Terrelle Pryor threw two touchdown passes, helping the No. 6 Buckeyes build a big lead, and Solomon Thomas made an interception with 58 seconds remaining that sealed a 31-26 victory over eighth-ranked Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night.
Pryor and Thomas were among five Ohio State players found to have violated NCAA rules by selling memorabilia and getting discounted tattoos just before the Buckeyes (12-1) headed for the Big Easy.
In the end, Ohio State needed them all to beat a Southeastern Conference team in a bowl for the first time. The Buckeyes had lost their previous nine postseason meetings against the SEC.
That group also included Dan Herron and DeVier Posey, who each scored a touchdown. But Thomas, the only backup among them, made the biggest play of all.
Arkansas (10-3) had a chance to complete an improbable comeback when Colton Miles-Nash leaped over two linemen to block a punt, putting the Razorbacks at the Ohio State 18 with 1:09 remaining.
But Thomas surprised Ryan Mallett by dropping into coverage from his defensive end position. Mallett never saw him and Thomas held on to the pick to seal the win.
Pryor has vowed to return for his senior season, even though he won't be able to play until next October. He left the Ohio State faithful with a good memory, completing 14 of 25 passes, including a 15-yard TD to Dane Sanzenbacher and a 43-yarder to Posey.
Pryor also ran for a team-leading 115 yards.
Mallett was 24 of 47 for 277 yards, including a pair of touchdowns. But he'd sure like to have that last pass back.