Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week Four Preview: Ohio State—Illinois to Face Off in Big Ten Opener

By HD Handshoe

Last week, Ohio State traveled to Cleveland to take on the Toledo Rockets and there were concerns the Buckeyes may suffer from a hangover, due to their close heartbreaking loss in week two vs. USC.

No such luck for Toledo, as the Buckeyes came out firing en route to a 38-0 thrashing.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor had a career day, passing for 262 yards and three touchdowns, as well as rushing for 110 yards and a score.

Wideout Dane Sanzenbacher also had a career day, catching five balls for 125 yards and two scores.

Toledo, and QB Aaron Opelt, who had individually led the nation in total yardage, could never get in rhythm against an overbearing Buckeye defense that continues to gel and improve week to week.

That was then—This is now.


The Buckeyes (2-1) are set to open Big Ten Conference play this week as they play host to the Fighting Illini (1-1) from Illinois. The game is on ABC at 3:30 EST.

Starting at 3:00PM, there will be a LIVE, in-game chat right here on BlockONation, so come join us, just before and during the game!

Illinois began the season losing in an unexpected blowout to rebuilding Missouri, before bouncing back vs. FCS foe Illinois State.

Star QB Juice Williams has zero touchdown passes, an interception, and only 179 yards thus far and star receiver Arrelious Benn has been injured and only has one catch for nine yards. To say the least, Illinois has been a major dissapointment so far.

That being said, the Buckeye know they cannot take any conference opponent for granted (see USC vs. Washington last week), especially Illinois in Columbus. Under Tressel, the Buckeyes have averaged 25.5 points per game and given up 18.3 points per game in the series.

Since Tressel took over in 2001, Ohio State is 4-2 vs. the Illini, but only 1-2 in games played in Ohio Stadium. In 2007, Illinois defeated the Buckeyes 28-21 in Columbus, nearly derailing then No. 1 Ohio State's BCS title game hopes.

Ultimately, a series of late-season upsets allowed the Buckeyes to move back up to No. 1 in the final BCS standings, only to lose in New Orleans (a "neutral" site) to LSU anyway.

Overall, Ohio State leads the all-time head-to-head series 61-30-4, and since 1967, OSU is 13-7 vs. Illinois at home.

I expect the Buckeyes to play much like they did last week against Toledo on both sides of the ball vs. Ron Zook and his Illini team. I am not expecting a shutout, but I am going to call for a Buckeye victory.

My final score prediction:

Ohio State 38
Illinois 13

On a side note, I just have to ask—Is it just me or does anyone else think Ron Zook is really Ricky Bobby's Dad, Reece, from Talladega Nights?

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Terrelle Pryor / Illinois photo Copyright Dan Harker - www.TheOzone.net

1 comment:

  1. Haaa haaa, Reece Bobby, that's great!


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