Thursday, November 21

Carlos Hyde leads Buckeyes in rout of Illinois

Carlos Hyde is a bad man. Not “bad” as in he punches women at bars (well…), but as in Michael Jackson Bad. It was another lightning start by Ohio St to go up 28-0 early, but it took Hyde’s dominating performance to deter the Illini momentum after they brought the game back within reach. The defense showed its weaknesses again in this one, allowing Nathan Scheelhaase and Illinois to post 420 total yards en route to 35 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome Hyde’s monster day. Carlos rushed for 254 yards while scoring four times on the ground and once more through the air. When the Illini clawed their way back from a big hole to cut the lead to 47-35 in the fourth quarter, it was Hyde’s two TD runs of 50+ yards that ultimately sealed the deal for the Buckeyes.

Game Recap
Ohio St has just destroyed B1G opponents in the first quarter, and last Saturday was no different. The Buckeyes were on the board 36 seconds into the game when Braxton Miller took off for a 70-yard touchdown. He didn’t have to do much to get into the open field, and once he did, there wasn’t an orange jersey that could come near him. As good as the start was for the Ohio St QB, it was the exact opposite for his counterpart, as Scheelhaase was picked off by C.J. Barnett on his third pass attempt of the game.

Later in the quarter, Miller engineered a 94-yard drive, capping it with an 18-yard score to Hyde. Scheelhaase was intercepted again on the ensuing drive, and Bradley Roby took this one back to the house for a 21-0 lead. Roby is becoming the Ed Reed of the NCAA, scoring almost any time he gets his hands on the ball. This was his third career pick-six, to go along with a fumble return, two punt returns, and two blocked punts, all for scores.

The end of the 1st quarter and beginning of the 2nd saw the only gap in offensive production, with three consecutive punts from the two teams. Miller got the ball rolling again with a 28-yard run followed by an 11-yard touchdown toss to Philly Brown, and the game appeared like it was headed to become yet another joke. But when Cameron Johnston was out to punt on the next Buckeye possession, V’Angelo Bentley took it all the way back to put Illinois on the board. Johnston and the punt team had been flawless this season before the Bentley return, allowing a staggering three yards all year on punt returns.

OSU answered quickly when Hyde was the beneficiary of a great Jordan Hall kick return to extend the lead to 35-7. Scheelhaase kept the scoring frenzy going minutes later with a TD pass to Steve Hall. After another Johnston punt, Illinois failed to convert on 4th down and the fast-paced half came to a close with the Bucks leading 35-14.

Halftime didn’t slow anything down, as the Illini came out of the gate hitting on all cylinders and closing the deficit to 35-21 on a Scheelhaase-to-Evan Wilson score. Ohio St took the ball right back into Illinois territory, but a Braxton fumble stopped the drive. Each team traded punts, but Johnston’s 71-yard boomer left Illinois in the shadow of their own goal line. When Scheelhaase was forced to leave the game for a play after he lost his helmet, back up Reilly O’Toole (what a terrific name) was sacked by Ryan Shazier and fumbled in his own end zone. I don’t know if I've talked about it on this blog before, but Shazier is really, really good. Illini TE Matt LaCosse minimized the damage to a safety by recovering the fumble.

After a Chris Fields 47-yard catch set up the Buckeyes for another score, Ohio St fans looked on anxiously as Brax was hit late and stayed on the turf for a loooong two minutes. He walked off on his own power and we were all generously rewarded with a Kenny G appearance. Guiton didn’t need to show off his prowess, however, as two handoffs to Hyde put the Buckeyes up comfortably yet again, 44-21. Miller was back for the next series and a Drew Basil miss from 50 yards closed the third quarter.

With the game seemingly out of reach for the second time, those damn Illini refused to go away. Two more touchdowns (along with a two-point conversion) sandwiched a Basil FG and brought the game to the smallest margin since the middle of the first. Then Carlos Hyde decided to take the game into his hands. His 51-yard score with five minutes left FINALLY put the game away, then his 55-yarder was just icing on the cake. After the game, Hyde was confused as to why it wasn’t this easy all game long. “That last run, in my head I was like, we could have done this the whole time.” Dear Carlos, you did. You had 150 and three touchdowns before that.

Game Ball
Well if you’ve read this far you know where this is going. But I would like to take this time to shout out LB Ryan Shazier on another dominating performance. I would love to give him a GB at some point this season if a defense can actually find a way to stop Hyde and Miller.
Game balls to date: Guiton (4), Hyde (3), Miller (2)

Big Ten
In a game that decided the Legends Division, Michigan State remained unbeaten in conference play with their 41-28 win at Nebraska. The Spartan D showed some holes for the first time all year (while still forcing five turnovers), but the offense also showed some life for the first time by capitalizing on all Cornhusker mistakes. Northwestern was once again on the brink of their first Big Ten win but fell short in overtime against bitchigan. Wisconsin and Penn St rolled over Indiana and Purdue, respectively.

Defensive woes
While the Buckeye offense continues to rack up outrageous numbers, the defense is having its struggles. Granted, although Illinois is a pathetic team as a whole, their offense has put up some decent numbers this year, and starting linebackers Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry were out for this game, but it would be nice to see some consistency out of this unit. There is a ton of talent here – Shazier is one of the best LBs in the nation, Barnett is flourishing in the absence of injured Christian Bryant, and Joey Bosa and Noah Spence have turned in some dominating performances this season, but they just seem to be lacking the ability to put it all together.

Up Next: vs. Indiana (4-6, 2-4), 3:30, ABC/ESPN 2
Ohio St should have no troubles sending out their seniors with a win at The Shoe. Along with Carlos Hyde, Kenny G, and most of the offensive line, this will also be Bradley Roby’s (who already weirdly declared for the draft) and possibly Ryan Shazier’s final game in Ohio Stadium. Indiana has some players that aren’t worth talking about. Hyde could go off for 300+ in this game.
Prediction: Ohio St 66 Indiana 20


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