Jody Victor®: No. 2/2 Ohio State at Illinois

Jody Victor: This week Ohio State will open Big Ten play on the road for the first time since the 2004 season. The Buckeyes (4-0, 0-0) play Illinois (2-1, 0-0) this Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010 at 11am/Noon ET in Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Ill. In the meantime, here are some facts and stats from osu.edu.

* The Buckeyes begin their 98th season of Big Ten play in the matchup with the Illini

* OSU is second in the nation in turnover margin (+2.50), forcing 13 and committing just three

* After setting an OSU record with 16 consecutive completions in the win over Ohio (second most in Big Ten history), Terrelle Pryor threw for four touchdowns, rushed for one and caught a TD pass in the win over Eastern Michigan

* Coach Jim Tressel (233 wins) is the second-winningest active FBS coach behind Penn State's Joe Paterno (397)

* The Buckeyes are 61-32-5 all-time in Big Ten road openers, 6-3 under Tressel

* Ohio State is one of only three FBS teams to record at least 10 winds in each of the past five season (Virginia Tech, Texas)

* OSU is 25-27 (.926) in the red zone this season

* Ohio State has won 56 straight regular-season non-conference games vs. unranked teams

* Terrelle Pryor has five career games with 300 yards total offense. The OSU record is six

* Terrelle Pryor, who scored touchdowns rushing and receiving and also threw four touchdown passes in No. 2 Ohio States 73-20 win over Eastern Michigan Saturday,m is the Big Ten Conference offensive player of the week.

Illinois is 2-1 on the season after opening the season with a 23-13 loss to rival Missouri in St. Louis before winning its last two games, 35-3 over Southern Illinois and a 28-22 win over Northern Illinois. The Illini had a bye last week.

Illinois is averaging 229.0 yards per game on the ground this season, good for 18th in the NCAA. They are led on the ground by junior running back Mikel Leshoure (58 att., 398 yards), who is second the Big Ten with 132.7 yards per game, and freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (40 att., 204 yards). Scheelhaase has started all three games under center with a 117.2 passer rating. He is 31-of-57 for 380 yards with three touchdowns and three INTs. Junior receiver A.J. Jenkins leads the team with 12 catches for 190 yards and two scores.

Head coach Ron Zook is in his sixth season in Champaign with a record of 24-41 and his ninth overall (46-54) as a head coach. Prior to Illinois Zook spent three seasons at Florida from 2002-04 where he went 23-14. Zook was named the 2007 National and Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading the Illini to the 2008 Rose Bowl.

Ohio State and Illinois will be meeting for the 97th time since the series was inaugurated in 1902. Until the series was interrupted in 2003, the two teams had played every year from 1914 to 2002.

Ohio State leads the series 62-30-4 and has a 33-12 advantage in Champaign. Between 1968 and 1982, the Buckeyes put together a 15-game winning streak against the Illini, the longest streak in the series by either team. Illinois won five in a row between 1988 and 1992.

Illibuck is a wooden replica of a turtle presented to the winner of the Ohio State-Illinois football game. The tradition began with a live turtle in 1925. Illibuck is the second oldest trophy exchanged in the Big Ten, behind the Little Brown Jug between Minnesota and Michigan.

Since joining the Big Ten Conference in 1913, Ohio State is 61-32-5 in conference road openers. Ohio State is 198-78-10 (.709) all-time in Big Ten road games.

Go Bucks!!!

Jody Victor