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Ohio State Wins 2011 Sugar Bowl Thanks To Suspended Players (Who Aren't Yet Suspended)

The 2011 Sugar Bowl was played amid plenty of controversy, especially on the Ohio State side of the football. Just over a week before Ohio State was to take the field, the NCAA came down on five Ohio State players, suspending them five games apiece for selling memorabilia. The suspensions, however, were put-off until 2011, allowing them to play in the Sugar Bowl. Against the Arkansas Razorbacks, it made a difference.

The Sugar Bowl got what it wanted: an entertaining game. Terrelle Pryor, Devier Posey, Daniel Herron, Solomon Thomas and Mike Adams each played a role in the Buckeyes Sugar Bowl win, with the results likely much different had they been forced to sit-out. Pryor was rewarded for his efforts with the Sugar Bowl MVP award. Commence jokes about Pryor selling the award ... now.

Pryor threw for 221 yards and two interceptions while running for 115 yards in the Sugar Bowl. For the most part, it was his efforts that keyed the Ohio State win. Herron added 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Posey led the Buckeyes with three catches for 70 yards and what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

Finally, it was fitting that the play that sealed the Ohio State win came from a suspended player. After a blocked punt, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett took over in prime position to win the game. Solomon Thomas stepped in front of Mallett's second down pass with under a minute to go, giving Ohio State the Sugar Bowl win.

The Sugar Bowl provided an exciting finish and a great game -- exactly what Sugar Bowl executives wanted -- all because of five players that should have been suspended. On a night where ESPN commentators side-stepped the suspensions like prize-fighters for 59 minutes, it was only fitting it came down to a member of the tattoo crew with the game on the line.