Ohio State finally did to a bad opponent what it should.
The Buckeyes have seemed to play up or down to their level of competition this season, but not today as OSU downed Illinois, 52-22.
Illinois (2-7, 0-4) is a bad team. But, you still have to be encouraged by some things you saw today.
1. Ohio State’s defensive line is really, really special. Every player that is involved in the rotation can make plays against both the run and the pass.
2. Braxton Miller is the most exciting player in college football. He still has a ways to go as a passer, but the plays he makes with his feet. In the first half, Miller completed just five passes, but threw for 152 yards and one touchdown. His final numbers on the day were 12 for 20 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 18 times for 73 yards and one touchdown.
3. Carlos Hyde is a touchdown machine. Hyde added three more touchdowns today, bringing his season total to 13. Hyde finished the day with 18 carries for 137 yards and the three touchdowns.
4. Ryan Shazier is playing himself into an All-Big Ten linebacker. Over the past three games, he’s been absolutely tremendous for the Buckeyes. Today, he finished the game with 14 tackles.
It’s hard to be picky in such a one-sided game, but my main concern with this OSU team as that it continues to get off to very slow starts. Today, they allowed Illinois to score first as it kicked a field goal on two of its first three drives. The Buckeyes led just 7-6 after the first quarter.
There also were too many penalties for Ohio State that extended Illinois drives. For the game, the Buckeyes had six penalties for 79 yards.
With the blowout victory, the Buckeyes will head into the bye week with a 10-0 record. OSU’s final two games (at Wisconsin and vs. Michigan) are all that stand between a perfect 12-0 record in Urban Meyer’s first season as head coach.
Not too shabby for a team that finished 6-7 a year ago.