Buckeyes offense aims to sideline Mallett

The main attraction at the Allstate Sugar Bowl pits Arkansas star quarterback Ryan Mallett against the nation's No. 2 defense in Ohio State.

Ohio State's offense has other ideas.

If the Buckeyes have their way on offense, Mallett will spend much of the game watching from the sideline. Ohio State wants to chew up clock and mount long, sustained drives that will limit Mallett's effectiveness in the game.

"As an offense, we want to be able to control the game," Buckeyes star receiver Dane Sanzenbacher told me this week. "In games like this where the other team has an explosive offense, one of the best things we can do is hold the ball and keep that other offense off the field. Doing that while staying in our own scheme is always our goal."

Ohio State dominated possession time in its Rose Bowl win against Oregon in January, holding the ball for 41:37 in a 26-17 victory. To be fair, Oregon ranks near the bottom of the FBS in possession time, but Ohio State repeatedly moved the chains, racking up 26 first downs and holding the ball for 11:24 in the final quarter. The dynamic Ducks attack finished with just 12 first downs and 260 yards in the game.

The Buckeyes have taken a similar approach this season on offense, leading the Big Ten and ranking sixth nationally in average possession time (32:45). Ohio State won the possession time in all but one of its games (Indiana held the ball for 30:25) and held a substantial edge against the nation's No. 6 offense in Michigan (34:15-25:44).

"We know our defense is good," Sanzenbacher said, "but we want to do our part to help them out."