Posted by Tom Fornelli
Ohio State left its A-game back in Columbus this weekend, but the Buckeyes were still able to leave Champaign with a 24-13 victory. It wasn't pretty, nor was it all that efficient, but Illinois just couldn't deal with the talent advantage the Buckeyes have over them. For most of the game it looked as if Ohio State was just sleepwalking its way to victory, as Terrelle Pryor was the only member of the Buckeyes who seemed to care at times.
Pryor didn't get much done through the air, completing 9-of-16 passes for 76 yards. When his team needed yards, though, he did it with his legs, picking up 104 yards on the ground. Pryor also had to leave the game early in the third quarter when he strained his left quad muscle. After heading to the locker room for a spell he would return to the game, but Jim Tressel went ultra conservative with his quarterback.
Which nearly proved costly for the Buckeyes. The Illini had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter when they were inside the Ohio State 20-yard line. That's when Ron Zook made a questionable decision to kick a field goal on a fourth down with four minutes left in the game. While I understand the desire to put points on the board and cut into the deficit, I don't comprehend why Zook gave Ohio State a chance to just run out the clock.
Jim Tressel loves to run out the clock. If you asked him if he'd rather see his team score on one 75-yard play or run ten minutes off the clock without scoring, he'd probably choose the latter.
Tressel and the Buckeyes would do just that, as the Illini were then presented with a heavy dose of Dan Herron, Dan Herron, and then a little more Dan Herron. Herron carried the ball six times -- every play -- on Ohio State's final drive, picking up 53 yards before finally reaching the end zone and putting the game out of reach.