Jody Victor®: Ohio State at No. 16/15 Illinois

Jody Victor: This week's game is Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011 at 2:30/3:30 p.m. ET, in Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois. Here's some great Buckeye football news from osu.edu  and OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

The Broadcasts
Television: ABC will televise the game with Bob Wischusen, Bob Davey and Heather Cox (sideline) on the call.

Radio: WBNS (FM 97.1 The Fan) is the flagship station for the 73-station Ohio State radio network. The Luke Fickell pregame show airs 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Paul Keels will call the play-by-play with former Buckeye Jim Lachey in the booth and Marty Bannister on the sidelines. The game can also be heard live on Sirius-XM satellite radio.

First and 10

·  Ohio State is 0-2 in the Big Ten for just the second time since 1993.

·  Ohio State lost back-to-back games for the first time in 88 games (2004), snapping the nation's longest streak without consecutive losses.

·  The Buckeyes rank sixth in the NCAA with 27.4 yards per kickoff return.

·  Ohio State is tied for 17th nationally in fewest points allowed at 17.8 ppg.

·  Freshman QB Braxton Miller racked up 186 yards of total offense in his third career start at Nebraska in two and a half quarters of play.

·  Sophomore RB Carlos Hyde recorded the first 100-yard rushing game of his career and the first for the Buckeyes this season with 104 yards and two TDs at Nebraska.

·  In his first game back from injury, WR Corey Brown caught three passes for 61 yards.

·  No. 16/15 Illinois is the third of four straight ranked opponents for the Buckeyes in October.

·  Kicker Drew Basil has connected on seven consecutive field goal attempts.

·  Senior LB Andrew Sweat  leads the Buckeyes with 43 tackles.

 

About the Illini
At 6-0, The Fighting Illini are off to their best start under head coach Ron Zook and their best since 1951 when the Illini started the season 7-0. Illinois has now won seven in a row dating back to its Texas Bowl victory to end 2010.

Offensively, Illinois is led by quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase who is fifth nationally and second in the Big Ten in passer efficiency (175.83).

Biletnikoff Award candidate A.J. Jenkins is fifth in the nation with 135.8 yards receiving per game. He caught six passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns Saturday at IU, marking his fourth 100-yard receiving game this season and the seventh of his career. Jenkins has 450 yards over the past two games, the most by an Illinois receiver in consecutive games.

Defensively, Illinois ranks first in the Big Ten and sixth nationally in sacks with 3.67 per game, with Whitney Mercilus second in the NCAA with 1.42 sacks per game. Tavon Wilson was named the Big Ten defensive player of the week after Saturday's win over Indiana. Wilson returned a fumble 66 yards for a touchdown to give the Illini a lead they would not relinquish in the 21-point win. Wilson also recorded a team-high 11 tackles, including nine solos, a career-high 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one pass break-up in the game.

Head coach Ron Zook is in his seventh season in Champaign with a record of 34-45 and his 10th overall (57-59) as a head coach. Prior to Illinois Zook spent three seasons at the University of 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.

Series History
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.

Ohio State has won five of the last six meetings, but Illinois was a 28-21 winner in 2007 in Columbus. (Note: the 2010 season was vacated by The Ohio State University)

Illibuck Trophy
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.

Not Since 2004
This week against unbeaten Illinois Ohio State will seek to stop a two-game Big Ten losing streak. The Buckeyes have not lost three games consecutively nor started 0-3 in the Big Ten since 2004. Both occurred concurrently. Ohio State finished 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten (T4th) that season.

Go Bucks!!!

Jody Victor