Game Data: Illinois at Ohio State

Here is a look at the pertinent data, depth charts and a prediction for Saturday's game between Illinois and Ohio State at Ohio Stadium (3:30 p.m., ESPN).

Game Data: Illinois at Ohio State

* Date, Time: Sat., Nov. 5, 3:30 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Ohio Stadium

* TV: ESPN (national; announcers, Eric Collins, Andre Ware, Heather Mitts).

* 2005 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 6-2 overall, 4-1 Big Ten, ranked 12th in Associated Press poll and USA Today coaches poll; Illinois, 2-6 overall, 0-5 Big Ten.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (fifth year at OSU, 46-13; 20th year overall, 181-70-2; vs. Illinois, 1-1); Illinois, Ron Zook (first year at Illinois, 2-6; fourth year overall, 25-20; vs. OSU, first meeting).

* Series History: Ohio State leads the all-time series 58-29-4, including 25-17-4 in Columbus. This game ends a two-year hiatus in the series. OSU won the last meeting, 23-16 in overtime, in 2002 in Champaign. But Illinois has won six of its last eight visits to Columbus, including 34-22 in 2001.

* Illinois Schedule: Sept. 3, Rutgers, W 33-30 (OT); Sept. 10, San Jose State, W 40-19; Sept. 17, at California, L 35-20; Sept. 24, Michigan State, L 61-14; Oct. 1, at Iowa, L 35-7; Oct. 8, at Indiana, L 36-13; Oct. 22, Penn State, L 63-10; Oct. 29, Wisconsin, L 41-24; Nov. 5, at Ohio State; Nov. 12, at Purdue; Nov. 19, Northwestern.

* Illinois Key Players (2005 Stats): QB Tim Brasic (160 of 261 passing, 1,597 yards, 9 TDs, 8 INTs; 108 carries, 358 yards, 3 TDs), RB Pierre Thomas (89 carries, 471 yards, 4 TDs), WR E.B. Halsey (32 catches, 171 yards, 2 TDs), WR Kyle Hudson (26 catches, 373 yards, 1 TD), SS Kevin Mitchell (53 tackles, 2-1/2 TFLs), LB Remond Willis (46 tackles, 6-1/2 TFLs), DT Chris Norwell (28 tackles, 5-1/2 TFLs, 2 sacks).

* Illinois Fast Facts: Location: Champaign, Ill.; Enrollment, 38,000; Nickname, Fighting Illini; Colors, Orange and Blue; Stadium, Memorial Stadium (surface, Astro Play; capacity, 69,249).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 4 Santonio Holmes, 5-11, 190, Jr.

8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 240, Jr.

LT 50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

75 Alex Boone, 6-8, 315, Fr.

LG 77 Rob Sims, 6-4, 310, Sr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Sr.

C 55 Nick Mangold, 6-4, 290, Sr.

50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

RG 72 T.J. Downing, 6-5, 305, Jr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Sr.

RT 75 Alex Boone, 6-8, 315, Fr.

or 74 Kirk Barton, 6-7, 325, So.

TE 81 Marcel Frost, 6-5, 255, So.

80 Ryan Hamby, 6-5, 255, Sr.

FL 7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 175, So.

5 Albert Dukes, 6-1, 190, R-Fr.

QB 10 Troy Smith, 6-1, 215, Jr.

12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, Jr.

TB 25 Antonio Pittman, 5-11, 195, So.

34 Maurice Wells, 5-10, 185, Fr.

FB 89 Stan White Jr., 6-3, 242, Jr.

49 Dionte Johnson, 6-0, 250, So.

SL 11 Anthony Gonzalez, 6-0, 195, So.

85 Brian Robiskie, 6-3, 190, Fr.

K 23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

85 Ryan Pretorius, 5-10, 190, R-Fr.

Ohio State Defense

DE 97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Jr.

99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 276, Jr.

DT 94 Marcus Green, 6-3, 290, Sr.

97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Jr.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, Jr.

98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 290, Jr.

DE 57 Mike Kudla, 6-3, 265, Sr.

50 Vernon Gholston, 6-4, 260, So.

SLB 42 Bobby Carpenter, 6-3, 255, Sr.

33 James Laurinaitis, 6-3, 231, Fr.

MLB 51 Anthony Schlegel, 6-1, 251, Sr.

5 Mike D'Andrea, 6-3, 248, Jr.

WLB 47 A.J. Hawk, 6-1, 240, Sr.

52 John Kerr, 6-1, 246, Jr.

CB 26 Ashton Youboty, 6-1, 188, Jr.

2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

FS 21 Nate Salley, 6-3, 220, Sr.

32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Jr.

SS 9 Donte Whitner, 5-11, 205, Jr.

3 Jamario O'Neal, 6-1, 180, Fr.

CB 2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

6 Tyler Everett, 5-11, 202, Sr.

NB 32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Jr.

34 Rob Harley, 6-2, 202, Sr.

P 15 A.J. Trapasso, 6-1, 220, R-Fr.

LS 68 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, Jr.

Illinois Offense

WR 84 Kendrick Jones, 6-2, 190, Sr.

82 Frank Lenti, 6-2, 185, So.

TE 88 Melvin Bryant, 6-5, 230, Jr.

81 Will Davis, 6-3, 235, Fr.

LT 57 J.J. Simmons, 6-5, 290, Jr.

73 Andrew Burk, 6-5, 275, Jr.

LG 64 Martin O'Donnell, 6-5, 300, So.

69 Ben Amundsen, 6-5, 310, So.

C 67 Matt Maddox, 6-3, 310, Jr.

72 Kyle Schnettgoecke, 6-3, 290, Sr.

RG 79 James Ryan, 6-5, 310, So.

68 Jim LaBonte, 6-7, 305, So.

RT 60 Ryan McDonald, 6-5, 285, R-Fr.

76 Charles Myles, 6-6, 320, So.

QB 15 Tim Brasic, 6-2, 200, Jr.

16 Chris Pazan, 6-1, 205, Jr.

TB 26 E.B. Halsey, 5-10, 200, Jr.

and 30 Pierre Thomas, 5-11, 200, Jr.

FB 34 Jason Davis, 5-11, 235, Sr.

41 Russ Weil, 6-0, 235, So.

WR 8 DaJuan Warren, 6-2, 200, So.

4 Derrick McPhearson, 6-0, 195, Fr.

WR 21 Kyle Hudson, 5-11, 165, Fr.

80 Franklin Payne, 5-11, 195, Jr.

K 13 Jason Reda, 6-1, 195, So.

Illinois Defense

DE 91 Derek Walker, 6-4, 245, R-Fr.

90 Scott Moss, 6-2, 270, Sr.

DT 96 Chris Norwell, 6-6, 290, So.

85 David Lindquist, 6-3, 270, R-Fr.

DT 97 Ryan Matha, 6-3, 300, Sr.

65 Josh Norris, 5-11, 265, Jr.

DE 92 Arthur Boyd, 6-2, 260, Jr.

56 Sirod Williams, 6-0, 225, Fr.

LB 43 Sam Carson, 6-1, 230, R-Fr.

51 Anthony Thornhill, 6-1, 215, So.

LB 48 Remond Willis, 6-1, 220, R-Fr.

44 Brit Miller, 6-1, 230, Fr.

LB 47 J Leman, 6-2, 235, So.

35 Brian Grzelakowski, 5-11, 215, So.

CB 24 Charles Bailey, 6-1, 195, So.

25 James Cooper, 5-10, 195, Sr.

SS 42 Kevin Mitchell, 6-0, 190, So.

10 Kyle Kleckner, 6-0, 195, Sr.

FS 32 Justin Harrison, 5-11, 215, So.

or 20 Morris Virgil, 5-10, 195, Sr.

CB 22 Shariff Abdullah, 5-8, 170, Jr.

18 Alan Ball, 6-1, 175, Jr.

P 37 Steve Weatherford, 6-3, 215, Sr.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: OSU has accumulated 386 yards total offense in all four of its Big Ten wins. Last week, the Buckeyes had better than 40 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2002. This week, OSU will go for three 40-point games in a row for the first time since 1995.

And there is almost no way the Buckeyes won't get it. The offense is starting to come into its own. Troy Smith is majoring in ball distribution these days and OSU simply has too many weapons for a defense as poor as Illinois' to try and contain. Ron Zook is Mr. Defense and, one day, we think the Illini will rise again. But their track record this season is beyond woeful. The Illini have allowed an average of 47.2 points in their five Big Ten games.

I would look for a lot of Antonio Pittman early as OSU tries to continue his momentum. Smith will also get ample opportunities to make plays with the passing game. And it would be great to see the backups – all of them – get a chance to play from the middle of the third quarter on.

* When Illinois Has The Ball: Tim Brasic is a nice run/pass threat at quarterback. OSU had 12 sacks against Michigan State, but then had just three against Indiana and none last week against Minnesota. With Northwestern's Brett Basanez and Michigan's Chad Henne on the dance card in the next couple of weeks, OSU needs to get back to affecting quarterbacks.

The defense is still licking its wounds from last week's 578-yard lashing at Minnesota. I would think they will take out some of their frustrations on the Illini, who have surrendered 23 sacks and 13 turnovers in eight games this year.

* How It Will Go: Well, when you think that Illinois has won six of the last eight times it has been to Ohio Stadium – including the last two visits – you don't have a problem getting up to see the Buckeyes extend the Fighting Illini's misery for 2005.

Plus, it is still a Big Ten game and the next-to-last home game for so many OSU seniors. They aren't interested in backing off the throttle just yet.

My guess is Ohio State will jump on Illinois early and often. It may not be a commanding halftime lead, but it will be by the end of the third quarter and, as we outlined above, people you've never heard of could be in the game by the very end.

This is November and it's time to play championship caliber football – whether the opponent is ready for that or not. I've got it: Ohio State 52-14

* For The Record: I am 6-2 straight-up and 4-4 against-the-spread with Ohio State. (As of Tuesday, OSU was listed as a 35-point favorite.)

On this week's Bucknuts Radio Hour, Jerry Rudzinski predicted OSU 44-7, Kirk Larrabee said OSU 49-10 and Mr. Bucknuts went OSU 47-10.

-- Steve Helwagen


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