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Game Data: Illinois at Ohio State

Illinois at Ohio State

* Date, Time: Sat., Nov. 3, 3:30 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Ohio Stadium

* TV: ESPN (national telecast; announcers, Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway and Lewis Johnson)

* 2012 Records: Ohio State, 9-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten; Illinois, 2-6 overall, 0-4 Big Ten.

* 2012 Rankings: Ohio State, sixth in Associated Press poll; Illinois, unranked.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Urban Meyer (first year at OSU, 9-0; 11th year overall, 113-23; vs. Illinois, first meeting); Illinois, Tim Beckman (first year at Illinois, 2-6; fourth year overall, 23-22; vs. OSU, 0-2).

* Series History: Ohio State leads the all-time series 64-30-4, including 27-18-4 in Columbus. OSU has won seven of the last eight in the series, including the last four (30-20 at Champaign in 2008, 30-0 at Columbus in 2009, 24-13 at Champaign in 2010 and 17-7 at Champaign last year). But the Illini have won seven of their last 11 visits to Ohio Stadium, dating to 1988. That includes Illinois’ 28-21 upset of then-No. 1 and unbeaten Ohio State in 2007.

The schools play for the Illibuck trophy, a wooden replica of a turtle. Ohio State leads the Illibuck series with a 60-23-2 mark. Until the series was interrupted in 2003, the schools had played every year from 1914 to 2002.

Last year, OSU QB Braxton Miller completed just 1 of 4 pass attempts in the win at Illinois. RB Boom Herron led the way with 114 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, while TE Jake Stoneburner caught a 17-yard touchdown pass. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was 20 of 34 for 169 yards, with two interceptions and a late 3-yard touchdown pass to Evan Wilson.

* Illinois Schedule: Sept. 1, Western Michigan, W 24-7; Sept. 8, at Arizona State, L 45-14; Sept. 15, Charleston Southern, W 44-0; Sept. 22, Louisiana Tech, L 52-24; Sept. 29, Penn State, L 35-7; Oct. 6, at Wisconsin, L 31-14; Oct. 13, at Michigan, L 45-0; Oct. 27, Indiana, L 31-17; Nov. 3, at Ohio State, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN); Nov. 10, Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network); Nov. 17, Purdue; Nov. 24, at Northwestern.

* Illinois Key Players (2012 Stats): QB Nathan Scheelhaase (84 of 137 passing, 839 yards, 4 TDs, 5 INTs), RB Donovonn Young (96 carries, 400 yards, 2 TDs; 27 catches, 131 yards, 1 TD), RB Josh Ferguson (55 carries, 226 yards; 23 catches, 199 yards), WR Ryan Lankford (29 catches, 413 yards, 5 TDs), WR Spencer Harris (17 catches, 187 yards, 2 TDs), WR Darius Millines (14 catches, 143 yards), WLB Jonathan Brown (55 tackles, 8-1/2 TFLs, 2-1/2 sacks), MLB Mason Monheim (52 tackles, 2-1/2 TFLs, 1 INT), STAR Ashante Williams (52 tackles, 2-1/2 TFLs, 1 INT), DE Michael Buchanan (32 tackles, 5 TFLs, 2-1/2 sacks, 1 INT), SS Steve Hull (17 tackles, 2 INTs).

* Illinois Fast Facts: Location: Champaign, Ill.; Enrollment, 36,738; Conference: Big Ten; Nickname, Fighting Illini; Colors, Orange and Blue; Stadium, Memorial Stadium (capacity, 62,872; surface, FieldTurf).

* Ohio State Schedule: Sept. 1, Miami (Ohio), W 56-10; Sept. 8, Central Florida, W 31-16; Sept. 15, California, W 35-28; Sept. 22, UAB, W 29-15; Sept. 29, at Michigan State, W 17-16; Oct. 6, Nebraska, W 63-38; Oct. 13, at Indiana, W 52-49; Oct. 20, Purdue, W 29-22 (OT); Oct. 27, at Penn State, W 35-23; Nov. 3, Illinois, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN); Nov. 17, at Wisconsin; Nov. 24, Michigan, noon (ABC).

* Ohio State Key Players (2012 Stats): QB Braxton Miller (112 of 198 passing, 1,527 yards, 12 TDs, 6 INTs; 166 carries, 1,093 yards, 12 TDs), RB Carlos Hyde (126 carries, 600 yards, 10 TDs), RB Rod Smith (26 carries, 179 yards, 2 TDs), WR Jake Stoneburner (14 catches, 236 yards, 4 TDs), WR Philly Brown (44 catches, 447 yards, 1 TD), WR Devin Smith (23 catches, 505 yards, 6 TDs), DB Christian Bryant (57 tackles, 1 INT), LB Etienne Sabino (37 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT), LB Ryan Shazier (84 tackles, 9-1/2 TFLs, 4 sacks, 1 INT), DE John Simon (37 tackles, 9-1/2 TFLs, 4 sacks), CB Bradley Roby (43 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INTs), CB Travis Howard (32 tackles, 3 INTs), DT Johnathan Hankins (46 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 sack).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

LT 74 Jack Mewhort 6-6, 312, Jr.
76 Darryl Baldwin 6-5, 300, So.
LG 78 Andrew Norwell 6-6, 310, Jr.
73 Antonio Underwood 6-2, 306, So.
C 71 Corey Linsley 6-3, 295, Jr.
50 Jacoby Boren 6-2, 287, Fr.
RG 79 Marcus Hall 6-5, 315, Jr.
57 Chase Farris 6-4, 290, R-Fr.
RT 77 Reid Fragel 6-8, 310, Sr.
68 Taylor Decker 6-7, 313, Fr.
TE 86 Jeff Heuerman, 6-5, 250, So.
Or 81 Nick Vannett 6-6, 255, R-Fr.
WR (H) 11 Jake Stoneburner 6-5, 245, Sr.
80 Chris Fields 6-0, 197, Jr.
QB 5 Braxton Miller 6-2, 220, So.
13 Kenny Guiton 6-3, 210, Jr.
RB 34 Carlos Hyde, 6-0, 232, Jr.
2 Rod Smith, 6-3, 228, So.
WR (X) 15 Devin Smith 6-1, 200, So.
83 Michael Thomas 6-2, 198, Fr.
WR (Z) 10 Corey Brown 6-0, 187, Jr.
16 Evan Spencer 6-2, 205, So.
K 24 Drew Basil 6-1, 210, Jr.
39 Kyle Clinton 6-1, 215 So.

Ohio State Defense

LEO 54 John Simon 6-2, 263, Sr.
88 Steve Miller 6-3, 255, So.
Or 8 Noah Spence 6-3, 240, Fr.
DT 52 Johnathan Hankins 6-3, 322, Jr.
92 Adolphus Washington 6-3, 289, Fr.
Or 90 Tommy Schutt 6-2, 295, Fr.
NT 53 Garrett Goebel 6-4, 290, Sr.
51 Joel Hale 6-4, 295, So.
DE 43 Nathan Williams, 6-3, 249, Sr.
63 Michael Bennett 6-3, 285, So.
50 J.T. Moore 6-3, 260, So.
OLB 10 Ryan Shazier 6-2, 230, So.
36 Conner Crowell 6-1, 235, R-Fr.
5 Camren Williams, 6-2, 225, Fr.
MLB 32 Storm Klein, 6-2, 242, Sr.
Or 44 Zach Boren, 6-1, 245, Sr.
14 Curtis Grant 6-3, 235, So.
OLB 37 Joshua Perry 6-4, 238, Fr.
25 David Perkins 6-2, 220, Fr.
CB 1 Bradley Roby 5-11, 190, So.
12 Doran Grant 5-11, 188, So.
SAF 2 Christian Bryant 5-10, 192, Jr.
19 Orhian Johnson 6-3, 210, Sr.
SAF 4 C.J. Barnett 6-1, 202, Jr.
3 Corey Brown 6-1, 198, Jr.
CB 7 Travis Howard 6-1, 200, Sr.
9 Adam Griffi n 5-8, 180, So.
P 17 Ben Buchanan 5-11, 192, Sr.
24 Drew Basil 6-1, 210, Jr.
LS 41 Bryce Haynes 6-4, 220, R-Fr.
or 56 George Makridis 6-2, 230, Jr.

Illinois Offense

LT 72 Hugh Thornton (6-5, 310, Sr.)
68 Simon Cvijanovic (6-5, 295, So.)
66 Scott McDowell (6-5, 290, r-Fr.)
LG 74 Michael Heitz (6-5, 305, So.)
52 Alex Hill (6-3, 325, So.)
C 76 G raham Pocic (6-7, 310, Sr.)
67 Jake Feldmeyer (6-4, 295, Jr.)
RG 69 Ted Karras (6-4, 300, r-Fr.)
61 Tyler Sands (6-5, 300, Sr.)
RT 68 Simon Cvijanovic (6-5, 295, So.)
70 Corey Lewis (6-6, 310, Sr.)
QB 2 Nathan Scheelhaase (6-3, 200, Jr.)
4 Reilly O’Toole (6-4, 220, So.)
8 Miles Osei (6-0, 200, Jr.)
RB 6 Josh Ferguson (5-10, 185, r-Fr.)
-AND- 5 Donovonn Young (6-0, 220, So.)
22 Dami Ayoola (5-10, 205, Fr.)
41 Zach Becker (6-3, 250, Sr.)
WR-X 12 Ryan Lankford (6-0, 175, Jr.)
84 Justin Hardee (6-1, 190, Fr.)
19 Kenny Knight (6-4, 210, r-Fr.)
WR-H 15 Darius Millines (5-11, 185, Jr.)
8 Miles Osei (6-0, 200, Jr.)
WR-Z 80 Spencer Harris (6-3, 195, Jr.)
20 Fritz Rock (6-1, 200, So.)
TE 3 Jon Davis (6-3, 240, So.)
-OR- 89 Evan Wilson (6-6, 250, Jr.)
83 Eddie Viliunas (6-4, 255, Sr.)
11 Matt LaCosse (6-6, 240, So.)
PK 14 Taylor Zalewski (6-3, 200, r-Fr.)
-OR- 37 Nick Immekus (6-0, 220, So.)

Illinois Defense

DE 54 Justin Staples (6-4, 240, Sr.)
59 Tim Kynard (6-3, 260, Jr.)
58 Kenny Nelson (6-6, 245, r-Fr.)
NT 94 Akeem Spence (6-1, 305, Jr.)
93 Teko Powell (6-3, 295, Fr.)
DT 91 G lenn Foster (6-4, 280, Sr.)
44 Austin Teitsma (6-2, 280, So.)
DE 99 Michael Buchanan (6-6, 250, Sr.)
6 Darrius Caldwell (6-5, 230, r-Fr.)
WLB 45 Jonathan Brown (6-1, 235, Jr.)
34 Mike Svetina (6-2, 230, Fr.)
42 Ralph Cooper (6-1, 230, So.)
MLB 43 Mason Monheim (6-1, 230, Fr.)
30 Houston Bates (6-3, 240, So.)
STAR 25 Ashante Williams (5-11, 205, Sr.)
17 Tommy Davis (5-11, 205, Sr.)
CB 1 Terry Hawthorne (6-0, 190, Sr.)
27 Eaton Spence (6-0, 180, r-Fr.)
SS 5 Steve Hull (6-2, 200, Jr.)
9 Earnest Thomas (6-2, 210, So.)
17 Tommy Davis (5-11, 205, Sr.)
FS 7 Supo Sanni (6-2, 220, Sr.)
4 Pat Nixon-Youman (5-10, 180, Sr.)
CB 26 Justin Green (5-11, 195, Sr.)
2 V’Angelo Bentley (5-10, 180, Fr.)
21 Jack Ramsey (5-11, 200, Sr.)
P 18 Justin DuVernois (6-1, 190, So.)
12 Ryan Lankford (6-0, 175, Jr.)

Also Notable

* The Buckeyes are one of six unbeaten teams nationally. Ohio State is the nation’s only 9-0 team, however. Also unbeaten are Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Louisville (all 8-0).

* The Buckeyes will be shooting to reach 10-0 to start a season for the 10th time in school history and third time in seven years, dating to 2006. OSU has reached at least 10-0 on nine occasions: 1954 (started 10-0), 1968 (started 10-0), 1975 (started 11-0), 1979 (started 11-0), 1995 (started 11-0), 1996 (started 10-0), 2002 (finished 14-0), 2006 (started 12-0) and 2007 (started 10-0).

This is the third team Meyer has led to a 9-0 start in his 11th year as a head coach. His 2004 Utah team finished 12-0, while his 2009 Florida team started 12-0.

Only two first-year OSU coaches have started 9-0. Carroll Widdoes was 9-0 in 1944 and eventually won his first 12 games before a loss. Earle Bruce posted an 11-0 record to open the 1979 before a Rose Bowl loss to USC.

* Meyer’s teams are 70-14 when ranked.

* Illinois coach Tim Beckman, a native of Berea, Ohio, and a University of Findlay grad, served as an assistant under Meyer at Bowling Green and also worked at OSU for Jim Tressel in 2005-06. Beckman is one of 10 former Meyer assistants who have become a head coach.

As the head coach at Toledo, Beckman led the Rockets against OSU twice. In 2009, OSU defeated Toledo 38-0 in Cleveland. Last year, OSU held off Toledo 27-22 at Ohio Stadium.

* OSU is 33 of 37 this season on scoring chances in the red zone. That includes 30 touchdowns and three field goals.

* Braxton Miller became the first OSU quarterback to ever rush for 1,000 yards in a single-season in the win over Penn State. He joins Michigan’s Denard Robinson and Indiana’s Antwann Randle-El is the only ones to ever do it in the Big Ten.

This is the 27th time in school history an OSU player has rushed for 1,000 yards in a single season. He is the 20th different Buckeye to do it and the first since Beanie Wells in 2008. With 1,093 yards, Miller stands 24th on OSU’s single-season rushing list.

Miller has nine career 100-yard rushing games, including eight this year.

* The Buckeyes have had 27 70-yard drives this season – 18 more than the nine they had all last season. In this game, the Buckeyes had touchdown drives of 75, 85 and 92 yards.

* Illinois has 16 players on its roster from the state of Ohio, including the following 11 players who have
seen regular time on the field in 2012: freshman DB V’Angelo Bentley (Cleveland/Glenville), sophomore OL Simon Cvijanovic (Cleveland/Benedictine), junior OL Jake Feldmeyer (Centerville/Centerville), freshman WR Justin Hardee (Cleveland/Glenville), junior DB Steve Hull (Cincinnati/Sycamore), junior DL Tim Kynard (Toledo/St. John’s), freshman LB Mason Monheim (Orrville/Orrville), senior DE Justin Staples (Lakewood/St. Edward), freshman LB Mike Svetina (Brunswick/St. Ignatius), senior OL Hugh Thornton (Oberlin) and senior LB Ashante Williams (Mayfield).

* Ohio State three players from Illinois: senior DT Garrett Goebel (Villa Park/Montini), freshman DT Tommy Schutt (Glen Ellyn/Glenbard) and sophomore WR Evan Spencer (Vernon Hills/Vernon Hills).

* Ohio State will honor the branches of the military Saturday as part of its Military Appreciation Game.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: The Buckeyes struggled for a half last week at Penn State before the floodgates opened. OSU is among the nation’s best rushing teams at 247.9 yards per game (10th nationally). This may not be the game where OSU wants to put QB Braxton Miller in harm’s way, however. There are two games left against top competition and they may want to save hits on Miller for those two games.

That means you could see a lot of Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith running the ball. Also, Illinois is a dismal 109th nationally in passing efficiency defense. Miller struggled throwing last week (7 of 19 vs. Penn State) and they may view this game as a chance to get that part of the offense going. Neither Philly Brown nor Devin Smith caught a pass last week. Evan Spencer and Jake Stoneburner each stepped up, though. Hopefully, they can get all four of them into the flow at the same time.

Illinois has surrendered 31 or more points in all six of their losses. OSU has had 31 or more points in six of their nine wins. My guess is you see the Buckeyes somewhere in the low 40s when the dust settles.

* When Illinois Has The Ball: The Illinois offense has been, well, abysmal this season. QB Nathan Scheelhaase has been in and out of the lineup due to injuries. On his best day, Scheelhaase has only been an average passer. The Illini are 109th in total offense (317.4 ypg) and 115th in scoring offense (18.0 ppg).

The running back tandem of Josh Ferguson (the 185-pound scatback) and Donovonn Young (the 220-pound bruiser) had been promising at times. They have been effective both running the ball and catching it out of the backfield.

The Ohio State defense played one of its best games at Penn State. The Buckeyes stuffed the run and got after QB Matt McGloin. OSU got All-American efforts from LB Ryan Shazier and CB Bradley Roby in that win over Penn State. If they can get a couple of more guys to play at that level this week, it could be a real whitewash.

* How It Will Go: Well, the cynical among us would simply expect Ohio State to blow out the Illini. After all, Illinois’ six losses this year have come by an average of 27.2 points. Three weeks ago, Illinois was blown out at Michigan 45-0. Last week, Illinois lost to Indiana at home for the second time since 1979 (31-17).

The prevailing thought is it should be a lopsided win for the Buckeyes. These are teams headed in two distinctly different directions.

But Illinois has nothing to lose. The Illini have a pedigree of playing well in Columbus and also for spoiling big seasons for OSU (like 2007). The Illini are trying to get healthy with Scheelhaase and various playmakers on defense all missing time this season.

Ohio State is also playing for the 10th consecutive Saturday without a break. The Buckeyes have had their share of injuries as well. For the seniors, this is their next-to-last time to play at Ohio Stadium. You know they will want to have a memorable experience.

Throw it all in a blender and I think it will be (another) red letter day at the Horseshoe. I’ve got it Ohio State 41-10

* For The Record: I am 9-0 straight-up and 4-5 against-the-spread with Ohio State. (Ohio State is listed as a 27-1/2 point favorite over Illinois.)

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