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November 15, 2013

Staff Predictions: Illinois

Follow Noon | Givler | Maks | Holleran | AndyMac

The Bucks are off of their final bye week of the regular season and if all goes according to plan will play four games before the bowl break. Up next is Illinois, a team that hasn't had much success in conference play in some time. Will the Buckeyes blow out the Illini or could the talk of the BCS and "style points" be enough of a distraction to take the Bucks off of their game? We make our picks.


Kevin Noon - Publisher
We have come a long way since the last time the Buckeyes went to Champaign (Ill.) to take on the Illini. In that game the Bucks ran 51 times and threw four passes (completing only one) with a young Braxton Miller. Since that game the Illini have not won a league game and after Ohio State put 2011 to bed the team has not lost a game since, league or non-league. The Buckeyes are not going to go into this game feeling that they need to score 80 points but they could against a defense that has not been able to stop anyone really. The Illini offense is not as bad as you would expect for a team that can't seem to get out of its own way. Miller will continue to throw the ball with confidence but expect to see a good amount of running by the Buckeyes as they look to stay within their own game plan and roll over the Illini and onto 10-0 on the year. Ohio State 63 Illinois 13

Patrick Maks - Staff Writer
For an Ohio State team that's won 21-straight games, its contest against Illinois should add up to little more than a smooth, gentle speed bump. While the Buckeyes haven't played a ranked team since a 40-30 win against then-No. 16 Northwestern on Oct. 5, Urban Meyer's squad is starting to pummel the teams it should be pummeling. After a 63-14 win against average Penn State and a 56-0 thrashing of very bad Purdue, Ohio State is rolling down the stretch and keeping its head afloat near the top of the BCS standings. If the Buckeyes won't to keep up in the rat race for a spot in the national championship, it'll need to keep winning big. That shouldn't be a problem against the Fighting Illini Saturday. Ohio State 56 Illinois 21

Andrew Holleran - Staff Writer
Urban Meyer could write a score on the whiteboard inside the visitor's locker room at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, tell his team that's what the scoreboard should read at the end of the game, and the Buckeyes would have no problem giving their coach what he wants. 42-0. 49-0. 56-0. Whatever. Ohio State will score as many points as it wants and give up a score or two to the Illini because a defensive lapse here and there is inevitable. Braxton Milller will be on the bench by the fourth quarter, if not sooner; Carlos Hyde will rush for 100-plus yards in the first half; someone on the defense will score a touchdown. Maybe, just maybe, Cameron Johnston will punt the ball. Ohio State 59 Illinois 10

Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst
The Buckeyes are coming into this game firing on all cylinders both offensively and defensively and the bye week should have only helped matters. Illinois, on the other hand, comes in trying to regroup from back-to-back tough losses in games they were competitive in but fell short late. The Illini are a young group and have resorted to playing a lot freshmen and sophomores as the season has progressed. While they will certainly be a desperate bunch on Saturday, Ohio State simply has too much fire power. Ohio State 52 Illinois 14

Andy McLachlan - Team Writer
Let's just hold off on all BCS title talks for now. Because something much more important is one the line this weekend...the Illibuck. Easily the most prestigious turtle trophy going, winners of this wooden statue have bragging rights for the entire year. The Illini haven't seen their reptilian friend since 2007 and would love to welcome him back to Champaign. The problem with that idea is Ohio State has won 21 straight games while their opponent this weekend has lost 19 straight in Big Ten play. I think the Washington Generals have a better chance at beating the Globetrotters. Ohio State 51 Illinois 16

Tom Levenick - Time and Change Contributor/Former Player
Our Buckeyes travel to Champaign Illinois this weekend for a clash with the Fighting Illini in what is the second oldest "Trophy" rivalry game (Illibuck) in Big Ten History. Prepare to see the Illini pass the ball 50-plus times in this game, while the Buckeyes pound the running game versus the Illini. Illinois is second in the Big Ten in passing offense behind Indiana, but they are 10th in rushing offense and 12th in rushing defense. Memorial stadium in Champaign is often quite "blustery", effecting many passing offenses and if that is the case Saturday the 16th, the Illini will be trounced by the Buckeye running game. QB Nathan Scheelhaase, WR Rob Hull and RB Josh Ferguson will try to make things exciting for the Illini, but the Buckeyes, let by Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, Noah Spence and Ryan Shazier will be way too much for Illinois. Ohio State 62 Illinois 17

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