Photo of John Simon by Neal Lauron
I missed most of the first half of this game. Fortunately, there wasn't much to miss.
Well, it was good to see Boom Herron back on the field and the guy answered the bell with 114 yards. Overall, the Buckeyes had 211 yards rushing, which means that the offensive line did its job and Herron wasn't the only one running well. You might wonder why I would think that only four pass attempts is a good thing. Maybe it's a little extreme, but it was probably the right decision for this game. Champaign had some 20 mph winds and if you have ever been to Memorial Stadium, you know that is one drafty barn. With the pass blocking, the young quarterback, and the wind, running the ball 51 times was probably the right move.
The Buckeyes locked down the Illini offense. John Simon had a great game. He seemed to be in the Illini backfield as much as the Illinois tailback. Jonathan Hankins also had a great game. You really can't complain about the defense in this game.
It was definitely good to see Herron back on the field, but I would like to see Carlos Hyde get more than three carries. The offensive line allowed four sacks. But then, we know what to expect from the pass protection with this team.
Aside from a really stupid penalty by Bradley Roby, I can't think of anything to put here.
Let's face it. This game isn't going into the vault as an instant classic. I don't think I need to be more specific than that. Other than the game itself, I would say the officiating falls here. The left tackle for Illinois must have held on every play. That's not unusual, but this guy would grab handfuls of the back of the jersey of whomever he was blocking. Even if the defender changed direction to make it obvious that he was being held, the refs didn't call it.
Here is an unexpected stat. The Buckeyes threw half as many passes in this game as Georgia Tech against Virginia. Let that one sink in for a moment. Watch for the Buckeyes to spring a Hawai'i-style passing attack on the Badgers. Fickell's just been giving the old rope-a-dope.
Under the Radar player of the game
John Simon, Bradley Roby, and Jonathan Hankins all deserve mention here and any one of them would be a solid choice. However, Tyler Moeller forced the fumble that led to the Buckyes second touchdown and that is the epitome of what earns this award.