William’s accuracy may be the key to this weekend’s game.
For the second week in a row, the Buckeyes travel to Chicagoland and hopefully, we will see another performance like we did last weekend against Northwestern.
We all remember the long, slow, game-winning drive orchestrated by Illinois quarterback Juice Williams. The Illini decided that they weren’t going to give up the ball and they didn’t. And while our defense does pretty well at scoring touchdowns, it is pretty hard to win a game if the offense can’t make their way to the field.
After last season and the return of Williams, I thought the Illini would be a much bigger threat than they have proven so far this year. Last weekend had to be a low for Coach Zook as they lost to Western Michigan and find themselves at 5-5 struggling to become bowl eligible. Illinois can’t afford any more losses this season so I’m sure they will bring everything they can against the Buckeyes.
The question is, will this be enough.
Yes, Williams put up some impressive passing numbers last year completing four passes for touchdowns but it was the Illinois running game that was really frustrating. What was even more frustrating was that the Ohio State defense slipped into spectator mode and pretty much let the Illini convert on what seemed like third down after third down.
From what we saw last weekend, I don’t think Williams will get the same luxury. For the past few weeks, the Ohio State defense has looked more and more aggressive. If they can put the pressure on Williams and prevent the option, he will quickly go to his long pass. Illinois loves the big play and when they hit it it looks great. Problem is, Williams has thrown a total of 14 interceptions so far this year. With numbers like that, let him put it up.
The Ohio State secondary has proven themselves although this will be different than most teams we’ve seen this year. The key for the will be keeping up with the receivers when they go long. With turnover numbers like that though, Williams had better figure out how to put it on target.
One stat I don’t like so far this year is that the Illini have won every game they’ve played after a loss. In other words, they’ve gone win-loss-win-loss-and after last week’s loss, I guess it’s time to break the cycle.
There’s a 9.5 point spread on this game and don’t think the Buckeyes will have any trouble covering. Naturally the minute I say that… However, if Pryor continues to improve as he has every game this season, I can’t imagine what he’ll do after last week’s performance.