The Fighting Illini are coming off a fairly close victory against in-state rival Northern Illinois University. The University of Illinois beat the Huskies 28-22 last Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL. After playing Missouri and two in-state teams in Southern Illinois University and NIU, the Illini are facing college football powerhouse Ohio State. Ohio State is currently ranked 2nd in both the AP and USA Today Polls. The closest game that Ohio State has had is when they faced the 12th ranked Miami Hurricanes and still won by 12 points. Other than that game the Buckeyes have won by at least four possessions. The Buckeyes don’t look to be too worried about the Illini.
The one positive that Illini fans can be hopeful of is that the team has a bye week this week. This bye week may have come at the perfect time. It gives the Illini an entire week to prepare for the mighty Buckeyes and figure out how, or if, they can do something to stop the high-powered offense. Last year, the Buckeyes steam-rolled the Illini, beating them 30-0. Illini hopeful can only pray that the new quarterback, red-shirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase, can do something to confuse the Buckeye defense that is ranked 9th in the nation for points against. With the running game lead by Mikel LeShoure and Scheelhaase, the Illini look to run it down the throat of any team and throw the ball only when necessary.
Ohio State plays Eastern Michigan this week. That game will basically be another warm up game to get their offense in another gear to play harder competition later in the year. Illini fans are definitely hoping that the game next weekend is not another warm up game for the Buckeyes.
About the Author
Written by Gregg Pluta
I am currently a sophomore in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.