Mallett Finally Gets His Shot Against Ohio State

By Kyle Rowland on December 26, 2010 at 6:00a

When Ryan Mallett committed to the University of Michigan in 2007, he knew his legacy would be dictated on his success (or lack thereof) against Ohio State. How ironic that Mallett, now a junior at Arkansas, is in that position once again.

Call it a poetic twist of fate.

Coming out of high school in Texarkana, Texas (border of Arkansas and Texas), Mallett was one of the most sought after recruits in the country. He grew up a die-hard Arkansas fan, attended Houston Nutt's football camp and also dreamed of playing for the Hogs. When it came time to make his college announcement, though, he spurned the local Razorbacks for Lloyd Carr and the Wolverines.

Mallett appeared in 11 games his freshman season and compiled a 3-0 record as a starter. Two of those wins came against Notre Dame and Penn State. He was even a part of the longest offensive play in school history. Against Wisconsin, Mallett connected with Mario Manningham on a 97-yard touchdown pass. Mallett replaced the oft-injured Chad Henne that November in a 14-3 loss to Ohio State. Protecting him from a ferocious Buckeye defense that day: Justin Boren. 

Weeks later, Carr retired and Rich Rodriguez was hired and brought his spread offense to Ann Arbor.

So after throwing for 892 yards and seven touchdowns, Mallett was back on the market. Soon thereafter he came home to his roots.

After sitting out one season due to NCAA transfer rules, Mallett lit up defenses in the Southeastern Conference in 2009. In Bobby Petrino’s pass-happy offense, Mallett completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,624 yards, while throwing 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

That production led many people to believe he would enter the NFL Draft. Mallett, though, stayed for his junior season even though he was a surefire first round pick and a probable Top 10-15 selection.

You can’t fault him after leading Arkansas to a 10-win season and the Sugar Bowl. Mallett increased his completion percentage (66 percent) and threw for just under 3,600 yards with 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His per game passing yard average is fifth in the nation.

Andrew Luck, of Stanford, is more than likely going to be picked No. 1 in April’s draft, but Mallett figures to be the second quarterback taken. That is, if he comes out. Chances are he won't stay in school 

Once again, he is back at square one: Beat Ohio State.

While he has put up gaudy numbers, the Razorbacks’ victory against LSU this season his arguably his only big win. Arkansas squandered a two score lead against then-No. 1 Alabama in September. They also had a near upset of top-ranked Florida in 2009. Closing out his career with a win in a BCS bowl (Arkansas’ first appearance) and against the Buckeyes would go a long way in defining Mallett’s legacy.

On the other side of the field will be Terrelle Pryor, who, after this past week’s NCAA investigation, is at a crossroads. Despite his 31-4 record, Rose Bowl MVP performance and three Big Ten titles and three victories over Michigan, if Ohio State fails to beat Arkansas and Pryor bolts to the NFL, he could be a pariah forever in Columbus.

Interestingly, while Mallett transferred largely due to the fact that Rodriguez was hired at Michigan, it also was done with an assumption that Pryor would go to Michigan and be the starter immediately. Now they face-off with legacies on the line. 

He's was born in Arkansas and raised to yell Woo Pig Sooie. On Jan. 4, Ryan Mallett will likely run off the Louisiana Superdome turf for the last time as a member of the Arkansas Razorbacks. As a former Michigan Man, there is no doubt the most fitting end to a record-setting career is to beat those dastardly Buckeyes.  


Comments Show All Comments

iball's picture

Mallet reminds me alot of Drew Bledsoe. I really don't think he's reached his potential. I think his best days will be on Sundays. Depending on who drafts him, he has all the tools to be great.

That being said, Im really interested in what Ohio State's mind set is right now. I take it as a good sign that the Tat5 haven't been sat down by OSU yet, especially since none are seniors.

For Posey, Boom and Thomas I think the Sugar will be a final tryout for the NFL.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

RBuck's picture


"For Posey, Boom and Thomas I think the Sugar will be a final tryout for the NFL."....and Adams.

Pryor really needs another year to grow up and hone his QB skills if that's the position he wants to play on Sundays. Or he could just say f*%# it and go in the draft for WR potential. Like I posted in the Banhammer comments, Tatgate could make these juniors either excell or suck in the bowl game.

Long live the southend.

Kyle Rowland's picture

Tatgate could make these juniors either excell or suck in the bowl game

Agreed. It will either be a huge distraction for the team or bring them together. It will likely be a distraction regardless since the media will be talking about it non-stop. But I definitely think it could have a rallying effect in the locker room. I guess it could also divide guys, too. Some might think the other players were selfish in their actions.

blazers34's picture

thomas?  i think he HAS to come back.  he hasnt proven anything at all. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Slightly off topic: the reason the tat5 shouldn't be suspended for the Sugar Bowl is that the 5-game suspension is already ridiculously severe and (effectively) arbitrary. Whether by strategic intent or as a result of administrative clumsiness, the penalty effectively provides cover for the SEC's sophisticated, institutionalized cheating regime, while making big, public examples of a few immature college kids.    

For Ohio State to add another game on top of the NCAA's b.s. penalty would be that much more excessive. The university did not set the penalties. As others have suggested, I'm guessing that, if JT had been allowed to mete out the punishment, he would have suspended the tat5 for the Sugar Bowl plus next season's opening game and possibly one more. Deal with it and move on. It's also even possible that the (increasingly sketchy) NCAA told the university, in private, that JT was not allowed to suspend the players for the SB (at least not for this infraction), "or else."

Obviously, I have little regard for the NCAA. In smart, politically feasible ways, the BT should begin exploring the possibility of shedding the existing NCAA structure.      

tomcollins's picture

5 game harsh?  If they were in the SEC, they would have gotten banned from football, and castrated.  NCAA obviously gives favors to Big Ten [/MarkMay]

Codeezy's picture

I watched Mark May's rant and, though not surprised, I was pissed. What an idiot. Like the SEC is scrutinized by the NCdub more than anyone else (Cam Newton). And the NCdub explained in a statement why the sugar must be played with these guys. Think about the millions and millions of dollars invested in this game by media, advertising, and ticket sales before this came out. And the BCS is always bashed anyways, they don't want another garbage game (Fiesta) for people to point fingers at on how the system is flawed. The investors would be pissed that half of a teams offense was playing in the game. I'm not saying its right but its not freaking brain surgery.

tampa buckeye's picture

5 games is crazy for what these guys did.  Its time for 4 super conferences B10,B12,Sec,Pac-10  Each have 16 teams and drop the dead weight that is the NCAA. Of course the BCS would be dropped along with it. 

5 games but you can play the bowl game?  WTF?  

Orlando Buckeye's picture

Another thing that makes this situation stink to high heaven is the timing.  

Play em, bench em, they should or they shouldn't have, change the rules or change the attitudes, saints or sinners.  Whatever.

This crap went down in 2009 but comes to a head and falls in our laps 2 weeks before the Sugar Bowl.  Just seems strange.

Has anyone seen a good timetable of all the infractions, investigations and decisions handed down.


If anything it makes me think that someone pushed or was pushed to make a decision before it was too late for these juniors to declare for the draft. So the suspensions came in before the bowl because initially they were suspended for it, too.

I could be wrong, it happens often. 

RBuck's picture

I would hope Gene Smith has filed the suspension appeal by now. I think the draft commit date for juniors is Jan. 15. If that's so, hopefully the NCAA doesn't drag it's collective ass on a decision. A few games reduced could play a big part a big part for these players deciding if they stay or go.

Long live the southend.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

Anybody heard anything about these rumors that JT is out after the Sugar Bowl??

Competing sources out there, just curious.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

Nevermind, I just did a little sloothing and it looks like crap.  I also didn't participate in the christmas thread yesterday so I didn't see it had already been discredited

carry on

EArHog's picture

2 Trivial points:

Mallet is a junior this year (ref. first paragraph (ref. to jr status in para. 8 is correct)).

I understand that Mallet chose Michigan instead of Ark because Nutt wanted, and got, Mitch Mustain to qb the Hogs.   It was the combination of Mustain's transfer to SoCal plus the coaching change at Mich that finally brought Mallet to Fayetteville. 

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

anchorman's picture

Mark May is the Genital Wart that is sEcSPN. I don't give him the time of day anymore! He is just pissed that his Pitt Panthers can't compete in the country's worst conference.

Anyone that thinks this will be a distraction, remember the distractions that JT has had to deal with before. 03 Fiesta Bowl, 04 Fiesta Bowl, 04 SCum game, 04 Alamo Bowl, 06 Scum game. All had distractions in the days leading up to the game, all victories by tOSU!!!!

Hoody Wayes's picture

Tressel leaving? My dad just vm'd me, noting WTOL reported a source in Chicago (Why Chicago?) "close to the situation, confirms" Jim Tressel is stepping down.

A quick search yielded nothing from "venerable" sources. Other than the "BR", there's reporting of this ilk:




JakeBuckeye's picture

Check the forums. This B.S. isn't even worth a buckshot, let alone a post.

Hoody Wayes's picture

Why did you post?

JakeBuckeye's picture

By post I meant the writers here at eleven warriors posting on it as an article.

Seth4Bucks's picture

Look at the right side of your screen, middle of the pagish. Those are buckshots  .   .  .  I think he's talking about an article on 11W.

Seth4Bucks's picture

Dang, beat me by a couple of minutes :-p

BuckeyeChief's picture

Troy SCREAMING @ Singletary today...

"2014 National with it!!!"

nickma71's picture

Unless he sold his gold pants to feed his starving children, I don't care if he ever takes a snap again.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Really loving Tim Beckman's coaching in this game. I don't meant to look ahead to 2014, but if he can be consistently good like this with a couple MAC championships...

I'm just one of those guys who really wants to keep this job inside of the Tressel family.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

How the NCAA came down on tOSU so quickly, but still haven't "completed" the investigation on the Newton allegations is amazing to me. How they even ruled him eligible after the all of the shat that boy dis at Florida and now the pay for play ish? AMAZING! And obviously Mark May thinks Cam's punishment (winning a Heisman) was MUCH more severe than what the Tat5 got. Seriously? I really think the NCAA and Mike Slive have some backroom arrangements.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

Jason Priestas's picture

Wow. I'm just going to go ahead and post this on Tuesday morning and call it a day.

OHIOinME's picture

Glad to help.  While I'm working Tuesday I'll be thinking of you playing video games and drinking Guinness.