Final Breakdown: Illinois vs. Ohio State

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Ohio State finally put away a lesser opponent, routing Illinois 52-22 in Ohio Stadium. It’s the first time in school history that OSU has hit the 50-point mark four times in the same season.

The 2012 Buckeyes became just the tenth team in school history to start the season with a perfect 10-0 mark. The other squads were in 1954, 1968, 1975, 1979, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2006 and 2007.

The game was blown open in the second quarter, as Ohio State out-scored Illinois 24-0 in the period. In second quarters this year, the Buckeyes enjoy a 132-37 advantage.

The OSU pounded the Illini, out-gaining its opponent 567 to 170, rushing for a robust 330 yards. Carlos Hyde ran 137 of it on 18 carries, and scored three touchdowns. He has now scored 11 touchdowns in his last five games, and has found the end zone 13 times on the year.

Braxton Miller added 73 yards on the ground and a touchdown, while Bri’onte Dunn also ran for 73 fourth quarter yards and hit pay-dirt himself.

On the season, Ohio State has ran for 34 touchdowns, the most by a Buckeye team since the 35 scored back in 1984.

Miller enjoyed a 12 for 20 passing performance, with several balls dropped by would-be Buckeye receivers. His 226 yards passing was the second most in a game this year for the sophomore (249 vs. California), and he had 299 yards of total offense.

It was the first time since 2007 that the Bucks were able to throw for more than 100 yards against Illinois.

On the season, Miller has 1,166 yards rushing, the most ever for an OSU quarterback, and tied for 21st among all Buckeyes with Ron Springs (1977).

The game was as close as the score indicated. Illinois converted two OSU turnovers (third quarter Rod Smith fumble and the 77-yard touchdown off a bad connection on an OSU pitch) for 16 of its 22 points.

Defensively, Ryan Shazier continues to make his bid for First-Team All-Big Ten. Coming off Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors last week, he led the Silver Bullets with 14 tackles (11 solo), 2 tackles for loss, and a pass break-up. Zach Boren added 8 tackles from his linebacker spot.

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was harassed all day, and completed 19 of 34 passes, but for only 96 yards. He added 36 on the ground. As a team, Illinois only ran for 74 yards.

Some familiar problems continued to haunt Ohio State, such as penalties (6 for 79 yards, mostly on defense), special teams (several long Illini kick returns & poor punting) and turnovers (Illinois won that battle 2-1). Yet, once again, the Buckeyes found a way to win for the tenth time.

Illinois has far bigger problems to deal with. This was the 11th straight Big Ten loss for the Illini dating back to last year’s game with OSU. Illinois has also dropped 13 of 16 in that same span.

After ten straight weeks of games, Ohio State gets a much-needed bye week. The Buckeyes return to action on November 17th at Wisconsin.