Tuesday, November 18

Sweet Revenge

Somewhere, Woody Hayes was smiling while watching Ohio St go on the road and beat Illinois this past Saturday, 30-20. "3 yards and a cloud of dust" was in full effect; err, more like "6 or 7 yards and a cloud of dust." OSU didn't even pretend like they wanted to throw into the gusty winds, as Chris Wells carried the ball 24 times, Terrelle Pryor 13, and Dan Herron 12. The Illini outgained the Bucks by 100 yards, but made costly mistakes in the first half, which OSU was glad to take full advantage of.

The mistakes began early for Illinois, as Juice Williams fumbled deep in his own territory. Giving Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor a short field to work with will not end well for the opposing team. Wells took the ball down to the 1, where TP went in for the score. A couple of 20+ yard runs by Daniel Dufrene set up an Illini TD on the ensuing drive, tying the game at seven.

Late in the first quarter, Malcolm Jenkins had a rare big play (sarcasm) as he blocked an Illinois punt, resulting in a safety. A short kick into the wind led to more great field position for the Bucks, and again they capitalized. Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie each caught a pass, setting up a Beanie short touchdown, putting OSU up 16-7. Juice led a great drive for Illinois, taking them deep into Ohio St territory, until another mistake cost them dearly. Kurt Coleman picked off a Williams pass inside the 10 yard line. Yet again, Ohio St was quick to jump on another opportunity. TP had a big run, and then hooked up with Dane Sanzenbacher for the TD. Illinois stayed in the game by making two late field goals, making it 23-13 at the break.

The second half was about as interesting as How Stella Got Her Groove Back 2. The third quarter saw a lot of Beanie Wells, but his fumble inside the 20 led to a scoreless period. Boom Herron gave Wells a short rest, as he began the 4th quarter scoring from 12 yards out to essentially end the game. The rest of the quarter was pretty much all Herron, as OSU continued to pound away at an exhausted Illini defense. Juice threw a late but meaningless TD pass, making the final 30-20, Ohio St.

Game Notes:

- Game ball goes to...Chris Wells. Illinois linebackers will have bruises for weeks after being run over by the Mack truck that was Beanie on Saturday. Wells took the rock 24 times, picking up 143 yards (good for 6 yards a pop) and a touchdown. His leap over a defender en route to a 30 yard run in the third quarter was yet another addition to his growing highlight reel. Why give the ball to anyone else?

- Oh yeah, we also have a guy named Terrelle Pryor, that's why you give it to someone else. TP ran the ball 13 times for 110 yards and a touchdown. If you're trying quick math in your head, I'll save you the trouble. That's an incredible 8.5 YPC. He only threw the ball 10 times, but as I mentioned earlier, that was the game plan all along. He completed 6 of those passes for a mere 49 yards, but the key numbers are 1 and 0; as in 1 touchdown and 0 picks. That's really what this game came down to, when Ohio St needed a big play TP gave it to them, when Illinois needed one Juice turned it over.

- Looking at the bigger picture, a win this week will mean a share of a fourth straight Big Ten title. (Note: Last week I got a little carried away, claiming it would be 5 straight. I guess I was just anticipating next year's inevitable win.) A Michigan St victory over Penn St along with a Bucks win would send OSU to the Rose Bowl. The Lions head to Pasadena with a win, but a BCS berth for the Buckeyes would still be a possibility. Four at-large bids are up for grabs. You would have to assume one would go to whoever doesn't make it to the title game between Alabama and Florida. Another spot is sure to go to Texas. That leaves two open spots, with the Oklahoma-Texas Tech loser, USC, Utah, Boise St, and our beloved Bucks all fighting for them. If we're not BCS-bound, we'll be heading to the Capital One Bowl (it was better when it was the Citrus Bowl) to face the top non-BCS SEC team, likely Georgia or LSU.

Enough about the Illinois game, and enough about the Bowl situation, lets move on to what we're all really thinking about: next week's war with "that school up north" (Noon, ABC). People who say they would rather go 1-11 with a win over michigan than 11-1 with a National Title but a michigan loss are idiots, but boy do I really hate this team. I love this rivalry, but what I love even more is how much we are dominating it. I lived through the John Cooper years, I saw a great coach get fired (deservingly so) because he couldn't win this game. This is a new era however. An era that includes 4 straight wins for the Bucks, and 6 out of 7. An era which includes the 14-9 Championship clincher in '02, and "The Game of the Century" 42-39 win in '06.

I will be making my annual trip to the 614 this weekend, marking my 4th consecutive michigan Week appearance. After Will Allen's INT in the '02 game to send us to the National Championship (I have a chunk of the 50 yard line from this game), I drunkenly recommended to everyone watching the game with me to join me for a shot over Everclear to celebrate. I walked into the kitchen, poured four shots, and noticed that only one person followed me. All four were already poured, and we did just beat michigan, so I figured, go big or go home. The one kid took one shot, and I went big and had the other three one right after the other. Who knows what's going to happen on michigan weekend? For those that don't know, on every Thursday of michigan Week Ohio St students have a tradition of jumping in Mirror Lake. It's more of a large pond located on campus. On Thursday night, after lots of heavy drinking, thousands of students run to this spot on campus and jump in. As this game is always played in late November, the temperature in Columbus is quite nippy. It's crazy. I can't wait to take part again in a couple of days. Back to the game, Ohio St has beaten much much much better michigan teams than this in the past. The Buckeyes are gonna roll in this one, and they are gonna pour it on. If we can score 100 in this game, we should. No mercy.


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