Buckeyes’ ground game dominant over Illinois

The passing game just wasn’t working for Ohio State on Saturday

at Illinois.

Thirty attempts, 13 completions and a modest 150 yards.

Maybe it was the wind, as quarterback Braxton Miller said. Maybe

something else, because Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase

completed 33 passes for 288 yards.

Whatever the case, it gave the Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) a

chance to put the ball on the ground Big Ten style. And, in a bad

sign for Indiana, Michigan and any other teams left in the

Buckeyes’ path, it worked all too well.

Ohio State pounded the Illini for 441 yards on 42 carries in a

60-35 win.

”Yeah, we went back to basics,” Miller said. ”We just handed

the ball to Carlos (Hyde) or me and we’ve got the best offensive

line in the Big Ten or the country.”

On Sunday, the Buckeyes dropped from third to fourth in the AP

poll.

Hyde piled up 246 yards on 24 carries m along with four rushing

touchdowns. Miller had 184 yards on the ground and a score.

The wind blew at a steady 18 to 20 mph for much of the game.

Miller, who two years ago threw just four times in a windy 17-7

win in Champaign, said he struggled with the weather.

”The wind was so tricky at times,” he said.

But when Illinois (3-7, 0-6) started coming back from a 28-0

deficit, the turn to the run game let Ohio State grind the Illini

down.

Hyde blew through the tired Illinois defense for a 55-yard

touchdown and another from 51 yards less than two minutes apart

late in the fourth quarter.

”No question we wore down,” Illinois coach Tim Beckman

said.

While the Buckeyes found out just how much they can rely on

their running game, Hyde said the Buckeyes’ failure to put away a

team they led by four touchdowns early shows they have work to do

if they want to keep winning and stay in the hunt for Big Ten and

national titles.

”A win is a win, but I’m not pleased with the way we performed

today,” he said. ”If we (want to) get to where we want to go this

year, we have to get better.”

For his part, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he’s finished

talking about the big picture and those goals.

”We have to make sure that our focus is getting better each

week instead of the national stuff,” he said. ”I think I’m

learning a lesson to shut my mouth and quit worrying about this and

that.”

Beckman’s Illini, meanwhile, are left an end to their talk of

bowl eligibility, a 20-game Big Ten losing streak and just two

games left – at Purdue and against Northwestern – to end it.

”I want to win these last two games, snap the streak and leave

something behind to build on for next season,” senior linebacker

Jonathan Brown said.

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