Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ohio State vs. Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl—Ryan Mallett, Buckeyes Meet Again

When former Michigan QB Ryan Mallett transferred to Arkansas as a freshman on January 9, 2008, nobody would've imagined that the highly-touted superstar would see the Ohio State Buckeyes ever again.

Fast forward almost three years where Mallett has developed into a top-10 NFL prospect under the eye of Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino and taken the Razorbacks to their first-ever BCS bowl game.

And in an ironic twist of fate, Mallett's BCS opponent is none other than the team we all thought he would share battles with in Ann Arbor: the Buckeyes.

Mallett's transfer happen two months before Terrelle Pryor committed to Ohio State in March of 2008, meaning that a chance to imagine a Mallett vs. Pryor matchup in The Game never materialized.

The Arkansas gunslinger has gotten a taste of Ohio State's defense, filling in for Chad Henne in a rainy and windy contest in 2007 where he was 1-3 for just eight yards and was sacked once.

But this is different. This is a fully-developed QB under a coach who has coached in the NFL, albeit for only 13 games, and who loves to air it out.

And the defense Mallett will face is a much different unit compared to the group he saw in 2007.

This OSU defense is much more aggressive and faster than the 2007 defense, and most of all, they are opportunistic, tied for 12th with 29 takeaways.

The difference for Mallett is that he has seen good defenses in the SEC, including against Alabama and LSU, so this challenge may be nothing new to him.

And although OSU is ranked No. 4 in passing defense, they have not faced a better passer all season than No. 15 for the Razorbacks.

But for Mallett, looking back at his experience and his year at Michigan, he might have an extra edge to play against Ohio State simply because of that year with the Wolverines.

Even Jim Tressel felt relieved that he did not have to worry about seeing Ryan Mallett in Michigan, as he told The Ozone's Brandon Castel on Sunday.

"What was my reaction when he left? I'm not gonna lie, I was happy," he told Castel. "I thought I was done with Ryan Mallett."

Even back in early 2008, Tressel knew of the type of talent that Mallett would turn out to be.

And he has lived up to that billing and so much more.

Just imagine for a second if Les Miles had taken the Michigan job instead of Rich Rodriguez and had Mallett as his QB...

Scary thought. That winning streak over Michigan would not be as easy to extend as it has been in the past three seasons.

But nevertheless, Tressel must gameplan to shut down one of the game's best passers and arguably the best pure passer OSU has faced since NC State's Philip Rivers in 2003.

The OSU secondary has been banged up tremendously all season, but DBs Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence have been very good and should help take away favorite targets in WRs Jairus Wright and Joe Adams.

Rarely does a transfer from one big school to another work as a benefit for a QB.

But for Ryan Mallett, it has worked out better than anyone could have imagined.

Now he gets his chance to show his old rivals just how much he has improved since his days under Lloyd Carr at Michigan.

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Written by BlockONation Contributor Tim Bielik


  1. ok first off good luck stopping mallet bama couldnt do it lsu couldnt do it auburn couldnt do it our losses were to number one teams in the nation but we were still able to pass mallet will put up 400+ 4tds 1int davis will rush for 150+ if you want to talk smack join a real confrence go hogs

  2. eat shit anonymous OSU will stomp a mudhole in rkansas ass and walk it dry!

  3. Anonymous said...

    ok first off good luck stopping mallet bama couldnt do it lsu couldnt do it auburn couldnt do it our losses were to number one teams in the nation but we were still able to pass mallet will put up 400+ 4tds 1int davis will rush for 150+ if you want to talk smack join a real confrence go hogs


    What do all three of those teams that "couldn't stop" Mallet have in common?

    All have a defense that isn't even 1/3 as good as the BUCKEYE defense. We're going to have us a nice fat hog roast on January 4th!

  4. Anonymous

    I'll give you that the SEC is a great conference, but are you so naive to say that the Big Ten isn't a real conference? I remember hearing this same shit last bowl season and the record for the Big Ten vs. the SEC was 1-1. The current SEC champions, the Auburn Tigers, had to go into overtime to beat Northwestern. Also, LSU lost to Penn State last year in their bowl game. Don't try to tell me they're a different team now because they returned 8 players on defense and 8 players on offense. It's the same story every year. The southern rednecks listen to commentators and immediately assume everything they say is fact. Well yes the SEC is a great conference, but to call the Big Ten a "fake" conference is complete and total nonsense. Please educate yourself before you knock on other teams. By the way Kniles Davis was held to less than 100 yards in both Arkansas losses. In fact he was held to only 20 carries in both those games. Arkansas relies way too heavily on Mallet's arm. If you want to be productive on offense against Ohio State's defense, which is rated in the top 10 in every category, then you have to balance the offense. They depend on too much. Don't take for granted that Ohio State has an All-American at Corner Back in Chmidi Chekwa too. Mallet can't just go back there and take him and the rest of the Buckeye secondary for granted.


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