NCAA Football

Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 8 Arkansas

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 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

New Orleans, LA, Louisiana Superdome
Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2010 8:30 PM ET CBS


Laying the scene

Ohio State has had plenty of experience in BCS bowl games, especially against SEC teams. However, they haven't been too successful against the SEC. Ohio State has gone 0-9 in bowl matchups against them. They will be facing a very inexperienced Arkansas team; the Razorbacks have never reached a BCS bowl before. But with a special leader like quarterback Ryan Mallett, Arkansas should have no problems keeping up with Ohio State. The Buckeyes have a very talented quarterback themselves; even Arkansas's coach Bobby Petrino has a lot of respect and praise for him. This game should come down to the quarterbacks and whichever team provides them with better support. This matchup could be one of the most exciting bowl games to watch, you are not going to want to miss it.

What Arkansas has to do to win

Terrelle Pryor is a very talented quarterback, but the play of Ohio State running back Dan Herron could potentially be a game changer this week. Therefore, Arkansas's defense has to be able to stop the run, something they have had trouble with all season. They even matchup poorly to the Ohio State offensive line, a unit that has turned out to be a solid run blocking group. This could turn out to be a problem, but if Arkansas is going to upset Ohio State, they are going to have to stop Herron.

On offense, Arkansas will have to buy time for quarterback Ryan Mallett. He has proved to be less effective when pressured, just look at the Alabama game for example. In the first half, Alabama didn't blitz much and Mallett executed scoring 17 points. In the second half, Alabama changed their gameplan and threw a lot more blitzes at Mallett resulting in him going 5/12 with two interceptions and scoring only three points. Ohio State can and will bring the pressure, therefore getting Mallett relaxed in the pocket will be important to this game.

What Ohio State has to do to win

Ohio State has the luxury of having one of the most talented cornerbacks in the nation at their disposal. Chimidi Chekwa has great size and athleticism, which he will need to cover Arkansas top receiver Joe Adams. He has six interceptions for the season; he has the ability to read opposing receivers routes and get an early jump. Chekwa will be all over Adams, he will be needed to shut him out.

On offense, as said before, running back Dan Herron could be the game changer. Pryor will be the focus of the Arkansas defense and could potentially get blitzed a lot. If executed well, there will be plenty of holes for this running back to run through. The Arkansas defense has been very weak against the run all year, so expect Herron to run well in this matchup. He needs to have a big game this week to help out the offense.

The call

Ryan Mallett is a very talented player that could single handedly win a game, but not this week. In this matchup it comes down to the defenses and who can come up with the most stops. Ohio State has a very talented defense that has the potential to contain Mallett. But in order to do that, they are going to have to provide plenty of pressure and contain number one receiver Joe Adams. If Ohio State can do that, they will win this game.

Player(s) to watch

Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas: Hamilton has been very inconsistent, but he has the potential of making a big play if the Ohio State defense does not give him proper attention. He might be a number three receiver, but he has shown he can produce at times. In the last game of the season, Hamilton caught three passes for 164 yards with two touchdowns against a very good LSU defense. He can put up the same numbers this week, watch out for him. - Jared Levine

Jared is a Journalism and Sports Administration major at the University of Miami providing introspective, insight, information and opinion on the world of College Football.

You may email Jared directly at [email protected].

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