on the field as his teammates celebrated around him. "It feels great."
Pryor didn't look so great at the end, limping off the field with a sprained right ankle. But he turned in his second straight MVP performance in a bowl, following up last year's Rose Bowl award with a team-leading 115 yards rushing. Pryor and Thomas were among five Ohio State juniors given five-game suspensions by the NCAA for selling memorabilia and getting discounted tattoos. But they don't have to start serving their penalties until next season, giving them time to come up big for the Buckeyes in the Big Easy.
A thank-you note to the governing body might be in order. The group of suspended players also included Dan Herron and DeVier Posey, who each scored a touchdown, as well as starting left tackle Mike Adams.
The Buckeyes (12-1) had lost their previous nine postseason meetings against the SEC. They finally ended the slide and earned some respect for the Big Ten after a dismal performance on New Year's Day, when the league went 0-5 -- including three losses to SEC schools.