Illini Suffer First Loss of 2011 to Ohio St; in Very Boring, Ugly Fashion

Illini Suffer First Loss of 2011 to Ohio St; in Very Boring, Ugly Fashion

Ohio State coach Luke Fickell summed it up best:

"It didn't really matter to me. The game plan was the win. And however we had to do it, we were ready to do it."

As ugly a win as ugly can be, still, Ohio State gave the Illini their first L in 2011 season. Ohio St. QB Braxton Miller didn't even complete a pass until 13 left in the final quarter, when he found TE Jake Stoneburner in the end zone. Prior to that play, Miller was just 0-3 passing on the day. The Buckeyes were BORING and one-dimensional, but it was better than #15 Illinois, with and offense that failed to even show.

It was Fickell's first win over a ranked team, and it avoids the program's first 0-3 start to the Big Ten since 2004. Ohio State leads the all-time series with Illinois, 63-30-4, and 34-12-0 in Champaign. They retain the coveted Illibuck Trophy for the fourth consecutive year. OSU has not lost in Champaign since 1991, and taken 6 of the last 7 meetings.

The Illini offensive line failed to protect that well and never opened up any run lanes. QB Nathan Scheelhaase and Center Graham Pocic couldn't even get the snap right out on numerous occasions.

Despite being undefeated, ranked in the top 15 and the special "stripe the stadium" promotion, Illinois could not sell out a home game versus one of the Big Ten's traditional powers. Their performance today did nothing to help future ticket sales.

Illinois lost, but also lost in a very boring manner. Ohio State was buoyed by the return of Daniel "Boom" Herron in his first game back from suspension. His first carry on the second play from scrimmage went for a first down. He finished the game with 114 yards on 23 carries
and one TD. It marked the fourth 100-yard rushing game of his career.

Braxton Miller put up an ugly 1-4 for 17 yards, 1 TD, but he also carried 8 times for 60 yards.

Nathan Scheelhaase looked uncharacteristically off today. He was slow and tentative in going through his read progressions. He was much less accurate than usual, and his second interception was one of the most underthrown balls of his two year career. A bulk of his (this goes for the receivers too) yards came in garbage time.

"We got a chance to hit him a few times. I think that was a part of it, and the weather can limit you from ding some things, and a team is much better when they run the football, and they can take their time in throwing the ball. But we did a good job in stopping the run, and that makes

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

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