It was ugly, and anything but exciting. Still, Ohio State gave the Illini their first loss of the 2011 season. Buckyes QB Braxton Miller didn’t even complete a pass until 13:06 left in the fourth quarter, when he found TE Jake Stoneburner in the middle of the south end zone to put OSU up 16-0. They held on to win 17-7.
Prior to that play, Miller was just 0-3 passing on the day. The Buckeyes were BORING and one-dimensional today, but it was enough to beat #15 Illinois whose offense failed to show up today.
The Illini offensive line failed to protect that well and never opened up any run lanes. QB Nathan Scheelhaase and Center Graham Pocic couldn’t even get the snap right out on numerous occasions.
Despite being undefeated, ranked in the top 15 and the special “stripe the stadium” promotion, Illinois could not sell out a home game versus one of the Big Ten’s traditional powers. Their performance today did nothing to help future ticket sales.
Illinois lost, but also lost in a very boring manner. Ohio State was buoyed by the return of Daniel “Boom” Herron back from his six game NCAA mandated suspension. His first carry on the second play from scrimmage went for a first down. He finished the game with 114 yards on 23 carries
and one TD. It marked the fourth 100-yard rushing game of his career.
Braxton Miller put up an ugly 1-4 for 17 yards, 1 TD, but he also carried 8 times for 60 yards.
Nathan Scheelhaase looked uncharacteristically off today. He was slow and tentative in going through his read progressions. He was much less accurate than usual, and his second interception was one of the most underthrown balls of his two year career. A bulk of his (this goes for the receivers too) yards came in garbage time. Scheelhaase finished 20-34 for 169 yards, 1 TD, 2 picks.
“We got a chance to hit him a few times. I think that was a part of it, and the weather can limit you from ding some things, and a team is much better when they run the football, and they can take their time in throwing the ball. But we did a good job in stopping the run, and that makes them more one-dimensional and things a little bit more difficult,” Fickell said.
For some reason, Illinois cannot beat Ohio State at home during my lifetime. They’ve won four times at Columbus in the past 15 years, but haven’t beaten the Bucks at Memorial Stadium since 1991.
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