UI at Ohio State: 5 keys
Can the Illini slow Braxton Miller?
Coach Tim Beckman said earlier in the week the key to stopping the Ohio State quarterback is to know where he is at all times. Miller has topped the opposing teams’ scouting reports all season and despite knowing where he is, no one has stopped him. The Heisman Trophy candidate leads the Big Ten in rushing (1,093 yards) and has thrown for 1,527 and 12 TDs. He’s the first OSU quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
Can Illinois keep Scheelhaase upright?
The Illini quarterback was sacked seven times in last week’s loss to Indiana and the Illini have allowed a conference-high 30 sacks this season. It’ll be tough against Ohio State’s heralded defensive front led by John Simon. The Buckeyes are tied for third in the conference, having sacked opposing quarterbacks 20 times.
Will Urban Meyer take it easy on the Illini?
Don’t count on it. Though Tim Beckman is one of 10 former Meyer assistants who are now head coaches, the godfather isn’t going to play nice. He’s 2-0 against former employees and the Buckeyes have scored at least 30 points six times this season and the Illinihave struggled to come close to that number. Illinois is averaging 14 points against FBS opponents.
Will Illinois’ Ohio Stadium magic continue?
If you’re looking for something to lead you to believe the Illini have a chance today, it’s the fact that they’ve won seven of their last 11 games at the Horseshoe. It didn’t matter the last time Illinois played there. The Buckeyes roughed up the Illini 30-0 in 2009.
Can the Illini defense keep the OSU offense off the field?
The key to doing that will be forcing three-and-outs and Illinois has been good in that area this season. The Illini rank 11th in the country and second in the Big Ten, forcing 4.63 three-and-outs this season. They’ve been particularly good at the beginning of games, forcing a three-and-out six times to start a game this season.