Quotebook: Illinois

By Kyle Rowland on November 4, 2012 at 10:30a

What was once thought only as a possibility has become a reality. Ohio State enters its bye week undefeated with Wisconsin and Michigan standing in the way of a perfect season. 

Meyer: 10-0, but still flawed.

The Buckeyes finally played a full game on Saturday, knocking off Illinois, 52-22, in a game that featured the offense clicking on all cylinders, the defense playing, perhaps, its best game of the season and special teams being involved.

“I think this is our first complete game in all three phases,” safety CJ Barnett said. “We were able to stay fresh because of the long offensive drives. It's the best we've done defensively in keeping Illinois under 200 yards.”

Quarterback Braxton Miller did nothing to hurt his Heisman campaign, accounting for 299 total yards on offense and three touchdowns. Miller finally did some damage with his arm, abusing the Fighting Illini defense with 12 completions for 226 yards and two scores.

Carlos Hyde and the offensive line also had their time in the limelight, gashing an Illinois defense that ranks low on the totem pole in most statistical categories. In three quarters of work, Hyde had 137 yards and three touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Illinois was limited to 170 yards. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase completed 19 passes for 96 yards, a number that is nearly impossible to reach.

Still, Meyer kept his 10-0 Buckeyes grounded as they enter the bye week.

“The area we’re not efficient enough is the drop-back pass,” he said. “It’s not acceptable. And the guys around him, we have to continue to get better. The offense, I’m really disappointed in that.”

The criticism of Miller came after Meyer was made aware of comments made by Troy Smith, saying Miller has the opportunity to be one of the best quarterbacks in school history.

But Miller didn’t exactly back away from his coach’s comments.

“I’d agree with him,” he said. “I have to get better at that aspect of the game.

“I felt pretty good about myself throwing the ball. Last week, I was rushing things and my feet were jittery and I was elongating my step. But I was compact the whole week, and I could tell when the ball came out of my hands it was going to be a good throw.”

Corey Brown said Miller and every other member of the team will have a hard time living up to the lofty expectations of Meyer.

“No one will ever be able to satisfy Coach Meyer,” Brown said. “He holds us to such high standards – and he should.”

The area Meyer lauded was the offensive line. The unit continues to be the surprise of the 2012 season. Offensive line coach Ed Warinner has worked miracles in putting together a ragtag group that is all of a sudden a strength.

“What I liked best about (the offense is) when you control the line of scrimmage,” Meyer said. “That offensive line, I keep talking about them. Just where they’ve come from. Think about it. It’s almost overwhelming if you think where they were first week of spring practice to where they are now.”

Hyde, the guy who runs behind and past them, gave a spiel that showed his toughness.

“I’m a big back,” Hyde said. “I’m not a little scat guy who loves running away from contact – I’m running to contact. I’m going to try to make guys get out of my way. I run with passion, aggression and attitude. I feel like I can’t be brought down.”

Three weeks ago, the defense left Indiana, in its own words, “embarrassed.” Times sure have changed since then. After a meeting of the minds, the Ohio State D is well on its way to being the unit it was thought to be at the beginning of the season, injuries and all.

“We had to show we could play Silver Bullet football,” cornerback Travis Howard said. “After the Michigan State game, we slacked off and fell apart. The coaches told us, ‘That’s not Silver Bullet football.’ They wanted us to go out and compete and show what we’re capable of doing. Today, I think we did that.”

"After the Indiana game, we focused on the fundamentals - tackling better, leveraging the ball and keeping them in front of us.” Barnett said. “Coach Meyer really challenged us and put pressure on us to be better. We've done a good job of answering the call.”

“Indiana was a setback and we really took it to heart,” defensive end John Simon said. “As a defense, we rededicated ourselves in practice and have been doing everything we can to be prepared for game days. So far it’s been paying off, so we have to keep it up over the next three weeks.”

“The defense is getting better because of all of the criticism we have been receiving,” linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “We are trying and succeeding, slowly but surely, at becoming a better football team.”

Corey Brown delivered one of the most exciting plays of the day catching a short pass and then sprinting some 35 yards the rest of the way to the end zone. Six different Illinois players had an opportunity to tackle Brown, but he used his elusiveness to avoid would-be tacklers.

It drew laughs from Brown, Miller and Meyer because the head coach chided Brown for having 12 catches but less than 90 yards receiving at Michigan State.

“I just went to the sideline, looked at Coach (Meyer) and just smiled,” Brown said. “I just kept walking to see what he would say. But obviously he’s a serious person, so he really didn’t do anything back.”

As Ohio State enters the bye week, it will likely be a top-five team the next time it takes the field at Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are flawed, but if you win all your games, there’s not much to keep you away.

“I've been fortunate to have a couple of top five teams,” Meyer said. “This one probably has more holes than those other ones. However, there's also some great performances, so we are going to do dwell on the weaknesses because those weaknesses get exposed when you play two good teams like we have to finish the season.”

Illinois head coach Tim Beckman was the second coach in as many weeks that lobbed compliments Miller’s way. But it was hard not to after his performance.

“Braxton Miller is a fantastic football player,” Beckman said. “He fuels this Ohio State team with his ability to make guys miss and that is how he hurt us today. He also made big plays with his arm and exposed some coverage issues in our secondary.”

“I’ve played against him before in high school, and he was just as slippery then as he is now,” Illinois kick returner/defensive back Terry Hawthorne said. “He is the same exact guy, but he has more control of the ball now.”


Comments Show All Comments

LouGroza's picture

Shazier is playing under control with all that speed. He is unstoppable when he can have patience in reading the play and getting to it quickly without overrunning it. Great game Ryan.

unknownmusketeer's picture

Any word on Fragel?  He was down late in the third (Decker worked well as a replacement), and I don't think he returned.

yrro's picture

Warinner said he is doing ok and could have returned to the game if he needed to.

misterbulbous's picture

i believe he also tweeted that he was going to be ok.  What about Orhian Johnson?  He took a good lick to the head or shoulder on that tackle.  Never made it back out there if I recall.

1stYrBuckIClub's picture

Anyone else think that Urban (despite his comments about keeping his foot 'on the gas') let up in the fourth quarter against Beckman? I can understand why he would, since they've coached together and have been friends for a long time (and Beckman's getting some heat on his end). But the majority of plays in the fourth were running plays just to run out the clock and less to score... (How many passes did Kenny G have, 2?). Here's hoping that since he and that troll Bielema already have history, that he makes an example out of the Badgers...

NW Buckeye's picture

Would be great to see Urban put the peddle down against Wisky, but that will be a tough game.  Let's hope the Bucks make the most of their 2 weeks to prepare.  I'm expecting a great game from the O, and if the D improves as much as they have in the last 3 weeks, it should be very entertaining. 
Go Bucks!!!

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I don't think Urban will let up against baby Bret!  He has a point to make and it will be a point that Bret won't forget!  I look for Urban and company to put up at least 50 on them!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Royball's picture

Would love to finally get that 70 point outing vs. Bert

4-6 seconds of relentless effort

CowCat's picture

Kenny G threw a pick.  That was part of it.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Toilrt Paper's picture

After the bad pitch by Guiton, it was nothing hand the ball to the tailbacks.

MediBuck's picture

I agree. But I think he really wanted to give his second and third stringers some practice, as he mentioned in his post-game interview.

I highly doubt, though, that Meyer will let up the onslaught against Wisky or scUM. A) because Bielma is a fool and clearly drew his ire with the untrue "illegal recruiting tactics" comment in the preseason and B) scUM is scUM.

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

zachofaltrades's picture

If ever they would try and score a hundred, it would be these last 2 games.  Not saying they will, but I bet that is the goal.

buckeye76BHop's picture

I love how many of the players aren't satisfied even with a blow out performance.  There's always things you can get better at in every game no matter what the outcome is or how "perfect" it seemed to be during the game.  The film never lies...however, this team looked real good yesterday.  Aside from a few fumbles, bad passes and dropped ones...I'd say it was a pretty damn good performance (I'll give Rod a pass for that fumble bc that was a prefect hit by the Illini player...his hat was right on the ball).  The defense continues to improve at the right time. There's a sense of urgency to win on all phases is also starting to come together at the right time as well.  Good things... 

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

buckeyestu's picture

nice game yesterday, but still, the opponent isnt a good team by any measure, but at least a team they was suppose to blow out, they finally did, so imo, the team is improving. but they have a lot of improving to do. my hope for the season was 10-2 record, so i am pleased, and they are progressing in learning the urban way and getting ready for next year when they are bowl eligible. my grade for the team yesterday? B-

William's picture

They held Illinois to 170 yards of offense, while putting up 567 yards of offense and won 52-22.  That should at least warrant an A-.

avail31678's picture

Anyone see the scene on the sidelines where Meyer went back, took a towel from some guys sitting down, wiped his hands off, then threw the towel back at them - looking mad?  I'll have to re-watch it if I can and see if somethign was there or not (and who was on the bench).  REgardless of this specific incident, it's safe to say Meyer wasn't pleased with some of the late game surge by Illinois due to mistakes.  I know a lot of backups were in.
REgardless, I'm glad we took care of business.  It was good to really dominate a team we were supposed to dominate.  I feel good about our last two games.  Both potentially very close/tough games, but I feel good about them.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

im so glad that meyer demands perfection even when its not necessary to win a game. and it seems as if it has rubbed off on the players

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

osubuckeye4life's picture

This team is hitting it's stride at the right time. I saw a little mercy yesterday by Meyer. However, if given the opportunity to really lay it on Stay Puff Brett and Matt Foley motivational speaker, he will. 

BeijingBucks's picture

I don't think it was so much mercy as it was 2nd n 3rd stringers getting some much needed reps. Last time out Kenny looked good with the first team but not so crisp with the backups.

The garbage time scores and foibles look bad now but those reps will help us a lot next year when those players start filling in for this year's starters.

As for Rod Jones fumbles (Is it me or always when Beth is announcing he gets the dropsies!) he gon' learn by year two. Anyone remember when Eddie fumbled like three times his freshman year and we never saw him again until he was a sophomore? by then he seemed to get it worked out fairly successfully (I still see that ND game and smirk).

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton