4 Quarters of Offense.Last week was better, but still not good enough. I want to score early and often.
Defense…more, please. The defense played a pretty good game last week. Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?
XBrax360. Illinois is awful. This should be a week for Braxton to put up some more big numbers.
Electricity in the ‘Shoe. No excuses. Kickoff is at 3:30 rather than noon so everyone should be fully awake and ready to go. This team is 9-0, and they just got a huge road win in Happy Valley last week. Let’s get it rocking in the ‘Shoe on Saturday.
No more Illini Dancing on the Block O. It absolutely made me suck to my stomach for them to do it an I wouldn’t have blamed te Buckeyes for going to town more than they did. Take it to them quickly an leave little doubt.
Throw It Over Top. The best way to get Devin Smith back in the saddle is go deep and make him go after it. Challenge the talent and speed of the Illini from the get go.
Silver Bullets. I tweeted last week close to the end of the game that it was the first time all season I felt like I could use the hashtag #SilverBullets. It’s a fact for many and I want to see more consistency. Buckeyes lead the B1G in YPG given up and they should continue.
Hyde and Smith. Braxton’s passing game will get better and will allow the two beasts in the back field to go to town. First game Brax won’t be the primary runner this week and Hyde and Smith will get 100 a piece.
Start fast. Don’t give the Illini a chance to breathe let alone feel they belong in this game. They don’t.
100 yard back. Let’s get one, maybe even two, running backs over 100 yards.
Air it out. In the midst of what should be an offensive onslaught, let’s see lot’s of yards in the air!
Special teams. No mistakes on special teams this week. Easy enough.
Tackle. Fundamentals on defense, notably tackling. Tune up for the final two.
The return of the Heisman winning moment against Illinois.We all know what happened in 1995 – Eddie George puts up video game numbers on Illinois, running for 314 yards, several touchdowns, and with a few receiving yards for good measure. It’s Braxton’s turn to put on the same show.
By the way, anyone else flummoxed that Eddie’s amazing day against Illinois was 17 years ago? That’s your “feel old” moment of the week. (Better yet, Janelle was probably 3 when it happened. Just sayin’)
A strong defensive presence. Our defense has it in them to play great football, they just can’t do it against an opponent that is weaker on paper. Stop playing down to the opponent and start valuing the shut-out again. And, no, they’re still not allowed to be called the you-know-whats.
More than 10 receptions for the game. The Buckeyes threw 19 times with only 7 receptions against Pick Six U. I’d like to see that receptions number go up this weekend – perhaps even have a higher than 50% catch rate. Or am I asking too much here?
No more Mali “no false starts” predictions. Seriously, we’re boarding on insanity here. These need to stop, or he’s going to jinx us right back to the Bollman Age. (And, yes, the “Bollman Age” is just as much a thing as the “Stone Age” or “Iron Age”. Pretty soon, paleontologists will dig up petrified false start flags from the era.)
Kenny G. Again, he’s earned it, and it will mean that the coaching staff has decided to rest Braxton a bit. I’m OK with that.
Passing Touchdowns. We managed to beat the Illini last year with two completions… can we have more?
Shutout. The last time Tim Beckman brought a team to Columbus, Toledo put the fear of God into Ohio State. He prides himself on getting the ball to his playmakers, so our defense will have to step up. Indiana almost doubled their season sack total last week against Illinois, and our linebacking corps is starting to play much better. They’ll be facing a team that has struggled offensively; can we hang the goose-egg on them?
10-0. Did you know that Urban Meyer was 3-5 in the weeks preceding a Bye at Florida, including the famous Old Miss loss that was the only one of that team’s season? Given that they are banged up and need the time off, will Ohio State be focused enough knowing that the bye is coming, to handle business?
I’m Hopeful. We only false started once (!) in the incredibly hostile environment at Happy Valley. It’s got to be more realistic this week, right? (Ed – Well, I guess as long as I don’t look at this post on Saturday…)
Braxton throwing the ball down field.We have seen Braxton win games with his feet, and make some good throws, but more consistency and accuracy down the field will make him that much tougher to defend.
No injuries. Going into the stretch run it would be nice to see us at full strength after the bye week.
One step closer to an undefeated season. On paper this looks to be one of our easier games of the season, but a win in November is never a walk in the park. It would be nice to see us put this one away early and see some young guys out there making big plays.
No Let Down. Big game last week with major emotions. Now with a 2-7 team coming to town we can’t afford a let down. The longer Illinois stays close the worse it will be for OSU.
Accuracy. I love what Braxton does with his feet but I’m still struggling with his arm. He seems to be improving but he has to start hitting those wide open receivers in order to keep the offense flowing for four quarters.
A blowout Win. For the first time since the home opener, I want to see the Buckeyes just utterly bury their foe. The hapless Illini probably present the best opportunity to do this of our 3 remaining games. Ideally the defense will hold them to 14 or less points, and the offense will put up 50+ (or maybe a couple scores off turnovers).
Double 150 yard rushers. The Illini also present an opportunity for the Bucks to really run up the yards on the ground. I’d like to see Braxton and Hyde clear the 150 mark. Admittedly this is stretching a bit, but I think it’s definitely within the realm of possibility.
A competent passing game. Don’t get me wrong, our passing game has come a long way from last year or even earlier in the season. But the receivers need to really hold onto the ball, and Braxton needs to work on taking a bit of the zing off the ball. Obviously the environment in Happy Vally played into it last week, but a veteran group really needs to be able to handle that. In our own stadium, vs a team as lowly as the Illini, I’d like to see at least a “passable” passing game (pun intended).
No Injuries. We’re going into the BYE week and the last two games of the season, arguably against 2 of the best teams on our schedule. We already are expecting to get a few guys back after the BYE week, lets not injure anymore and potentially lose them for the rest of the season.