Illinois Fighting Illini (4-4) at Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1)
|Date & Time||Saturday November 1, 2014, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Ohio State Buckeyes -27.5 -- Over/Under:
The Illinois Fighting Illini make the trip to Ohio Stadium to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are coming off an upset win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers and actually showed signs of life defensively. Overall, Illinois is allowing 34.4 points, 475.4 yards, and has forced 10 turnovers and 16 sacks. The Illinois Fighting Illini have won five of their last six games when allowing 25 or less points. Mason Monheim leads Illinois with 72 tackles and Earnest Thomas III has 8.5 tackles for loss. Offensively, Reilly O'Toole is completing 57.7 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and four interceptions. In his last two games, O’Toole has four total touchdowns and zero picks. Illinois has produced 23 passing plays of 25 or more yards, and Mike Dudek and Geronimo Allison have topped 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. The Illinois ground game is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry, but running back Josh Ferguson has 518 yards on 102 touches and has scored at least once in four of his last five games.
The Ohio State Buckeyes needed some help from the refs and double-overtime to beat the Penn State Nittany Lions, but they remain undefeated in conference play. The difference from Ohio State is its offense, as QB J.T. Barrett is completing 65 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Barrett has also rushed for five scores in his last three games and has 458 rushing yards on the season. However, Barrett is questionable with a knee injury. Ohio State has 18 passing plays of 25 or more yards, and Michael Thomas and Devin Smith have combined for 10 touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott leads Ohio State with 640 rushing yards and he’s scored in three of his last four games. Ohio State has won 28 straight regular season games when scoring at least 28 points. Defensively, the Ohio State Buckeyes are allowing 20.7 points, 308.1 yards, and they’ve forced 16 turnovers and 21 sacks. Joshua Perry leads Ohio State with 63 tackles and Joey Bosa has 11.5 tackles for loss.
The Fighting Illini are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 road games and 6-15 ATS in their last 21 conference games. The Buckeyes are 53-26-2 ATS in their last 81 conference games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The home team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
If both teams played the way they did last week, I'm confident Illinois can cover this number. Ohio State should have two losses right now but were spotted 10 points by the refs early in the first half against Penn State. O'Toole seems to be getting in his groove a bit and the Fighting Illini played decent defense last week. Give me the truckload of points against an overrated Buckeyes squad.