Stingy defense and a 20-6 spurt in the second half allowed the Ohio
State Buckeyes to overcome an ugly first half and beat host Illinois 48-39 on Saturday.
A sellout crowd of 17,200 fans, many of whom were dressed like empty seats at game’s end, watched as Aaron Craft scored 14 points to lead the OSU effort. LaQuinton Ross added 9 and Marc Loving 8 as OSU improved to 20-6 overall and 7-6 in the B1G.
The spurt in the second half included eight straight points that helped OSU turn a 23-20 halftime deficit into a 36-29 lead midway through as the Buckeyes, who played for long stretches without the foul-plagued Craft, won at Illinois for the first time since 2011.
Loving was a spark in the second half, scoring all of his points, as was Ross, who hit a couple of early baskets to help erase the lead. The defense held Illinois to just 16 second-half points.
OSU was up 12 late in the game and heading for a blowout, but a lucky banked-in 3-point shot and some shaky free-throw shooting helped Illinois (14-12, 3-10) cut it to five with under a minute left. But Shannon Scott and Craft each nailed a pair of free throws to settle down OSU and ice the victory. Read More
Following the rather disappointing loss to Michigan, the Buckeyes have to hit the road again to take on the Fighting Illini.
The game is set to tip at 8pm eastern time this evening. You’ll be able to see the game on the Big Ten Network.
Ohio State came into tonight’s game against Illinois with a 13-10 (3-4 in the Big Ten) record. As suggested by their record, conference play had been very up and down for the Buckeyes who were coming off a tough loss to Michigan State where OSU got out to a nice early lead only to lose the lead thanks to a scoring drought partway through the first half that they couldn’t overcome. Despite their up and down season, OSU is currently projected as a 12 seed in the ESPN’s most recent NCAA tournament projection thanks to their top ranked strength of schedule and four wins over RPI top 50 teams.
The game got off to a poor start for Ohio State as Illinois hit back-to-back three pointers in the first minute and a half as the Illini scored the first 8 points of the game. Even when OSU finally got their offense going, the Illini hit another pair of three pointers to extend their lead to 16-5 less than five minutes into the game. At this point Kevin McGuff switched up the Buckeye defense, changing to a 3-2 which resulted in the Buckeyes getting out on the Illinois shooters better. OSU then started taking advantage of Illinois missing some shots and started to force some turnovers which sparked an 18 to 3 run by the Buckeyes that gave them a 23-19 lead at the midpoint of the first half. A technical foul on the Illinois coach seemed to wake up the Illini who started to hit shots again to tie the game at 28 with just under eight minutes remaining in the half. A pair of free throws by Martina Ellerbe and an old fashioned three point play by Raven Ferguson put the Buckeyes back on top and OSU continued their surging for the rest of the half on the way to a 47-35 lead at intermission.
The Buckeyes are back in Columbus this evening to play host to John Groce’s Illinois Fighting Illini. The game is a matchup of two teams that have both lost 4 straight in Big Ten play, so everyone will be trying to right the ship this evening.
The game is scheduled to tip at 7 PM Eastern time on ESPN. Swing by and chat with all of your favorite Buckeye bloggers and friends! Go Bucks!
It’s the last week of the regular season and just like when we started our pick ‘em we are tied.
Gary went 3-3 last week, picking OSU, Sparty and Whiskey correctly, while whiffing on TTUN, Purdon’t and Penn State. The only difference with my picks was that I took Illinois over the Boilerstinkers.
So this week we have six games.
SPOILER ALERT: We will have to have a tiebreaker next week.
Gary and I have picked the same on all the games. We are taking Ohio State, Nebraska, Sparty, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Indiana.
No matter how you slice it, we are going to end up tied. I really, really tried to pick one game against Gary. But I couldn’t find one where I felt even remotely comfortable. Gary didn’t want to take any chances either.
Soooooooooooooooooooo, we will look ahead to next week where there are eight games we will use as our tiebreaker. And total points in the B1G title game will serve as the ultimate tiebreaker. IF we both pick the same number of points, I don’t know what to tell you.
Beer chugging contest? Jagerbombs?
Standings heading into final week:
Gary and Scott: 26-13
You know what’s interesting about college sports? Call it “the circle of life”, call it “karma” (j/k, don’t do that) call it “Brent Musberger’s Vegas Connections”, but the fact is that things just seem to work themselves out.
In spite of efforts to create story lines and “narrative”, teams win and teams lose and everyone gets to play in a bowl. Well, almost everyone.
It’s like I’ve been saying all season- “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” Play well, win the game you’re in, and let the chips fall where they may.
Sure, it’s great that you’re averaging a metric bucketload of points every week, but when you don’t hit that target what will you do? Case in point: Texas A&M, Oregon, and Baylor combined for 41 points in their three losses. yesterday. That’s less than Oregon and Baylor were each averaging per game.
As the prophet said, “Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit in the mouth”.
The Ducks went down in spectacular fashion, giving Rich Rodriguez a home upset of a nationally ranked team that will surely a) earn him an extension and b) give Michi1gAAn fans eternal heartburn. Not only did Mariotti throw his first interception of the year in the game as a result of that great play you see above, but he then tossed his second on the way to a 42-16 loss in Tuscon. It’s not that the Ducks were without flash and sizzle… it’s just that they never found a rhythm and were unable to play Stanford football.
Baylor came into Stillwater not having won there in forever… and left the same way. The nation’s top offensive team was unable to deal with the different looks that TBPU gave them, and struggled to get their high octane offense going.
In addition, their vaunted defensive front didn’t create any consistent pressure or stop Oklahoma State’s bigger specialists from making play after play. I guess the Lord helps those who help their Chelf.
Helmet sticker goes to the “turf monster”, though, who seemed to be the leading tackler for both teams. He also made a big play by interfering with a Baylor snap late in the game to solidify the win for the up and coming Cowboy team.
As for Johnny Freaking Football, he and the Aggies continued their trend of underperforming against top competition. As our friend @FightOnTwist pointed out earlier in November, Manziel is an amazing quarterback, but his interceptions often lead to opposing teams’ scores; and other than the win in Tuscaloosa, he’s been pretty pedestrian versus teams that are nationally ranked.
Against LSU on Saturday, his one TD pass was coupled with only 1g completions and two interceptions as the Aggies fell again to LSU by a 34-10 score. I guess you could say he got beaten like a… well… yeah. Read More
And so, we draw closer to another season in Ohio Stadium. Senior Day is always special, but this one even more so… and there’s more work yet to be done. Aw, heck… I’m getting all choked up just thinking about it. Here, listen to the soundtrack and enjoy your Thursday.
The polls are changing. A win at Illinois that left Buckeye Nation questioning everything. Saturday night brought us the end of the Stanford story. We’ll round up all the mass hysteria and make sense of it. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
Bye week hangover
Despite racking up 60 points and Carlos Hyde having a career day on the ground, the general consensus nationally was that the Buckeyes somehow “escaped” in their battle with the Illini. I’ll be the first to admit that this was clearly not the best performance we have seen from the Buckeyes in 2013, but it was hardly if ever in doubt. Oh, and they put up 60 points.
There were a lot of factors in play working against the good guys on Saturday.
Out due to injury, Joshua Perry and Curtis Grant left a gaping hole in the linebacker group. Joey Bosa’s injury took another starter off the field for the Silver Bullets.
Offensively things never seemed to click as timing was off and Braxton Miller seemed to get out of sorts in the middle stages of the game. He was also getting hit hard by the Illini defense, once illegally. Jack Mewhort missed some time during those same middle portions of the game while they looked at a tweak in his knee.
You can’t discount the mood in general, either. The stadium was half full, giving it an almost sleepy feel from the start. I hear you, that shouldn’t matter. But add in that they were near 30 point favorites who are still kids that read their own hype, mix in a week layoff and it is a ripe situation for a letdown. I think it became obvious when they went up 28-0 early that the foot came directly off the gas pedal and the machine was switched into cruise control. Read More