Oct. 10, 2011
Ohio State (3-3, 0-2) at #16/15 Illinois (6-0, 2-0)
Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011
2:30/3:30 p.m. ET
Memorial Stadium (70,904) - Champaign, Ill.
Television: ABC will televise the game with Bob Wischusen, Bob Davie and Heather Cox (sideline) on the call.
Radio: WBNS (FM 97.1 The Fan) is the flagship station for the 73-station Ohio State radio network. The Luke Fickell pregame show airs 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Paul Keels will call the play-by-play with former Buckeye Jim Lachey in the booth and Marty Bannister on the sidelines. The game can also be heard live on Sirius-XM satellite radio.
First and 10
About the Illini
At 6-0, The Fighting Illini are off to their best start under head coach Ron Zook and their best since 1951 when the Illini started the season 7-0. Illinois has now won seven in a row dating back to its Texas Bowl victory to end 2010.
Offensively, Illinois is led by quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase who is fifth nationally and second in the Big Ten in passer efficiency (175.83).
Biletnikoff Award candidate A.J. Jenkins is fifth in the nation with 135.8 yards receiving per game. He caught six passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns Saturday at IU, marking his fourth 100-yard receiving game this season and the seventh of his career. Jenkins has 450 yards over the past two games, the most by an Illinois receiver in consecutive games.
Defensively, Illinois ranks first in the Big Ten and sixth nationally in sacks with 3.67 per game, with Whitney Mercilus second in the NCAA with 1.42 sacks per game. Tavon Wilson was named the Big Ten defensive player of the week after Saturday's win over Indiana. Wilson returned a fumble 66 yards for a touchdown to give the Illini a lead they would not relinquish in the 21-point win. Wilson also recorded a team-high 11 tackles, including nine solos, a career-high 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one pass break-up in the game.
Head coach Ron Zook is in his seventh season in Champaign with a record of 34-45 and his 10th overall (57-59) as a head coach. Prior to Illinois Zook spent three seasons at the University of Florida from 2002-04 where he went 23-14. Zook was named the 2007 National and Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading the Illini to the 2008 Rose Bowl.
Ohio State and Illinois will be meeting for the 97th time since the series was inaugurated in 1902. Until the series was interrupted in 2003, the two teams had played every year from 1914 to 2002.
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)
Illibuck is a wooden replica of a turtle presented to the winner of the Ohio State-Illinois football game. The tradition began with a live turtle in 1925. Illibuck is the second oldest trophy exchanged in the Big Ten, behind the Little Brown Jug between Minnesota and Michigan.
Not Since 2004
This week against unbeaten Illinois Ohio State will seek to stop a two-game Big Ten losing streak. The Buckeyes have not lost three games consecutively nor started 0-3 in the Big Ten since 2004. Both occurred concurrently. Ohio State finished 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten (T4th) that season.
Five Consecutive Leaders Games
The game this week against the Illini will start a stretch of five consecutive games against Leaders Division opponents for the Buckeyes before closing out with the traditional season-ender vs. Michigan, which is situated in the Legends Division.
It's the Overall Record
The winner of the respective Legends Division and Leaders Division will be the team with the best overall record in all Big Ten games, and not the team with the best divisional record. Leaders Division leaders are Wisconsin, Illinois, Penn State and Purdue, which are all unbeaten through the first two weeks of Big Ten play.
Braxton's Finest Hour Cut Short
Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was enjoying his finest game as a Buckeye through two-and-a-half quarters vs. Nebraska. His rushing - career-high 91 yards - and passing - 5 of 8 for 95 yards with one touchdown - had staked the Buckeyes to a 27-6 lead against No. 14 Nebraska in wet and louder than loud Memorial Stadium. His third quarter fumble just inside of the 8 minute mark led to a quick Cornhusker score and he left the game for good on his next series with a sprained ankle. The Cornhuskers eventually rallied with 28 consecutive points to claim a 34-27 victory.
Miller is expected to start this weekend vs. Illinois.
No. 2 This Year in Total Offense
Ohio State's 351 yards of offense vs. the `Huskers was a five-game high and was topped only by a 517-yard effort in the opening game of the season vs. Akron. Nebraska was held to 117 yards in the first half as the Buckeyes built a 20-6 lead, but the Cornhuskers had 306 after intermission to finish with an Ohio State opponents' season-high of 423 yards.
Hyde Was Hot, Too
No, that wasn't current NFL running back Beanie Wells scooting wide right to score on a thrilling 60-plus yard touchdown, as he did vs. LSU in the 2008 national championship game. That was another fast, bruising running back, 6-2, 235-pound sophomore Carlos Hyde, whose career-long 63-yard touchdown run gave the Buckeyes a 17-3 lead. Tight end Reid Fragel had the key block and right tackle J.B. Shugarts helped seal off the edge for Hyde's huge burst.
Rush Key's 100-Yard Game
Carlos Hyde's 63-yard touchdown run was one of two touchdowns against Nebraska for the sophomore. His one-yard bull into the end zone on Ohio State's first series of the third quarter extended Ohio State's lead to 27-6. Hyde finished with his first 100-yard rushing game - 104 yards - and his TDs increased his rushing total to a team-high five this season. Hyde also leads the team with 400 rushing yards and a 5.3 per carry average.
Ohio State's top-two tailback tandem of Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde are combining for 132.9 yards per game. Hyde just barely has the edge with 66.7 yards per game while Hall, who had 49 hard-earned yards against the Cornhuskers, averages 66.2 yards per game.
Stoneburner's Seven Equals Seventh
Jake Stoneburner has moved into sole possession of seventh place among Ohio State tight ends with seven career touchdown receptions. The junior caught his fifth touchdown this season - a 32-yard screen pass from Braxton Miller with blocking assistance from Mike Brewster and Mike Adams - in the first quarter against Nebraska. It was Stoneburner's first TD reception since catching two vs. Toledo. He also caught two vs. Akron.
Tight End Touchdowns
10 - John Lumpkin (1996-98)
9 - Rickey Dudley (1994-95)
9 - Charles Bryant (1959-61)
9 - Darnell Sanders (1999-01)
8 - Jan White (1968-70)
8 - Robert Grimes (1950-52)
7 - Jake Stoneburner (2009-present)
Speaking of Sevens
Kicker Drew Basil, after missing the first four attempts of his career (including two from over 50 yards last year), has now made seven consecutive field goals. His latest makes came against Nebraska from 41 and 35 yards out. He is 7 of 9 in field goals this season plus 17 for 17 on extra points.
Another Career-High for Bryant
Christian Bryant is averaging better than eight tackles per game in the last three games since he became a starter in the secondary. Included was a career-best 10-tackle game vs. Nebraska. His six solos vs. the Huskers was also a career high. His 10 topped the nine he recorded vs. Michigan State.
Sweat Still Leads
Nine more tackles by senior linebacker Andrew Sweat has increased his team-leading total to 43 on the season. He ranks 14th in the Big Ten with his average of 7.2 tackles per game. Christian Bryant's 28 stops is next. Johnathan Hankins leads all down linemen with 27, including six vs. the Cornhuskers.
Bucks Add Six To Big Play Total
Six rushes and receptions over 20 yards vs. Nebraska was the most since the team had seven vs. Akron. The six big plays last week included 27- and 21-yard receptions by Philly Brown, 29- and 24-yard rushes by Braxton Miller, a 32-yard Jake Stoneburner reception and a 63-yard Carlos Hyde run. Each of the big plays either went for a touchdown (Hyde and Stoneburner) or led to a field goal or a touchdown.
A new-look offensive line paved the way for a season-high 243 yards rushing by the Buckeyes against the Cornhuskers. Mike Adams came off his five-game suspension to start and play well alongside senior All-America center Mike Brewster, fellow senior tackle J.B. Shugarts and a pair of sophomore guards, Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell. Mewhort played at right guard after starting the first five games to Brewster's left. Norwell moved from left tackle, where he made his first five career starts this season, to left guard. The season-high total came after an atypical 35-yard rushing game vs. Michigan State.
Hall Set to Return
Marcus Hall, a starter at right guard for the first five games of the season, can return to action this weekend against Illinois after sitting out the Nebraska game because of an NCAA suspension. The red-shirt sophomore has started six times in his career, including once in 2009 as a freshman, and will back up Andrew Norwell at left guard.
Couple More Notes from Lincoln
A couple of young defensive linemen - sophomore Johnathan Hankins and freshman Michael Bennett - each recorded sacks of Nebraska's Taylor Martinez. The sacks were the second for each player, respectively, and each is now tied with Etienne Sabino for the team lead with two ... The last time two rushers topped 100 yards vs. Ohio State in the same game - Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez netted 119 and 102, respectively - was the 1988 season when Michigan's Leroy Hoard (158) and Tony Boles (103) each went over 100 ... that No. 13 making a couple of special teams plays was Jeremy Cash, who had been wearing No. 17 through the first five games.
C.J. 2nd in B1G PDs
Sophomore safety C.J. Barnett ranks second in the Big Ten conference with six passes defensed, trailing only Iowa's Micah Hyde, who has seven. Barnett has four pass break-ups and two interceptions. Freshman cornerback Bradley Roby is also among the Big Ten's Top 20 in passes defensed with four (two PBUs and two INTs).
Receiver Corey "Philly" Brown and fullback Adam Homan returned to action against the Cornhuskers. Brown was a spark at receiver, catching three passes for 61 yards after missing the previous three games with an ankle injury. Homan played on special teams and backed up Zach Boren after also missing three games due to a knee issue.
Dan "Boom" Herron will be active this week vs. the Illini after missing the first six games of the season while serving an NCAA suspension. Herron was a first-team all-Big Ten running back last year after rushing for 1,155 yards and scoring 16 touchdowns. The senior has 2,194 career rushing yards - 17th at Ohio State - and 29 rushing touchdowns.
Herron had three 100-yard performances in the final five games of last season. He had 114 at Minnesota, a career-high 190 at Penn State and 175 in the win over Michigan, including a penalty-shortened 89-yard run that was the longest play from scrimmage in school history. Herron rushed for at least one touchdown in each of the final 12 games of the 2010 season.
More on Boom ...
Buchanan Now at 15 I20
Another fine punting game by Ben Buchanan in the rain at Nebraska - 42.3 net average - included two more punts inside the 20. Buchanan ranks fourth nationally and leads the Big Ten with 15 punts inside the 20. He also leads with 35 punts. His 41.6 yard average ranks sixth in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes boast an all-time record of 360-128-28 in October games. Ohio State is 247-64-20 in October home games and 114-64-8 on the road that month.
Miller Solid in Starting Debut
Braxton Miller, just the third freshman to start at quarterback for Ohio State, rushed for 83 yards, passed for 83 yards and threw two touchdown passes to Devin Smith to lead Ohio State to a 37-17 win over Colorado Sept. 24 at Ohio Stadium. Miller and Smith hooked up on a 32-yard score in the second quarter to increase the lead to 17-0 and a 17-yard TD connection in the third to extend the lead to 27-7. Miller was 5 of 13 passing and he gained all of his rushing yards in the first half as he staked the Buckeyes to a 20-7 halftime lead. He did not have any turnovers despite constant blitzing from the Colorado defenders.
Miller has played in five games thus far in his Buckeye career, completing 25 of 47 passes for 386 yards with four TDs and one INT. He also has carried 49 times for 209 yards. He totaled a season-high 186 yards of total offense at No. 14 Nebraska through two and a half quarters before leaving the game with an ankle injury.
Miller led Wayne High School to the Division I state title game in 2010 while passing for 2,167 yards and 17 TDs while rushing for 658 yards and 17 TDs as a senior. He had a career record of 31-7 over three seasons and was a finalist for Ohio's Mr. Football. A first team all-state selection, he also played in the 2010 Under Armour All-American Game.
Brewster Reaches 42 Straight
All-American center Mike Brewster started his 42nd consecutive game Saturday at Nebraska. The senior from Orlando, Fla. made his first start in Game 4 of the 2008 season vs. Troy and started the final 10 games of the season. He started all 13 games in 2009 and 2010, respectively, in addition to the first six games this year.
Red Zone Efficiency
Ohio State has scored 16 of 19 times (84.2 percent) this season inside the 20 with 11 touchdowns and five field goals. The only three times the Buckeyes have failed to score came on a fumble and on two end-of-game possessions against Akron and Colorado while running out the clock.
Since Rod Smith's fumble in the first quarter against Akron, Ohio State has scored on 15 consecutive red zone possessions if you don't count the two possessions in which the Buckeyes took a knee to run out the clock.
Noting the Buckeyes
The Silver Bullet Defense
The Buckeyes have a long-standing tradition of producing the best defenses in the Big Ten and the nation year in, year out and rank in the top 25 nationally in several defensive categories in 2011. Here are some bullets that put into perspective the Silver Bullets dominance:
|Year||PPG Allowed||FBS Rank|
Fewest 100-yd rushers allowed (FBS Teams Since 2005)
Fewest 100-yd rushers allowed (FBS Teams Since 2007)
Last Nine players to rush for 100 yards since 2007:
|10/8/11||Taylor Martinez||at Nebraska||17-102|
|10/8/11||Rex Burkhead||at Nebraska||26-119|
|9/17/11||Lamar Miller||at Miami||26-184|
|11/27/10||D. Robinson||Michigan||18 -105|
|10/16/10||John Clay||at Wisconsin||21-104|
|9/13/08||Joe McKnight||at USC||12-105|
|9/15/07||Jake Locker||at Washington||14-102|
Head Coach Luke Fickell
Not Since 1922-24
Ohio State ranks second among all NCAA Div. I programs with 85 consecutive seasons since last posting back-to-back losing records. The Buckeyes have not been under .500 for two or more consecutive seasons since 1922-24, which trails only Tennessee; the Vols have not had back-to-back losing seasons since 1909-11, a span of 98 consecutive seasons.
Ohio State to Wear Advanced Nike Uniforms for Wisconsin Game
Ohio State will be one of nine college football programs donning uniquely designed, highly advanced Nike uniforms for at least one game during the 2011-12 season.
The teams selected to sport the 2011 Nike Pro Combat system of dress uniforms include the United States Military Academy (Army), Boise State University, University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, the United States Naval Academy, The Ohio State University, University of Oregon, and Stanford University.
The uniforms will hit the field on opening day of the 2011-12 college football season and throughout the year during some of fiercest rivalries in college football. Dates include Oregon vs. LSU at Cowboys Stadium (9/3), Boise State vs. Georgia at the Georgia Dome (9/3), Michigan State vs. Michigan (10/15), LSU vs. Auburn (10/22), Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (10/29), Stanford vs. Notre Dame (11/27) and the annual service academy bragging rights matchup between two of the nation's most prestigious football programs - Army vs. Navy (12/10).
This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Ohio State University's undefeated 1961 championship season -- a distinctive milestone that provides a source of inspiration for a program steeped in tradition and rooted in pride. The 2011 Nike Pro Combat system of dress design for the Buckeyes harkens back to that team, whose offensive power lived in its backfield, led by the 6'0, 227 pound All-American fullback, Bob Ferguson. The Heisman runner-up was a power runner and contributed immensely to the team's noteworthy speed, aggression and smarts. This uniform acknowledges the dominance of the 1961 team and will deliver an undeniable motivation for the current Buckeyes when they face off against Wisconsin on October 29.
Distinctive white block lettering on Ohio State's bold scarlet jersey is accompanied by gray sleeve and collar accents that provide a retro look high in contrast. An inscription of the year "1961" on the inner neckline, socks and sleeves act as a silent reminder of the indisputable determination of that year's lineup. A steel gray baselayer and matching arm sleeves feature a print reminiscent of a buckeye tree. These two pieces are patterned after Buckeye Grove - home to a collection of buckeye trees planted in honor of each first team All-American player, like Ferguson, whose presence always commanded respect. Dark gray pants complement the baselayer design, emblazoned with a prominent block `O' on the hip alongside a scarlet streak on the pant leg.
Big Ten Announces 2013-14 Football Schedule
The Big Ten Conference has announced its 2013 and 2014 conference football schedules. Ohio State, a member of the Leaders division, will play four home and four away league contests in each of those seasons.
In 2013, OSU opens Big Ten play hosting Wisconsin Sept. 28. Other Big Ten games in 2013: Oct. 5 at Northwestern; Oct. 19 vs. Iowa; Oct. 26 vs. Penn State; Nov. 2 at Purdue; Nov. 16 at Illinois; Nov. 23 vs. Indiana; Nov. 30 at Michigan.
Ohio State has two non-conference dates confirmed for the 2013 season: Aug. 31 vs. Vanderbilt at Ohio Stadium; and Sept. 14 at California.
In 2014, Ohio State begins Big Ten action hosting Purdue Oct. 4. Other Big Ten contests in 2014: Oct. 18 at Iowa; Oct. 25 vs. Northwestern; Nov. 1 at Wisconsin; Nov. 8 vs. Illinois; Nov. 15 at Penn State; Nov. 22 at Indiana; Nov. 29 vs. Michigan.
The Buckeyes' non-conference games for 2014 are Aug. 30 vs. Navy in Baltimore; followed by three games at Ohio Stadium: Sept. 6 vs. Cincinnati; Sept. 13 vs. Kent State; and Sept. 20 vs. Virginia Tech.
Big Ten to Play Nine Conference Games Beginning with 2017 Season
The Big Ten will move to a nine-game conference schedule beginning with the 2017 season.
Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years. The 2017 schedule will include five conference home outings for Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division and Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern of the Legends Division and Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division. The Big Ten will return to a full nine-game conference schedule for the first time since the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Eight of 10 conference schools played nine-game schedules during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, while two of 10 teams featured nine-game schedules from 1971-72 and 1977-80.