Chalk Talk's Game Plan: Illinois Review

BuckeyeSports.com poster The Coach returns with his postgame analysis of how Illinois pulled off the upset with "Chalk Talk's Game Plan." The Coach takes a in-depth look at the problems Ohio State had on defense, offense and special teams during the 28-21 loss.

THREE DOWNS TO VICTORY – DEFENSE

1. Stop the Illinois Zone Running Game

The Buckeyes stopped part one of Illini zone running game in Rashard Mendenhall, but part two was the issue. The Buckeyes were very undisciplined at times in trying to stop Juice Williams. That happened too much in the game. The good news for the Buckeyes is this – Michigan only has part one in the zone running game.

2. Stop the Illini Running Game

This was not fun to watch. The Illini were able to pound the Buckeyes. OSU needs better play up front. The Illini made the second half into a three-possession game. That is a great way to pull an upset. The Buckeyes looked as if they were so keyed into Mendenhall that they forgot the other facets of a very dangerous Illinois running attack. I take my hat off to the wonderful job by the Illini offense in this area. They went to their second and third options and were very good. They capitalized on OSU's undisciplined play.

3. Make Williams Beat You With His Arm

Williams got to pass when the Illini wanted him to pass. Ohio State was never were able to force the issue. The Buckeyes also had too many busted coverages due to not being able to stop the run – too many guys running up to the play the run leaving Williams with easy throws. As stated above, with zone running game many times OSU had defenders blow their assignment on Williams, which allowed him to get his legs going.

THREE DOWNS TO VICTORY – OFFENSE

1. Attack the Illini Secondary

Jim Tressel and company went after the Illinois secondary right off the bat and it set up a great first drive. The Illini were so concerned with the Buckeye passing game it opened up some holes for the running game. It also created some space for Todd Boeckman to do some damage with his legs.

2. Protect The Ball

Three interceptions. Ohio State had three possessions in the second half. Two ended in interceptions. Neither were good decisions. I will be very interested to see how Boeckman bounces back this week. He must take care of the football.

3. Score Early and Often

The Buckeyes had a chance to go up 14 points in the first quarter, which would have been huge. They had good field position, but the drive ended with an interception that gave the Illini great field position. Ohio State also missed a golden opportunity to regain the lead in the second quarter, but missed Jake Ballard for what would have been a large gain or touchdown.

SPECIAL TEAMS

They were not special at all. The Buckeyes were not able to get anything going in the return game. They also had personnel issues on the fourth-and-inches, which led to the timeout. The issues were with the return men and the two secondary people that were to come out of the game. All teams make this change even when the defense is left on the field. Two secondary people come out and two returners come in. This is when I noted the team was rattled. That was a change they had been doing all season.


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