No. 6 Buckeyes roll past Illini to stay unbeaten
Columbus, OH – Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller each accounted for three touchdowns as No. 6 Ohio State pounded Illinois, 52-22, Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Hyde rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries, while Miller threw for 226 yards and two scores to go with 73 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten), who are 10-0 for the first time since 2007.
"For me, it all has to do with my offensive line," Hyde said. "When those guys go, I go because when they do better, I can do my job better. And they did great today."
Bri'onte Dunn rushed for 73 yards and a score and Corey Brown and Rod Smith each added a receiving touchdown in the victory.
Nathan Scheelhaase struggled to get the Fighting Illini offense going, as he went just 19-of-34 for 96 yards and an interception for Illinois (2-7, 0-5), which has lost 11 straight against conference foes.
"Our offense was too sporadic," Illinois coach Tim Beckman admitted. "We have got to be able to drive the ball down the field and put up seven points when we get in the red zone."
Miller only completed half of his 10 passes in the first half, but each one helped set up an Ohio State score.
After Nick Immekus' 43-yard field goal gave Illinois a 3-0 lead on its second possession of the game, Ohio State countered with a 10-play, 79-yard drive.
Miller's first completion was a 24-yard strike to Jake Stoneburner and after back-to-back Miller runs, Hyde capped the trek with a 3-yard plunge to give the Buckeyes a 7-3 lead with 4:14 left in the first.
Terry Hawthorne returned the ensuing kick 45 yards to set up Immekus' 28-yard field goal, but Miller and the Buckeyes answered with the next 24 points of the half.
Miller's second completion came on the Buckeyes' ensuing possession, as he fired a 31-yard strike to Nick Vannett down to the Illinois 16 to set up Drew Basil's 31-yard field for a 10-6 Ohio State lead.
After a three-and-out from Illinois, Miller's 32-yard toss to Brown moved the Buckeyes to the Illinois five before Hyde finished off the 5-play, 64-yard drive with a 5-yard surge to press Ohio State's lead to 17-6 midway through the second.
Ohio State again forced the Illini to punt and Miller's fourth completion came three plays later, as he found Smith wide open down the left sideline for a 51-yard TD pass to extend the Buckeyes' lead to 24-6 with less than six minutes left until halftime.
Another Illinois three-and-out gave Ohio State possession at midfield and Miller found Vannett for 14 yards to the Illinois 14. Miller then scrambled for 10 yards before Hyde punched it in from three yards out for his third TD of the half and a 31-6 lead heading into the break.
After exchanging three-and-outs to start the second half, Hyde ripped off a 24-yard run and then picked up 20 more to move the Buckeyes into Illinois territory.
Facing a 4th-and-1 later in the drive, Hyde broke through the line for two yards and a fresh set of downs.
Miller then finished off the trek four plays later, as he faked a handoff, scrambled around in the backfield and then beat an Illinois defender off the right edge for a 2-yard TD run and a 38-6 Ohio State lead.
Smith fumbled the ball on Ohio State's next touch, giving possession back to Illinois at the Ohio State 42.
A roughing the passer penalty gave the Illini a fresh set of downs and three plays later, Jon Davis punched it in from a yard out before Matt LaCosse hauled in the two-point conversion to bring the visitors within 38-14 late in the third.
Ohio State answered early in the fourth, as Miller converted a 3rd-and-6 with a 7-yard scamper and then found Brown, who weaved his way through the Illinois defense for a 37-yard TD and a 45-14 lead.
Illinois turned another Ohio State turnover into points late in the fourth, as Kenny Guiton fumbled a pitch and Ashante Williams scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 77 yards for the score.
Illinois' holder fumbled the snap on the ensuing extra point, but he had the awareness to pick it up and cross the goal line to cut the margin to 45-22.
Illinois recovered the onside kick, but the Illini were whistled for illegal touching to give possession to the Buckeyes, who got a 3-yard touchdown run from Dunn with 1:26 left in game to account for the final margin.
Ohio State outgained Illinois, 567-170 ... Ohio State has its off week next week, while Illinois hosts Minnesota ... The Buckeyes rushed for 330 yards compared to just 74 for the Fighting Illini ... Ohio State leads the all-time series 64-30-4 ... With his rushing touchdown in the third quarter, Miller passed former Buckeye Cornelius Greene (12; 1973) for sole possession of second place on the Ohio State single-season rushing touchdown list by a quarterback (13).