Buckeye Leaves: Illinois

Ohio State had a number of standout performers in the wipeout of Illinois, but who rose above the rest in our eyes? It's this week's edition of Buckeye Leaves.

Ohio State blew out overmatched Illinois by a 55-14 score Saturday night, producing a number of standout performers. Who were our players of the game, though? BSB gives out our Buckeye Leaves.

Kane Anderson: I’d like to give my Buckeye Leaf to Curtis Grant. The senior captain had what could have been his best game as a member of the Silver Bullets. Despite just two total tackles, Grant had his first career interception and a fumble recovery in Illinois territory. Grant was flying around the field in the limited action he saw and made sure his presence was felt. With Raekwon McMillan continuing to garner the attention at middle linebacker, it was great to see Grant come out and fill the stat sheet. Steve Miller deserves a shout-out as well.

Ryan Ginn: My Buckeye Leaf goes to Cardale Jones. There may have been better performances in Ohio State’s 55-14 flogging of Illinois, but Jones’ showing was still important. The third-year sophomore has watched as a younger player passed him by and shined, but the Cleveland Glenville product still made some plays in – as OSU head coach Urban Meyer put it – the first time the coaching staff really let him play. His final line included 5 of 9 completions for 82 yards and two touchdowns along with seven rushes for 47 yards. Those numbers didn’t win Ohio State the game, but they were still important when looking at the bigger picture.

Matthew Hager: There are plenty of worthwhile candidates after this one, but I’m going to give my Buckeye Leaf to senior defensive lineman Steve Miller. With Noah Spence’s off-the-field issues, Miller has taken on a big role on the defense this season and is definitely having his best fall as a Buckeye. He made four tackles against Illinois, including three for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Joey Bosa will get plenty of votes tonight and deservedly so, but Miller’s efforts should not go unnoticed.

Marcus Hartman: Joey Bosa padded his Big Ten-leading sack total with a pair, giving him 10 on the season. Many Buckeyes contributed to the blowout, but Bosa’s overwhelming talent and some outstanding individual plays were emblematic of the mismatch this game was.

Jeff Svoboda: Ohio State really spread the wealth as far as standout performances tonight with a lot of players chipping in, but I'm gonna give my Buckeye Leaf to Devin Smith. The senior wideout from Massillon has been maligned for what he hasn't been in his career, but people should just enjoy what he is -- one of the most productive receivers in Ohio State history. I joked during the game that all he does is catch touchdowns, but he had two more scores against the Fighting Illini among his three catches. His 32-yard grab from J.T. Barrett late in the first quarter really broke open the game and was yet another big play in the litany that Smith has made over the years.

Blake Williams: The captain Curtis Grant gets the nod for me. Jokingly called “Not Raekwon McMillan” by one of my coworkers, Grant has been overshadowed by his freshman backup often this season, but the senior was Johnny-on-the-spot against the Illinois. On the second play of the second quarter Grant picked off a pass that was dropped by an Illinois player. It wasn’t the greatest play ever, but he was there to make it. Plus it was in the first half so at least some OSU fans were still paying attention. He then recovered a fumble forced by Steve Miller in the third quarter for good measure. It was a right place, right time kind of day for the middle linebacker.

Who do you think should be so honored? Let us know in the Ask The Insiders forum.


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