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Braxton Miller's ankle: The most important body part on the Ohio State roster held up just fine in the Buckeyes' 17-7 victory over Illinois.
Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller said the ankle he sprained in last week's loss to Nebraska was about 95 percent healthy, and he was able to do what the Buckeyes needed him to do. From the look of pregame warmups, it was hard to tell whether Joe Bauserman or Kenny Guiton would have been the backup quarterback -- maybe Guiton is the guess -- but thankfully for Ohio State, no one had to find out.
Miller completed just one pass, but he was able to keep the Illinois defense off balance with a few of his quarterback draws, and that was enough.
"I kept rehabbing every hour I could," Miller said of his week of preparation. "After class I'd go to the training room and get treated."
Miller now has an extra week before the next game against Wisconsin. It's part of a player's growth to play with some pain, and with lace-up braces on his ankles, Miller took a step on Saturday.
"It felt pretty good. Coming off the ankle injury and rehabbing and getting all the guys ready for this game, we were excited to come out and play," Miller said. Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
The-Ozone Note and Quotebook - Illinois Edition October 17, 2011 Source: Eleven Warriors - “We Needed It”: While nobody wanted to admit thinking about it before the fact, the Buckeyes were facing a three-game losing streak if they didn't get a win in Champaign. Worse yet, they would have had to wait two weeks before getting back out on the field to get that taste out of their mouths...
Illinois Gets Roughed Up By The Buckeyes October 16, 2011 Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - CFN Analysis: 1-of-4, 17 yards, one touchdown. Yeah, Ohio State beat an undefeated Illinois with a great game form the defense and helped by the return of Dan Herron, but all anyone will notice is the one completed pass. The Buckeyes might have come up with the win, but it was a Band-aid in a hemorrhaging season. They can’t beat Wisconsin if the offense keeps playing like this, and they probably can’t beat Penn State or Michigan, either. However, the defense was swarming all over the red hot Illini attack, and after a disastrous few weeks, the O line seemed to decide it was time to start playing. It’s a win. For now, that’s enough. Illinois got smashed in the mouth, and it didn’t quite know how to handle it. Ohio State got ultra-physical on both sides of the ball with the ground game pounding away for a tough 211 yards to make up for the problems in the passing game, while the defensive front didn’t let Nathan Scheelhaase feel comfortable all game long. A.J. Jenkins stayed hot with eight catches for 80 yards, but the running game didn’t go anywhere...
First thoughts: Ohio State-Illinois October 17, 2011 Source: Cus Words Blog - I was among the many criticizing Ohio State for being too one-dimensional – and I still think those criticism are valid – but they get credit for believing in what they were doing and sticking to it. I still think they need to believe they can do a couple more simple things, and that could make life a lot easier for them and their young quarterback...
Five Things: Illinois October 16, 2011 Source: Eleven Warriors - Boom's back: Though their numbers have diminished, I am still baffled by those out there in Buckeyeland that don't give Boom (on-field version) the credit he deserves. Sure, he'll never be mentioned in a conversation of greats at Ohio State but the dude is very consistent runner that has greatly improved his vision, thus effectiveness over the years, he always runs with a purpose and it can't be argued he has a knack for doing what's most important in the game of football - scoring touchdowns...
10 Things We Learned feature for the Illinois game October 16, 2011 Source: The Ozone - It was a true test of this team’s grit, and we learned a lot about Fickell and the Buckeyes in their 17-7 win over the Fighting Illini. 1. A win is a win. It wasn’t pretty, but let’s face it, the team needed this. After all the adversity they have had to deal with, the last thing they want to be talking about heading into the bye week was a three-game losing streak...
Ohio State vs. Illinois Recap October 16, 2011 Source: Men of the Scarlet and Gray - Ohio State held Illinois to under 300 yards of total offense. Coming into the game Illinois was averaging well over 400 yards per game. Illinois all world wide receiver was held scoreless and only muster 80 yards on 8 catches. Jenkins was also responsible for a drive stalling fumble. That fumble set up the Miller touchdown pass. Scheelhaase lead Illinois with 49 yards rushing, the rest of the ball carriers for Illinois were each held under 35 yards rushing...
Game Team Totals
NET YARDS RUSHING
Average Per Rush
Yards Gained Rushing
Yards Lost Rushing
NET YARDS PASSING
Average Per Attempt
Average Per Completion
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS
Total offense plays
Average Gain Per Play
Average Yards Per Punt
Net Yards Per Punt
Average Yards Per Kickoff
Net Yards Per Kickoff
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD
Average Per Return
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD
Average Per Return
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD
3 of 12
5 of 12
0 of 0
0 of 1
Sacks By: Number-Yards
The view How the team sees it: “Boom!” He and we are back.
How the pollsters will see it: Like putting lipstick on a pig.
How Buckeye Nation will see it: We won, and Michigan lost. Life is good.
Gospel according to Luke What he said: “I don’t think (Illinois) had seen as much running through the first six games.”
What he meant: “Er, make that six years.”
As heard after game: “Just win, baby.” — OSU quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano while walking to the locker room.
Numbers for dummies 34: Combined yards (12 and 22) on Ohio State’s two touchdown drives
1: Catch by an Ohio State offensive player (Jake Stoneburner’s 17-yard TD reception)
2: Catches by OSU defensive backs (Bradley Roby and Travis Howard interceptions)
One-liner: The team wears hunter orange and the coach freezes up like a you-know-what caught in headlights. Yep, it is once again Illinois “Oh, Dear” season.
Source: Columbus Dispatch
DEFENSIVE NOTES Ohio State held Illinois scoreless in the first half for the first time this season.
Illinois came in averaging 447 yards of total offense and was held to 285 today.
Ohio State forced Illinois to punt on all five possessions in the first half.
Bradley Roby intercepted his third pass of the season in the third quarter, setting up Ohio State's first touchdown.
Roby also recorded his first career fumble recovery in the fourth quarter on a Tyler Moeller forced fumble on UI's A.J. Jenkins.
Johnathan Hankins had a career-high nine tackles and tied a career best with 2.0 TFL.
John Simon finished the game with 2.0 sacks and 4.0 TFL, the most by a Buckeye since 2007. The 4.0 TFL also is tied for second best on OSU's all-time single-game list.
Simon also had a career-best eight tackles.
Travis Howard intercepted his third career pass and his first of the season in the fourth quarter.
Source: OSU Official Site
It was over when... Ohio State's defense decided to take over. The Buckeyes didn't have much offense -- and didn't need it.
Gameball goes to... Bradley Roby, whose third-quarter interception of Nathan Scheelhaase set up the Buckeyes' first touchdown.
Stat of the game... 1, 4. Injured Ohio State QB Braxton Miller didn't complete his first pass of the game until the fourth quarter.
Star of the game Ohio State senior tailback Daniel Herron. After six games under NCAA suspension, he burst free to run for 114 yards on 23 carries. He scored the Buckeyes’ first touchdown on a 12-yard sweep behind the blocks of tight end Reid Fragel and fullback Zach Boren.
Turning point Bradley Roby’s interception of a Nathan Scheelhaase pass on the second play of the second half. The OSU cornerback returned it 36 yards to the Illinois 12, and Herron took it from there.
Repercussion The Buckeyes aren’t dead yet, and neither is the head-coaching career of Luke Fickell. Bouncing back from the colossal collapse at Nebraska the week before, they at least proved they won’t be pushovers down the stretch as they take a week off before preparing to host No.?4 Wisconsin.
Unsung workers The OSU defensive linemen took turns trying to harass Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, sometimes successfully, sometimes just prompting him to scramble probably more than he wanted. Johnathan Hankins and John Simon especially kept up the relentless pace.
Strategically speaking It goes back to the OSU defensive plan. Coordinator Jim Heacock and his staff had their front seven deployed to keep Scheelhaase from burning them with scrambles while also cutting off the Illinois bread-and-butter pass, the dump to A.J. Jenkins or others running drag routes across the middle. Safety C.J. Barnett stepped into the breach as much as anyone, coming up with eight tackles.
Exposed Leave it to Illinois coach Ron Zook and his staff to have a lapse in judgment. Needing two scores to at least send the game to overtime, they could have called for a 34-yard field-goal attempt on fourth-and-3 at the OSU 17 with just over a minute left. Instead, they went with a pass on fourth down, which fell incomplete, and so did the Illini’s attempt to move to 7-0 for the first time since 1951.
Stat that matters Ohio State’s 211 rushing yards. It was obvious to all, even to the Illinois defense, that the Buckeyes weren’t going to try to throw much on the blustery day. With Herron leading the way, though, the Buckeyes still surpassed 200 yards, the fourth time they have done that this season. Not that it always pays off, since their season high was 243 in the loss at Nebraska a week earlier.
By the numbers 9: Hankins’ team-leading total tackles
8: Simon’s tackles, tied with Barnett for second, but the first time in a while defensive linemen have been one-two on the list
7: Number of punts for OSU’s Ben Buchanan, the third time he’s hit that many or more (10 vs. MSU, 7 vs. Toledo).
Source: Columbus Dispatch
On defense, Simon leads the way & Bollman's plan October 16, 2011 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - John Simon seemed like he was everywhere -- because he was everywhere. The Buckeyes' best defender continued to move around the defensive line in Saturday's 17-7 win over Illinois, lining up on the inside or the outside and, either way, often reaching the Illini's backfield...Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman's game plan drove more than a few fans crazy on Saturday, but it didn't bother me much at all...
Sunday Observation: Illinois October 16, 2011 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - The Ohio State football team bounced back from consecutive losses to beat No. 15 Illinois on the road. Get the full breakdown of observations from Ohio State's big win...
Big Ten helmet stickers: Week 7 October 15, 2011 Source: ESPN - Ohio State's defense: The Buckeyes need their defense to play at an elite level to win Big Ten games, and the unit delivered against No. 16 Illinois in a 17-7 victory. Individual standouts included linemen John Simon (4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks) and Johnathan Hankins (team-high 9 tackles, 2 tackles for loss), safety Tyler Moeller (forced fumble, pass breakup) and linebacker Storm Klein (forced fumble, fumble recovery, tackle for loss). But the collective effort lifted Ohio State, which was physical, fundamentally sound and opportunistic (3 takeaways).
Report card from Ohio State-Illinois
October 15, 2011 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - B -- Ohio State's field goal/punt decision making..., B+ -- Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby..., D -- Illinois coach Ron Zook...
The Bottom Line October 16, 2011 Source: Columbus Dispatch - Ohio State Report Card Offense (2 leaves), Defense (4 leaves), Special teams (4 leaves), Coaching (3 leaves), Opponent (3 leaves), Officiating (3 leaves)
Jon Spencer's Buckeye Report Card October 16, 2011 Source: Mansfield News Journal - Offensive Line Grade: B...Running Game Grade: A...Passing Game Grade: D-...Defensive Line Grade: A...Linebackers Grade: A...Secondary Grade: A...Special Teams Grade: A-...Coaching Grade: C...
Ohio State Football: Grading the Buckeyes' Week 7 Win at Illinois October 17, 2011 Source: Bleacher Report - The return of Dan Herron helped spark Ohio State to a much-needed win that almost certainly assures they will have enough wins to be bowl-eligible. The fact that the previous sentence needed to be said is evidence enough of the tough times surrounding the OSU football program. Now with a bye week coming, they still have a chance to salvage some good out of a disastrous 10 months. Here are the grades for this week's performance...
Asmussen: Not so fast, Illini October 15, 2011 Source: IlliniHeadquarters.com - Oh, well, at least the stripes looked cool. Illinois, playing its last home game for a month, saw a whole bunch of goals wiped off the board Saturday against Ohio State. The Buckeyes took out a season's worth of frustration in a 17-7 win...
at Illinois October 15, 2011 3:30PM
Ohio State (3-3, 0-2) at No. 16 Illinois (6-0, 2-0), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional): After a tough one-game road trip, the Illini are back home for the sixth time in seven games this season. The Buckeyes are desperate after losing their first two conference games and with Wisconsin looming next on the schedule. Can Nathan Scheelhaase and A.J. Jenkins continue their outstanding connection against the Silver Bullets?
This week’s challenge
Memorial Stadium in Champaign long has been a weird venue for the Buckeyes. There’s often a wind-tunnel effect there, which can make it a two-quarter offensive day. Yet that’s the card the Buckeyes have been dealt as they try to bluff their way back into a respectable season. The climb from the abyss won’t be easy as they try to keep from losing three straight Big Ten-opening games for the first time since 2004. At least they get help from the return of 1,000-yard rusher Daniel Herron, who is finally out of the NCAA doghouse.
KEY MATCHUP Ohio State’s defense vs. Illinois’ tough-to-predict offense. From week to week it’s tough to tell which side of its attack the Illini will lean on. Last week, Illinois piled up more than 300 yards on the ground at Indiana. The week before, it was 391 yards passing by quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase against Northwestern. Ohio State’s defense remains solid and its best hope. The Buckeyes are fifth in the Big Ten against the run, giving up 116.7 yards a game, and fourth against the pass at 191.5 yards a game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH Ohio State: Quarterback Braxton Miller. The freshman was 5-for-8 for 95 yards and a touchdown and ran for 91 yards in the Buckeyes’ 27-6 start over Nebraska. But his third-quarter fumble sparked the Cornhuskers’ comeback, and Miller left the game with a sprained ankle. The Buckeyes expect him back for the Illini game.
Illinois: Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. He’s No. 3 in the country in receiving yards with 815 (135.8 a game). Jenkins, who after the first game of the season declared himself the Big Ten’s best receiver, might have a little extra incentive this week. Buckeye cornerback Bradley Roby called the senior “nothing special,” chalking up Jenkins’ four 100-yard games and seven touchdowns (including 268 yards and three TDs against Northwestern) to Illinois’ offensive system. Source: Dayton Daily News
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Illinois: Doug Lesmerises' key to the game October 14, 2011 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - Braxton Miller's ankle: Every indication is that Miller is fine. If he's relatively healthy for most of the game today, able to not only play but also offer a run threat to keep the Illinois defense honest, the Buckeyes have a very real shot at a big win. If Miller is limping severely throughout the game and turned into a pocket passer, or forced to the sidelines for an extended period of time, Ohio State has virtually no chance. There was a lot of backup quarterback chatter this week, but the point is that whether it's Kenny Guiton or Joe Bauserman, neither is likely to lead the Buckeyes to a tough win. Miller is a must.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Illinois Illini: Inside the game October 15, 2011 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - The Physical: Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus from Akron Garfield says today's game against Ohio State is his bowl game. But with the Illini off to a 6-0 start, Whitney and Illinois are in line to play in a real postseason game in December or January...The Mental...The Emotional...The Fun...
QBs a Key in No. 16 Illinois vs Ohio St October 14, 2011 Source: New York Times - Nathan Scheelhaase thought a little bit about what might have been had Terrelle Pryor stayed at Ohio State and been behind center for Saturday's matchup with No. 16 Illinois. "In retrospect, that would have been cool," said Scheelhaase, the sophomore quarterback who has led the Illini to a perfect 6-0 start (2-0 Big Ten). Then he came back to reality. "We're just focusing on who they've got," he said.
Keys to the Game – Illinois October 14, 2011 Source: The Buckeye Battle Cry - Keep focusing on the run. This Buckeye team is obviously particularly good at running the football. Throwing still needs to be an important part of keeping the defense honest, but the running game has to be the primary focus.
What OSU football must do to win against Illinois on Saturday October 12, 2011 Source: The Ohio State Lantern - The defense needs to force turnovers as they did in crucial situations against Michigan State. The Buckeyes forced just one Nebraska turnover, an interception, and that came in the first half. Being on the road again, the Buckeyes will have to fight momentum and the crowd. The easiest way to stop momentum is with a turnover from the defense.
Head Coach Luke Fickell told us that Dominic Clarke is suspended, gave us an injury update on Braxton Miller and much more in his weekly Thursday presser
Two-Minute Drill: Fickell Thursday Press Conference October 12, 2011 Source: The Ozone - Here is a two-minute rundown of what Fickell had to say on Thursday as the Buckeyes prepare to travel to Illinois this weekend to face the undefeated Fighting Illini.
Luke Fickell, Big Ten Teleconference October 11, 2011
5 Questions: Ohio State at Illinois October 12, 2011 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - Ohio State gets no rest this week from a brutal October stretch. Illinois brings a quarterback who can run the option and throw it downfield. Those are two things we look at Ohio State trying to stop as well as the pass rush of both teams and the potential for wind to wreak havoc at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
Vrabel talks about the defenses mindset, Illinois QB Scheelhaase, difference between college and pro and more.
Buckeyes Prepare for Illinois October 12, 2011 Source: OSU Official Site - Cornerback Bradley Roby, tight end Jake Stoneburner, center Mike Brewster and defensive tackle Garrett Goebel talk about the game vs. Illinois this week.
Ohio State is 0-2 in the Big Ten for just the second time since 1993.
Ohio State lost back-to-back games for the first time in 88 games (2004), snapping the nation’s longest streak without consecutive losses.
Ohio State and Illinois will be meeting for the 97th time since the series was inaugurated in 1902. Ohio State leads the series 62-30-4 and has a 33-12 advantage in Champaign. Between 1968 and 1982, the Buckeyes put together a 15-game winning streak against the Illini, the longest streak in the series by either team. Illinois won five in a row between 1988 and 1992. Ohio State has won five of the last six meetings, but Illinois was a 28-21 winner in 2007 in Columbus. (Note: the 2010 season was vacated by The Ohio State University)
This week's captains: Mike Brewster, Andrew Sweat, Jake Stoneburner.
Why the Fighting Zookers are Fickell’s Biggest Challenge October 12, 2011 Source: Scarlet & Game - This is where a coach earns his stripes. If you remember after every big loss of the Tressel Era (man, I miss that era), The team always rebounded in a monster way the next week. They seemed on their way to doing that against Nebraska, until The Man went down. That should not happen. Carlos Hyde was having a good night, as well as the D up until that point. Then they just imploded.
Preview: Ohio State at #13 Illinois October 14, 2011 Source: Eleven Warriors - Saying Scheelhaase's primary target is A.J. Jenkins is a little bit like saying pizza's primary target is my mouth. This year Scheelhaase has completed 80 passes. 46 of them have gone to Jenkins, and probably another twenty were intended for Jenkins but instead another TE or WR jumped in the way at the last second, the big dumb idiots. Jenkins is as legit of a WR as you will find in the Big Ten, and maybe even the country. The guy is blistering fast, runs terrific routes, and frankly scares the crap out of me. More on that later.
Ohio State at Illinois Preview October 7, 2011 Source: The Ozone - Illinois will run a spread attack with various looks for the Buckeyes to counter, but the bulk of their plays will take place on the ground. The Illini run the ball about 70% of the time, and despite quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase ranking fifth in the nation in passing efficiency (175.83), the best way to contain this offense is to force Illinois to throw the ball.
CFN Preview - Ohio State at Illinois October 12, 2011 Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - Here’s The Deal … Just how bad is Ohio State and just how good is Illinois?...Why Ohio State Might Win...Why Illinois Might Win...What To Watch Out For...What Will Happen: Ohio State will be better. The defense will play with an attitude and the 1-2 rushing punch of Miller and Herron will be strong, but it won’t be enough. OSU won’t have any semblance of a passing game with the Illinois defensive line dominating from the start, while Scheelhaase will be error-free and just good enough to pull off the tough win.
Ohio State at Illinois October 13, 2011 Source: Warren Tribune Chronicle - The Buckeyes might just be able to pull it off. Illinois might have played the softest schedule of any 6-0 team in the nation. Coach Ron Zook's Illini have beaten Arkansas State, South Dakota State, Arizona State, Western Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana.
Match Up Of The Week: Ohio State Must Stop Illini Offense October 14, 2011 Source: The Crystal Ball Run - Enter Illinois and their offensive attack spearheaded by Paul Petrino and operated by Nathan Scheelhaase. This offense is going to tax the Buckeyes on the edge and up the middle through their multiple looks and various formations. While the nation's eyes will be on the Buckeye offense and Braxton Miller the issue we're going to be watching for is how this Buckeye's defense handles the Illinois scheme.
2011 Illinois Fighting Illini Game Preview October 13, 2011 Source: Buckeye Planet - Dare I say that the Illini faithful are "Dancin' to the Scheelhaase Rock" these days, as the QB has led a highly potent offense in his second year at the helm. Last season he threw for just 1825 yards, but he has over 1200 in just a half season this year without seeing any major drop in his run production or the run production of the team.
Ohio State Illinois Preview October 13, 2011 Source: ESPN - Illinois proved it could win on the road last weekend. Now, it must find a way to beat Ohio State at home.
Fighting Illini Football Preview: Ohio State, Like a Baus October 14, 2011 Source: Hail To the Orange - What the Illini really need to be focusing on is the Ohio State defense. Despite their 3-3 record, OSU still has a defense that is ranked 11th in points against and are still just as stacked as OSU defenses usually are. Last week this defense held Nebraska without a TD for the first half before imploding down the stretch, but make no mistake, with a competent offense to give this unit rest they are fearsome and formidable.
Illinois spotlight: WR A.J. Jenkins October 14, 2011 Source: Columbus Dispatch - Is Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins one of the elite in the country, as his numbers suggest? Or is he, as Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby opined earlier this week, “a decent receiver, but he’s nothing special really”?
At 6-0, Illinois is off to its best start since the 1951 team opened the season 7-0 en route to a 9-0-1 record. The Illini are one of 13 remaining unbeaten teams in the nation and one of just seven that are 6-0 and bowl-eligible.
Biletnikoff Award candidate A.J. Jenkins has 18 catches for 450 yards and five touchdowns in the last two games, the most receiving yards in a two-game span in Big Ten history. Jenkins leads the nation in receiving yards (815) and is fifth in yards per game (135.83).
Sophomore QB Nathan Scheelhaase ranks fifth in the nation and second in the Big Ten in passing efficiency (175.83). He has thrown 23 TDs against just four INTs over the last 13 games. He threw for a career-high 391 yards and three touchdowns to lead Illinois back from an 18-point deficit against Northwestern.