NCAA Game Summary - Ohio State at Illinois|
(Saturday, October 2nd)
Final Score: (2) Ohio State 24, Illinois 13
Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Terrelle Pryor threw a pair of touchdown
passes and rushed for 104 yards, leading second-ranked Ohio State to a 24-13
victory over Illinois in the Big Ten opener for both schools at Memorial
Pryor had runs of 66 and 35 yards among his 11 carries and completed 9-of-16
passes for only 76 yards. The junior Heisman Trophy candidate left one series
and sat out another in the third quarter after suffering a quadriceps injury.
Dan Herron added 95 yards on the ground and scored late in the fourth quarter
to seal it for Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten), which played its first road game
of the season and beat Illinois for the eighth straight time in Champaign. The
Buckeyes haven't lost at Memorial Stadium since 1991.
"It was a Big Ten game," said Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. "It was
tough. You knew it would be when you travel in the Big Ten. I'm proud of our
kids for slugging it out. You always like to start the Big Ten season 1-0
instead of 0-1."
Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 109 yards and rushed for a touchdown for Illinois
(2-2, 0-1), which had a bye last week after wins over both Southern Illinois
and Northern Illinois. Mikel Leshoure ran for 80 yards on 19 carries in
The Buckeyes held a 14-10 lead early in the fourth quarter and were faced with
4th-and-1 from the Illinois 19. After a timeout, Herron picked up the first
down by the nose of the football and the play was upheld by a video review
after a challenge by Illinois head coach Ron Zook.
Ohio State was able to run a few more minutes off the clock before Devin
Barclay kicked a 32-yard field goal for a seven-point margin with 8:27 to
The Illini then marched from their own 20 to the Ohio State 13, but Zook
elected to settle for a 30-yard field goal from Derek Dimke to pull within
17-13 with 4:36 remaining.
Illinois appeared to have Ohio State stopped with just over three minutes left
when a third-down run came up short, but an offside penalty prolonged the
drive and Herron scored on a six-yard run with 1:49 on the clock to cement the
"I felt that if we get the field goal, we're only down four, and if you hold
them to another field goal we're only down seven," said Zook about the late-
game strategy. "We still have a chance to get points. I just felt like we
should take the points we will for sure have and then count on the defense to
get the ball back. If you hold them to a field goal, now it's a seven point
game which is still a manageable game."
Ohio State went three-and-out to start the game and Illinois drove 55 yards on
nine plays with its first offensive series for a 7-0 lead. Scheelhaase hit
Jarred Fayson for 10 yards on 3rd-and-9 to keep the chains moving early and
caught a 23-yard pass from the receiver on 2nd-and-11 moments later to set up
a first down at the OSU eight-yard line. The Buckeyes stopped Leshoure short
of the goal line twice and Scheelhaase scored on a keeper up the middle from
three yards away on third down.
It didn't take long for Ohio State to answer, as Pryor kept the ball on first
down and raced 66 yards to the Illinois eight and capped the quick series
three plays later with an eight-yard scoring toss to Brandon Saine. The extra
point attempt was blocked, but a penalty against Illinois gave the Buckeyes a
second chance and Barclay knocked it through for a 7-7 game.
After a trade of punts left Illinois with possession at the Ohio State 36, the
Illini picked up 12 yards before Dimke's 41-yard field goal try came up just
short in the first minute of the second quarter.
Neither team seriously threatened again until Trulon Henry picked off Pryor
and gave the Illini the ball at the Ohio State 24. Illinois managed one first
down before Dimke drilled a 27-yard field goal with 1:50 to play in the half.
Pryor again answered an Illinois score with a long run, this time 35 yards, to
set up a first down at the Illinois 22. He soon after finished the five-play
series with an 11-yard scoring pass to Dane Sanzenbacher to put Ohio State
ahead 14-10 just 45 seconds before the break.
A scoreless third quarter features a trade of interceptions. Scheelhaase was
picked off by Jermale Hines to give Ohio State a first down at the Illinois
44, but Pryor was in the locker room for treatment and Joe Bauserman gave it
right back with an overthrown ball that was intercepted by Henry.
The Buckeyes ran the ball 20 times and threw just four passes after Pryor's
return from the locker room in the third quarter.
"There's no way I could do anything about it, except to hand the ball off and
get a couple passes," said Pryor. "But it kind of hurt even dropping back. My
hat's off to the linemen, the receivers, the blocking and Boom (Dan Herron)
running the ball the way he did and got us a victory. That's what you look
for. I went down and then we had a guy step up when we needed it. That's the
The Buckeyes have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 28 straight games. Leshoure
had run for at least 100 yards in each game this season and in four straight
games dating to last year...Pryor has 1,783 career rushing yards and became
the second all-time leading rushing quarterback in school history, surpassing
Rex Kern. Cornelius Greene tops the list with 2,066 yards from 1972-75...Ohio
State improved to 62-32-5 in Big Ten road openers, including 7-3 under
Tressel. The Buckeyes have won their last six conference openers and are
71-23-4 in conference openers all-time, including 9-1 under Tressel...Ohio
State leads all-time series, 63-30-4, including 34-12 in Champaign. The teams
have played for the Illibuck Trophy, a wooden replica of a turtle, since 1925.
The Illibuck Trophy is the second-oldest in the Big Ten, behind only the
Little Brown Jug between Minnesota and Michigan.
10/02 19:09:28 ET