TEMPE, Ariz. - Troy Smith found a measure of redemption and Notre Dame found itself a postseason loser again in a Fiesta Bowl matchup brimming with big plays by the Buckeyes.
Smith, suspended from last year's Alamo Bowl for taking $500 from a booster, threw touchdown passes of 56 yards to Ted Ginn and a Fiesta Bowl- record 85 to Santonio Holmes as fourth-ranked Ohio State beat the No. 5 Irish, 34-20 on Monday night. It was Notre Dame's eighth consecutive bowl loss.
The Ohio State quarterback, the offensive MVP, completed 19 of 28 passes for a career-high 342 yards and ran for another 66 in 13 attempts.
The junior from Cleveland capped his performance with a pair of third-and-long completions on the Buckeyes' final scoring drive. Antonio Pittman, who rushed for 136 yards in 21 carries, broke free on a 60-yard touchdown run to seal the victory with 1:46 to play.
Forget the stereotype of plodding, but powerful Ohio State; the Buckeyes won with sheer speed.
Ginn caught eight passes for 167 yards, and added a 68-yard touchdown run on an end around to help the Buckeyes (10-2) to a 21-7 halftime lead en route to their third Fiesta Bowl victory in four years.
A.J. Hawk, Ohio State's Lombardi Award-winning linebacker and the game's defensive MVP, sacked his girlfriend's brother, Brady Quinn, twice. Hawk also ran down Quinn to stop a third-down play in the fourth quarter.
Quinn completed 29 of 45 passes for 286 yards but no touchdowns. Darius Walker gained 90 yards and scored all three Notre Dame TDs.