Created on Thursday, 14 November 2013 Written by The Associated Press
No. 3 Ohio State (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) at Illinois (3-6, 0-5), noon (ESPN)
Line: Ohio State by 32 1/2.
Series Record: Ohio State leads, 65-30-4.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The Illini have derailed Ohio State's quest for an undefeated season before. The Buckeyes were 10-0 and ranked No. 1 before Illinois knocked them off 28-21 in 2007. Of course, that Illinois team went on to the Rose Bowl. This one is riding a 19-game Big Ten losing streak that dates to October 2011.
Braxton Miller vs. the Illini defense. Good offenses score in bunches on the Illini — Wisconsin had 56 points and Indiana put up 52 — and Miller leads the top-scoring offense in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes are averaging 48.2 points a game and their quarterback is a big reason why. He's completing 72.5 percent of his passes, and he's thrown for 15 touchdowns against just three interceptions. The elusive Miller is also rushing for 58.2 yards a game.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Ohio State: LB Ryan Shazier. He leads the Buckeyes with 73 tackles and has four of the team's 26 sacks. Shazier also has 11 tackles for losses, tied for second in the conference.
Illinois: QB Nathan Scheelhaase. The fifth-year senior has found new life in offensive coordinator Bill Cubit's offense, if not the wins to go with that success. He leads the Big Ten in passing with 268.9 yards a game and has 15 touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
FACTS & FIGURES
Illinois starting LT Simon Cvijanovic will miss the game with a left-ankle sprain. ... Ohio State has avenged that 2007 loss to the Illini, beating them in each of the last five meetings. ... Ohio State has won its last two games, over Penn State and Purdue, by an average score of 59.5-7. ... Illinois' Steve Hull moved to receiver this season after spending three years at safety, and last weekend at Indiana the switch paid off. He had the second-best receiving-yardage day in school history with 224 yards on nine catches, including two touchdowns. ... Ohio State coach Urban Meyer spent a couple of seasons in the late 1980s working just up the road from Champaign, as a graduate assistant at Illinois State in Normal.