Friday, October 14, 2011
Will Zook & Illini Cook The Buckeyes Below .500?
Game Seven: Illinois Fighting Illini
Location: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL. 3:30pm kickoff, ABC
Head Coach: Ron Zook
Illinois Players Who Were Recruited By Ohio State: CB Justin Green.
Overview: Ohio State traditionally struggles whenever they visit Champaign, IL. In 2002, Ohio State was fortunate to escape with an overtime victory that allowed the Buckeyes to remain undefeated. In 2006, Ohio State barely held on against the Illini. In 2008, with revenge on their minds and Terrelle Pryor at the offensive controls, Ohio State traveled to Illinois and won in a close contest. And last season, Ohio State was able to leave with a victory, despite Terrelle Pryor's injury that was a bitter 2011 foreshadowing for Ohio State's fans of Pryor's importance to the Buckeye offense.
Offensively, Ohio State seemed to figure out what QB Braxton Miller can do, and played to his strengths. As soon as Joe Bauserman entered the game, the offensive game plan moved to a pass first mindset, and everything seemed to unravel. Considering how ineffective Bauserman has been since the Miami (FL) game, it would not be surprising if Kenny Guiton is the backup quarterback. Guiton would allow the coaching staff to maintain the same type of game plan as they have devised for Braxton Miller, as Guiton is a mobile quarterback as well.
Defensively, Ohio State wilted in the second half against Nebraska. Whether it was a psychological collapse due to the offensive ineffectiveness under Joe Bauserman, or fatigue from being on the field for most of the second half, the Buckeyes' defense needs to regroup for this battle against Illinois.
The weather forecast for Champaign on game day is a sunny and high 60 degrees. It will be interesting to see how Ohio State comes out after blowing the big lead against Nebraska last week...I will say Illinois 24, Ohio State 14.