Hyde, Miller Rush Buckeyes Past Illini in Windy Champaign
By Rob Ogden
CHAMPAIGN, Ill - Urban Meyer wasn't there the last time Ohio State traveled to Illinois. In some ways, he now knows what it felt like.
Photo by Dan Harker
Running back Carlos Hyde rushed 24 times for 248 yards and four touchdowns as Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) defeated Illinois (3-7. 0-6 Big Ten) 60-35 in a sloppy game in Champaign.
The Buckeyes continually went to Hyde and quarterback Braxton Miller on the ground as they struggled to get anything going through the air.
The last trip Ohio State made to Illinois ended with a 17-7 Buckeyes win in which Miller completed only one pass on four attempts.
"I would imagine you'd do what we did: Run the quarterback a lot," Meyer said earlier this week when asked how he would have handled that Oct., 2011 game. "Do what you gotta do to walk out of there with a win."
That's exactly what the Buckeyes did Saturday as Miller rushed 16 times for 211 yards and a score.
He added 13 completions for 150 yards and two scores through the air while battling high winds all day at Illinois' Memorial Stadium.
"It created a pretty big effect on the passing game," Miller said about the weather. "The wind is so tricky at times, so we tried to focus on short passes."
The Buckeyes were fine with running the ball.
Photo by Jim Davidson
On the third play from scrimmage, Miller faked a handoff to Hyde and ran untouched for a 70-yard score.
"The passing game wasn't working," Miller said, "so when you've got the best line in the Big Ten, why not run it?"
Meyer said the Buckeyes didn't have a choice.
"It was not a conducive environment to throw the ball around very well and we struggled more than they did," he said. At some point, you've got find ways to make plays."
Miller finished two yards shy of the the school record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback, which he set last season with 186 yards against Nebraska.
Ohio State was forced to play much of the game without senior left tackle Jack Mewhort, who suffered a hyper-extended knee during practice on Wednesday.
Mewhort sat out of practice Thursday and was limited on Friday. He left the game during the first half but returned in the third quarter.
Meyer said playing without Mewhort was "devastating."
The Buckeyes were also without starting linebackers Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry.
Grant traveled with the team but did not dress because of a sprained ankle.
Perry did not travel with the team after hitting his head when he slipped on ice during the week.
"You're playing with your third-string middle linebacker, our best offensive player, Jack Mewhort tweaked his knee, we're down 11 players for the year," Meyer said. "Some guys are playing, that really, quite frankly, haven't played at all. As a result we just have to coach better."
On top of those who came into the game with injuries, freshman defensive end Joey Bosa left the game in the third quarter with a sprained neck. He did not return.
In 2011, the Buckeyes counted on running back Dan Herron, who carried the ball 23 times in the Buckeyes' win.
With five opening-game starters missing Saturday, the Buckeyes relied on Hyde, who torched the Illini on the ground similar to the way Eddie George and Keith Byers did decades ago.
But even those two Buckeye legends couldn't amount to Hyde's 10.5-yards-per-carry average, a new school single-game record.
After the game, Hyde only wanted to talk about the team's performance. He wasn't satisfied.
"A win is a win, but I'm not pleased with the way we preformed today," he said. "We came out scoring but we hit a wall later with a few three-and-outs. If we're gonna get where we wanna get this year, we have to be better."
On a day when the offense left the field with something left to be desired, the Buckeyes set a school record for touchdowns in a season with 67.
The team also tied the school's all-time win streak with its 22nd-consecutive win.
Donate by Check :
1380 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212
Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Donate to the-Ozone.
Click here to email this the-Ozone feature to a friend...or even a foe.
(c) 2010 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, rebroadcast,rewritten, or redistributed.