Ron Zook Ends the Illinois vs Ohio State Game with 12 Minutes Remaining

Ron Zook Ends the Illinois vs Ohio State Game with 12 Minutes Remaining
Pryor Illinois 2008

Ron Zook Ends the Illinois vs Ohio State Game with 12 Minutes Remaining

In what was a tight game between two Big Ten foes and a difficult matchup for the Buckeyes a year ago, Ron Zook switched quarterbacks with 11:49 remaining and put the nail in the coffin for Fighting Illini. Maybe the hard hit by Ross Homan the previous drive on Juice Williams or the change in direction to playing against the wind influenced his decision, yet his team was down by 17 with most of the fourth quarter remaining when he made the switch to backup Eddie McGee who was not able to put the Illini into a scoring position on two consecutive drives ending any hope for his team.

By Steve Patterson

First Half Scoring

            Ohio State was able to get an early lead on Illinois in Evanston today with the assistance of great field position throughout most of the first half and two early turnovers by Illinois quarterback Juice Williams; One interception thrown to Kurt Coleman and one fumble recovered by Nader Abdallah. When Ohio State started drives in Illini territory they were able to score touchdowns in the first quarter. The first drive featured runs by both Chris Wells and Terrelle Pryor with Pryor running off the right side for a one yard touchdown to put the Buckeyes on the board first. Illinois came back to score but a Safety by Malcolm Jenkins blocking a punt put the Buckeyes on top at the end of the first period.

Pryor and Wells Lead the Way

            Ohio State ran well and often with Chris Wells and Terrelle Pryor both having big days. Pryor finished with 110 yards rushing on 13 carries and a touchdown. He also was 6 for 10 passing the ball, for 49 yards and one touchdown. Wells ended the day early with 144 yards and a touchdown. His replacement, Daniel Herron, also looked impressive with 31 yards and a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Tressel Ball Makes Things Tighter

            With a minute left in the first half, Head Coach Jim Tressel went into ball control mode and Illinois capitalized on the opportunity with a field goal going into halftime. Matt Eller kick a 44 yard field goal after Juice Williams drove the team into scoring position with only 41 seconds remaining on the clock. Ohio State had scored two previous touchdowns in the quarter, a touchdown run by Chris Wells and a touchdown reception by Dane Sanzenbacher, so they remained in control 23 to 13 at the mid-point.

Zook Switches to McGee

            An uneventful third quarter of punting led into the fourth quarter where McGee took over for Williams at quarterback and the Illini looked hopeless. Ohio State was able to maintain a good cushion in spite of a late touchdown throw from Williams to Chris Duvalt. The final score 30-20 could have been much closer if Williams had been allowed to stay in the game and make the spectacular plays that he is capable of, which kept them in the game today and led to a victory one year ago.

BrutusReport.com
Tags: Buckeyes Football NCAA Ohio State
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