Ohio State football was supposed to keep cruising today. In September, the Ohio State football team was not challenged, even against Miami. Through the month, the Buckeyes basically breezed through at home without breaking much of a sweat. Even though today was their first road game, the Buckeyes seemed to have another easy time ahead against Illinois. Instead, Ohio State got its first true test of 2010, before avoiding a monumental upset with a 24-13 escape.
From the start, the Illini proved to be a tougher out than expected, jumping to a 7-0 lead early. But when Terrelle Pryor got a 66-yard run, and later threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Saine, it appeared that order would be restored. That was not the case, as the two stayed even through much of the first half.
When the Illini went up 10-7, Ohio State seemed destined for its first halftime deficit of the year. Yet with under two minutes left, Pryor went back to work, putting the Buckeyes ahead with an 11-yard strike to Dane Sanzenbacher. However, Buckeyes Nation had its heart stop in the third quarter when Pryor had to leave the game for a bit.
The Heisman favorite was only out for a little while, and he was needed to finally put the Illini away. With the score still 14-10, the Ohio State football team put together their biggest drive of 2010, eating the clock with a 14-play, 59-yard match. It only yielded a field goal, but it made a difference in the long run.
With the Buckeyes up 17-10, and with an Illini drive stalled in the red zone, Illinois chose to take a field goal, rather than go for the tie. However, the Illini defense had run out of gas, as the Buckeyes drove down the field and sealed things with a Dan Herron run.
Although it took more effort than expected, Ohio State remained perfect after their Big Ten opener. Yet while everyone is focused on whether Alabama and Oregon will survive showdowns tonight, the Buckeyes nearly altered the national title picture with their scare.
Despite cruising through Miami and three cupcakes at home, the Buckeyes now have to prove their mettle against a tough Big Ten. Of course, Illinois was not expected to be difficult – but they shed some doubt on how well Ohio State will do against the conference elite.
Nevertheless, the Buckeyes survived, and still stand to be No. 1 if the Tide fall to Florida tonight. Although they return home to face Indiana next week, Ohio State has likely learned its lesson in looking ahead – or at least fans hope so.
Yahoo Sports- “Ohio State survives Illini scare, 24-13”