Buckeye Leaves: Ohio State Shuts Down Illinois, 28-3

Ohio State had big performances from a few players on either side of the ball against Illinois. Here's a look at who we picked for our Buckeyes Leaves this week.

Ryan Ginn: My Buckeye Leaf goes to junior defensive end Joey Bosa, who was an absolute monster for Ohio State against the Illini. Despite routinely facing double and triple teams, Bosa generated consistent pressure and finished with three tackles for loss and half a sack. Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt was harassed relentlessly en route to a 23 of 47 passing line and was sacked three times. Bosa’s presence was a big factor in all of that.

James Grega: It would be very hard to not go with Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with his performance on the ground. The Buckeye star passed Tim Spencer for third all-time on the all-time Ohio State rushing list with his 181 yard performance against the Illini and had it not been for Elliott, the Buckeye offense would have struggled to move even more than it did. My initial thought was to give the leaf to the offensive line as a whole as quarterback J.T. Barrett was also able to rush for 74 yards but they largely struggled to protect him throughout the game..

Tim Moody: Junior defensive end Joey Bosa is the best player on the team, and that was evident against Illinois. He hasn’t put up world-beating numbers for much of the season despite dominant play, but I’d classify seven tackles, three tackles for loss and half a sack as a pretty good day. And to be honest, Bosa did even more than those numbers show. He was disruptive on pretty much every down and took on numerous double teams, freeing up the rest of the Buckeye defense to make plays. It worked as Illinois gained less then 300 total yards, including just 20 yards on the ground.

Blake Williams: I imagine I won’t be alone in giving my Buckeye Leaf to Ezekiel Elliott after his performance against Illinois. The junior had his 15th consecutive 100-yard game and passed Tim Spencer on the Ohio State career rushing list in the process. He finished with 181 yards on the ground with two touchdowns, but Elliott’s day was about more than just the numbers. At times he was the only truly reliable option on offense as the Buckeyes struggled to pass protect all afternoon. As he has been all season, Elliott was a constant for Ohio State and was particularly dominant in the second half, rushing 18 times for 134 yards with the team on his back. He was the first offensive player to raise the IlliBuck trophy and he deserved to be after another excellent day for the junior running back.

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