The Ohio State Buckeyes extended their winning streak to 22 games today thanks in large part to an outstanding offensive output. The Buckeyes failed to take advantage of opportunities they had on defense today, however.
The Illinois Fighting Illini racked up 420 yards of total offense and scored 35 points on Ohio State’s defense today. While the Buckeyes made those points a mere stat line as far as the winner of the game went, it can’t be ignored that Ohio State’s defense left a lot to be desired to voters considering the Buckeyes are one of the top teams in the country today.
Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase showed the vulnerability of the Buckeyes’ zone defenses today with both his arm and feet. Scheelhaase went 33-of-50 for 288 yards with two touchdowns through the air and added 46 yards and a touchdown on the ground. If not for the two interceptions that Scheelhaase threw, today’s game could have better than any he played against previous Big Ten opponents this season.
The most telling stat for Ohio State should be that despite dropping back to pass 50 times in this game, Scheelhaase was sacked only once. If not for a momentous effort by the Buckeyes’ offense and seven Illini penalties, this game could have been close. Thanks to Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde, it wasn’t.
Hyde amassed 272 yards from scrimmage and scored five touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes to 60 points scored. Miller also did his part by throwing for 150 yards and two touchdowns on top of rushing for 184 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately for Ohio State, it took that kind of a game from the combination of Miller and Hyde to get a convincing win over Illinois.
The most important part of the Buckeyes is extending the win streak and taking a huge step towards a Leaders division title. However, if Ohio State wants to be considered one of the top two teams in the country, they will have to shore up their defense.