Wind and Weather Make Champaign a Tough Place to Win
By Patrick Murphy
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Champaign, Illinois is a difficult place to go to and get a win, and not necessarily because of the Memorial Stadium fans.
Memorial Stadium in Champaign is one of the most intimidating stadiums in the country because of the weather.
“I think many times you play in this part of the country that you have to be prepared for that,” Urban Meyer said.
November in the Big Ten brings inclement weather, but Illinois is a wind tunnel, something a visiting team like Ohio State must prepare for.
“Oh yeah, it’s always windy,” senior safety Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown said.
The last time the Buckeyes travelled to Champaign, in 2011, it was windy, really windy, making the passing game iffy at best, especially with a true freshman quarterback running the offense. The solution was to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible.
On that day, freshman Braxton Miller threw the ball four times and completed one pass of 17 yards to Jake Stoneburner for a touchdown. Daniel “Boom” Herron carried the ball 23 times for 122 yards and Jordan Hall and Miller each carried 12 more times. By the end of the game, Ohio State had run the ball 51 times for 253 yards in a 17-7 Buckeye win.
OSU was playing an inexperienced quarterback, but four pass attempts for a game means the plan was to just get out of there alive.
“I heard that, win the game however you can,” was Urban Meyer’s response when asked about Miller’s four-pass day.
Meyer is tuned in to the weather conditions at Illinois even with a more experienced Miller this time around. For that matter, he's tuned in to the weather at every stadium in which the Buckeyes play. He gets weather reports all week every week so the Buckeyes know what to expect. This week will be no exception.
“Absolutely,” Meyer said. “It's going to be 50 degrees. We already know the forecast, I get it every day, exactly what we're expecting weather wise for that game.”
That's what they're expecting, and that could mean the ball will be in the air, but on the off-chance the weather doesn't cooperate, you can be sure Meyer will have a plan B, or maybe even a plan C, and is Carlos. With Carlos Hyde producing the way he has – and the Illinois rush defense giving up almost 240 yards per game – the Buckeyes would be smart to continue to hand the ball off no matter what the weather. Just because OSU is confident they can throw this time against the Illini doesn’t mean they won’t feed them a steady dose of the run again.
“We still pride ourselves on having a great powerful running game and I think that’s something we need to continue doing,” offensive lineman Jack Mewhort said.
“It’s just nice knowing there are different ways to score touchdowns other than running inside the tackles.”
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