Sports

Illinois puts its trust in Reilly O'Toole in big game under the lights at No. 13 Ohio State

  • Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) throws a pass during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Penn State in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014. Ohio State won 31-24. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) throws a pass during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Penn State in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014. Ohio State won 31-24. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Illinois head coach Tim Beckman shouts at the referees during the third quarter of an NCAA football game against Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

    Illinois head coach Tim Beckman shouts at the referees during the third quarter of an NCAA football game against Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)  (The Associated Press)

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.