Halftime Rapid Reaction

COLUMBUS - A quick look at the first half from the Horseshoe, where Illinois trails Ohio State 31-6.

COLUMBUS - Four Ohio State second quarter scores gave the Buckeyes complete control of what had been a close contest.

Illinois scored first with a 43-yard field goal by Nick Immekus, but couldn't stop Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes, who took a 31-6 lead into halftime.

Player of the half: Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde. The junior scored three touchdowns and gained 63 yards on nine carries.

Stat of the half: Total yards: Ohio State - 310 yards, Illinois 114. The Buckeyes were balanced, gaining 152 yards through the air and 158 on the ground.

Play of the half: Braxton Miller's 51-yard touchdown pass to Rod Smith. Leading 17-6, Miller rolled to his right and patiently waited for Smith to get downfield on the left sideline. Miller showed off his arm strength, hitting Smith in stride for the long score.

What went right: First quarter offensive drives: It wasn't flashy, but the Illini put together two impressive scoring drives in the opening quarter. Combined, the two drives went for 19 plays and 85 yards, but each ended with field goals instead of touchdowns.

Also: The play of Terry Hawthorne. The senior led the team with seven tackle (all solo) and had five kick returns for 135 yards, including a long of 45.

What went wrong: Defensively: Miller got it going. After a slow start (33 yards on his first nine carries), Miller impacted the game with both his arm and legs. He finished the half with 76 yards rushing and 152 yards passing. His dual threat abilities provided excitement and got the crowd into the game.

Offensively: Third down efficiency. The Illini were 1-for-8 on third down, with four drives featuring five plays or less.

Special teams: Punter Justin DuVernois has punts of 34 and 22 yards, setting up the Buckeyes with great field position on those two occasions.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories