Hitting Rewind: Offense vs. Illinois

By Jason Priestas on November 17, 2008 at 1:00 pm

After watching tape of the game, what really stands out is the play of the offensive line. We've piled on these guys all season long, but on Saturday, they did a great job of keeping the Big Ten's top team in terms of sacks and TFLs out of the backfield. Pryor and Wells each had monster days on the ground and Pryor also had plenty of time to throw when the Buckeyes did line up to pass.

I know there were some complaints about not throwing the ball enough, but why throw the ball when your running game is approaching 1995 Nebraska levels?

Speaking of throwing the ball, it's evident that the bye week footwork that Pryor received has done wonders. He's looked like a much different passer these last two weeks and I'm excited to see what he'll look like by the time bowl season rolls around.

In regards to the officiating, I really hope the conference takes a long look at implementing some sort of head-to-head hit penalty before next season. Buckeye players have taken at least five of those hits this season and I cringe every time I see one.

Pryor's Bootleg Scamper

In a scoreless game with 9:07 remaining in the first quarter, the Buckeyes find themselves in a 3rd and goal from the Illini one. The play before, Pryor had attempted to reach the corner, but was turned back by Vontae Davis. This time, a fake does the trick.

The Buckeyes come out in a power I with Ballard and Nicol to the right, Smith at fullback and Andrew Miller lined up to the left. Ballard and Nicol block down and Smith plugs the hole on the fake inside handoff to Beanie. Offensive line win.
Brit Miller bites on the fake as Pryor starts to sprint out with Rehring pulling. Ballard leaves his man to go after Hardeman.
Rehring eats up end Derek Walker and Miller is left with no angle on the play.
Hardeman finally frees himself of Ballard, but by then, it's too late.

Beanie Extends the Lead

What good is a safety if you can't follow it up to make it a nine point swing, right? Following Jenkins' punt block, the Illini were forced to kick into the wind and the Buckeyes started their fourth drive on the opponent's 43 yard line. A pass and a run to Hartline put the ball inside the 10 and then two plays leader, Beanie hit pay dirt.

On 2nd and goal from the three, Nicol lines up as the H back with Smith and Wells on either side of Pryor. Nicol goes into motion to the center of the line before reversing back to the left.
The line gets a good push and numbers are looking good with Nicol and Smith leading the way on the left side.
Nicol seals inside, Smith takes Davis and linebacker Martez Wilson has a good angle on Beanie.
Martez Wilson FAIL.
Zook decided not to challenge the call, perhaps knowing that two downs to get an inch was a given for the Buckeye rushing attack at that point.

Dane's First Touchdown of 2008

Coming off Coleman's interception of Juice deep in Buckeye territory, the offense marched down the field pretty quickly thanks to plays like Pryor's 35 yard jaunt. The end result was the perfect showcase of Pryor's mobility and touch.

On 3rd and 5 from the Illini 20, the Buckeyes come out in a shotgun with Hartline and Robo to the right and Posey and Sanzenbacher left.
Tackle Josh Brent gets good push on the play, but Cordle stays with him.
This allows Pryor to step up into the pocket (meanwhile, Boone is having his way with Pilcher).
Terrelle puts the ball in a perfect spot for Dane to break on it with a chance to score.
Sanzenbacher's touchdown put the Buckeyes up 23-7 with a little over six minutes remaining in the first half.

Hurdle, the Sequel

After watching Illinois march down and get field goals on their last two drives of the 1st half, cutting the Buckeye lead to 10, Ohio State opened the 2nd half with the ball and found themselves with a 1st and 10 from their own 30.

With Beanie lined up as a single back, Nicol goes in motion to the right side.
The run is to the left, despite heavy presence on the right side of the line. Rehring closes down on his man, creating a nice cutback lane to that side of the field.
Which Beanie is more than happy to take.
Hartline does a really nice job of getting his hat in front of the defender, springing Beanie to the 2nd level.
Illinois safety Hardeman finds himself in the least desirable position in Champaign at that moment.
Which leads to this awesomeness.

It was a shame Beanie put the ball on the turf later on that drive, giving the Illini the ball inside their own 20. This game could have effectively been over after the opening drive of the 2nd half.