Pentagram – OSU @ Illinois

“Either Ohio State isn’t as good as their rating or Illinois has improved more than we thought.”  This was the common refrain heard as people filed out of Memorial Stadium for the mid-afternoon tailgating.  In many ways, it’s beside the point.  OSU won 24-13.  They won on the road and still control their path to the mythical national title game.  The Illini couldn’t muster enough offense and avoid the dumb mistakes needed to pull the upset.  Still, this was a positive performance in many ways for Zook’s team as they stood up physically to the Buckeyes and didn’t lose any key players to injury.

A look at the stats confirms impressions of the game:  it was a very conservative affair.  OSU got 213 yards rushing, but half of those came on two big plays from Pryor.   Illinois actually outrushed the Buckeyes and were certainly more effective with the  running backs.  Again, the passing attack wasn’t very productive, but it didn’t hurt the offense much either.  If we can get to the point where passing is actually a concern for opposing defenses, we’ll be somewhere.

Five points in the Pentagram…

  1. The Illini D-line played very well.  Liuget and Spence clogged it up against the run and allowed the linebackers to finish plays.  Yeah, they didn’t really put pressure on Pryor unless they sent a linebacker or safety, but it’s progress.  It’s been some time since we’ve been able to win the line battle against a team like OSU, and the boys did so until the very end of the game when…
  2. Stupid penalties, a hallmark of the Zook era, came to the fore.  Some of them were just the shady kind of crap you always get against the likes of OSU or Michigan – holding on defense on a PAT?  A receiver lining up offsides?  Illegal kick formation?  But the facemasks – particularly in the 4th quarter in which we saw four or five – were killers.  They extended OSU’s last two drives.  Maybe they were a result of our defense tiring, who knows?  Somehow we have to cut this out if we want to beat good teams.
  3. Scheelhaase needs a little more time, but he’s progressing.  He needs to take more time in the pocket before he starts dancing.  Trust your receivers a little more, Nate.  He also needs more time in the pocket from his O-line.  The play-action will work, was working, because of our running game…  Now you just have to make some of those throws down the field.
  4. Don’t know if this conservative gameplan will work against other Big 10 teams.  It was like a battle between the two coaching staffs – who could be more vanilla.  Other teams in the conference were putting up big numbers this weekend.  Other teams were throwing the ball.  Illinois might be able to stop the run, but they really will need to score in the 20’s to beat anyone else.
  5. In my opinion, OSU is overrated.  Having seen other teams play with a lot more style and creativity, knowing how Jim Tressel will set his team up, and not seeing the playmakers other than Pryor, I don’t see the Buckeyes getting through the conference without a loss.  Their defense isn’t that good.  Maybe they had an off game against the Illini – as my cousin said, OSU never plays well against Illinois – but I’m predicting/hoping for a bowlgame match up between the Bucks and one of the upstart schools like TCU or Boise State at the turn of the year.
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2 thoughts on “Pentagram – OSU @ Illinois

  1. The Rube will begrudgingly have to agree with most of what Mr. Beemsville says here. Although tape will be checked on a few things. The Zooker, who refused to blame the refs outright did say a few things in his presser that have to raise a few hackles of the Big Ten officiating folks.

    Questionable Penalties:
    1. Phantom facemask on Ming the Mercilus? First it should be noted that the replay board at Memorial Stadium will not replay “controversial” calls due to fear that some crazed indian will charge the field and scalp the officials I guess. That said, this play was replayed and it was obvious to EVERYONE, including the tOSU fans sitting around us that Mercilus tackled the guy by the shoulder pads. Zooker said they were still trying to figure this one out and that he needed to check the rules. Uhmmm shouldn’t you know the rules….you’re….uhmmm a HEAD COACH!!! The Rube thinks this was Zookers way of calling out a bad call.

    2. Justin Greene offsides on 3rd and 1 when the Illini actually stopped them? OK so maybe the kid is still green (pun intended) at the CB position. That said the side judges tell players at all levels from Pop Warner to the NFL on the ends that they need to “move back” if they are lined up off sides. This didn’t happen. Conspiracy theorists still believe this was due to tOSU’s #2 ranking! Again Zook pointed out that “Justin hasn’t been there that long. It’s something that happens. Usually the official tells him to back up.” Why this wouldn’t happen in the 4th quarter of a tight ball game is beyond me?

    3. Jack Ramsay whips some a$$? So after the crappy field goal to put us within 4 with 4 minutes to go the ensuing kick-off was highlighted by a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Jack Ramsay. According to what the Zookmeister saw on film Jack in the box wasn’t anywhere near the scuffle. Now Zook usually calls ’em as he sees ’em, so I don’t think he’s being a homer when he says “There was a little mix-up, one of their players hit one of our players. Jack wasn’t even involved. He was getting up and, when the film cuts off, the guy was running into Jack. Jack’s trying to get away. But those you can’t have. You can’t have it!”

    The bottom line is after we got to within 4 tOSU was the recipiant of 35 yards worth of penalties on the final drive alone (they also declined one in that drive for another 5 yards). All in all the Illini were flagged 9 times for 74 yards (with two penalties declined), while tOSU was caught 4 times for a meger 26 yards. The penalties are absolutely killing us. Since the Missouri game we’ve had great plays called back, good stops erased and now a special teams error due to a false start that cost us 3 points. Zook and Co. have to get this under control we will continue to struggle to figure out “how to win these types of games” as long as we continue to have 70+ yards of penalties every single game. To put things in perspective the Illini are averaging over 6 penalties a game for a whopping 65 yards per. Our opponents are flagged 4 times for 43 yards. Thats over a two first down difference per game! If you throw out the Missouri Cheaters…er…Tigers who had 7 for 80 yards its even more of a difference.

    Last but not least, The Rube will now educate you on how Nathan Sheetmetalworker out played Terrel don’t call me Richard Pryor. First you have to see the stats.
    Schtickhouse was 12/22 passing (55%) for 109 yards no TD’s and 1 INT. Not all that impressive until you see Pryor at 9/16 (57%) for 76 yards 2 TD’s and 1 INT. Now you say, well Pryor had 2 TD’s and Schitehose didn’t have any. Well that is true, but Pryor has two more years experience, some very good receivers (Millines and AJ Jenkins both ahd critical drops) so I’ll call it a draw on passing. Now on to the rushing. Steaminhouse 11 rushes for 12 yards, and 1 TD nothing to write home about. Pryor 11 rushes for 104 yards and no TD’s. At first glance Pryor has a BIG edge here. I’ll ask you to take out the 66 yarder keyed by a hold against #75 for tOSU that wasn’t called and the 35 yarder keyed by #54 with a chop block again not called and what do you have? Pryor with 9 rushes for 4 yards and no TD’s, advantage Slimehouse. Now the piece de resistance that puts our boy over Pryor. Nate had 1 catch for 23 yards!!! Winna, winna chicken dinna!!!! Oh yeah our QB was hit more times than theirs and you didn’t see him limping off the field….Pryor’s a sissy too!!!

    All in all The Rube was happy that the Illini competed as long as the coaching staff would let them. The FG killed The Rube…absolutely slayed me! Have to go for the TD down 7 with 4 minutes to go 4 and 7 on the tOSU 16. Even if we stop them can we expect Schedrucker to march the team down field 80+ yards with 25 mph wind gusts against the #2 team in the country?!?!?!? Not yet anyway. The other thing that took the team out of prime flux capacitor mode was the penalties. Some we deserved, some we didn’t, but I can promise you the tOSU Nuts deserved more than they got. We competed, didn’t roll over and put a scare into the #2 team in the country. Someone said either we’re better or they aren’t as good, I’m not sure which, but either is fine with me. Now if we can pick up 1 of the next two against PSU and MSU go into the weaker part of our schedule 3-3 we have a legit shot at a bowl game. Purdue, Minny and Fresno are looking more and more like wins which leave NW and Meatchicken as toss ups. I say we split the remaining four toss ups 2-2 (PSU, MSU, NW, Meatchicken) and sweep the rest and end up 7-5 Bowl bound….heck if we could get a call we could even end up 8-4 or gulp…dare I say 9-3?!?!?!? Crazier things have happened…Scheelhasse out played Pryor….see what I mean!

  2. The Rube will not comment on the “DEFENSIVE HOLDING” call on the missed/blocked PAT that tOSU had….I disbelieve that penalty exists as I’ve never seen it called in over 400 years of watching football!

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