Until a couple of weeks ago, even hardcore Illinois fans probably thought Reilly O'Toole was the proprietor of a new Irish pub near campus.

O'Toole was a cypher on the Illini roster for 3½ years, coming in late in the occasional game. But then starting quarterback Wes Lunt was lost for six weeks with a broken leg and O'Toole was thrust into action.

Not a thrower like Lunt and not all that fast, he nonetheless is smart and doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He led the downtrodden Illini (4-4, 1-3 Big Ten) to a huge upset of Minnesota a week ago.

Now he'll really dip his toes into the fire when the Illini play at No. 13 Ohio State (6-1, 3-0) on Saturday night.