(AP) Boom Herron, who hadn’t played since the Sugar Bowl in January because of NCAA suspensions, ran for 114 yards and a touchdown in his return Saturday to lead Ohio State past No. 16 Illinois, 17-7. With true freshman Braxton Miller at quarterback, the struggling offense of Ohio State (4-3, 2-1 Big Ten) counted on Herron against Illinois (6-1, 2-1). The Buckeyes didn’t complete a pass until Miller hit Jake Stoneburner for a fourth-quarter touchdown and a 17-0 lead. The Buckeyes’ defense forced three turnovers and turned two of them into their only touchdowns. Herron’s 12-yard touchdown run followed an interception by Bradley Roby and put Ohio State up 10-0 in the third quarter. Read the full AP recap, see the box score and check out our Big Ten scoreboard.
Check out our quarter-by-quarter recap, powered by Narrative Science:
FINAL: No. 14 Illinois tried valiantly, but couldn’t climb out of a 17-point hole against Ohio State, and ended up on the losing end of a 17-7 final on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Ohio State’s (4-3) defense was stifling as it shut down the Buckeyes’ offensive attack. Ohio State’s defense allowed just 272 total yards as it frustrated Illinois’ (6-1) offense. Dan Herron carried the offensive load for the Buckeyes, piling up 113 rushing yards and one touchdown on 23 attempts. Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 158 yards while going 19-34 for the Fighting Illini. He threw one touchdown and two interceptions. Scheelhaase also ran for 49 yards on 16 attempts. A.J. Jenkins was the player Scheelhaase targeted most often. He hauled in eight catches for 80 yards. Ohio State’s Braxton Miller passed for 17 yards, completing one of four throws. He tossed one touchdown and no interceptions. Miller was also a threat on the ground, as he rushed for 33 yards on 13 attempts. The Buckeyes’ offense finished the game having gained 224 yards. In addition to Miller’s efforts through the air, Ohio State also rushed 50 times for 207 yards.
FOURTH QUARTER: Jake Stoneburner led Ohio State in the quarter. He caught a 17-yard touchdown pass and the Buckeyes kept the game out of reach for a 17-7 victory over Illinois. Ohio State opened up the lead, 17-0, after Braxton Miller threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Stoneburner to end a three-play, 22-yard drive. The Fighting Illini closed the gap to 17-7 when Nathan Scheelhaase found Evan Wilson open for a three-yard touchdown pass to cap off an 80-yard drive.
THIRD QUARTER: Ohio State gained 74 yards on the ground in the third, and the Buckeyes now lead 10-0. Ohio State sniffed out Illinois’ rushing attack in the quarter, holding the Fighting Illini to 11 rush yards. The Buckeyes added to their advantage when Dan Herron turned a handoff into a 12-yard touchdown, the final play on a one-play, 12-yard drive to give Ohio State the lead, 10-0. The Buckeyes began the drive with good field position after Bradley Roby intercepted a Nathan Scheelhaase pass. Ohio State’s Herron hit 100 yards rushing for the game in the quarter, part of his 106-yard rushing performance thus far. Illinois will start the fourth quarter with possession on its own 22-yard line.
SECOND QUARTER: There were more punts than points in the second quarter and the margin is still three, as Ohio State leads 3-0. Both teams saw their defenses make stands, forcing five punts in the quarter. The Buckeyes held Illinois to just nine rushing yards in the quarter. The Fighting Illini are set to receive to start the second half.
FIRST QUARTER: The first quarter was so slow, the teams combined for more punts than points, and Ohio State leads 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. With neither team able to move the ball, there were four punts in the quarter. The Buckeyes got on the scoreboard first, rattling off a 10-play, 45-yard drive that ended in a score when Drew Basil kicked a 43-yard field goal. Ohio State had no play longer than nine yards on the drive. The Buckeyes didn’t throw a single time during that march downfield. No. 14 Illinois has possession at its own 37-yard line to start the second quarter.
Illinois win over Arizona State is Big10 best non-conf result (altho UM over ND may prove bigger). So, again, Zook deserves credit—
Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) October 15, 2011
Final passing yards today: Wisconsin RB Montee Ball: 25, Ohio St: 17.—
Andrew Gruman (@AndrewGruman) October 15, 2011
Ohio State looks like it's about to knock off a 6-0 team with a quarterback that is 1 of 4.—
Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 15, 2011
Turns out the most difficult name for lou holtz to pronounce is nathan scheelhaase. Nathan's heelhouse—
Joe K (@Hailtotheorange) October 15, 2011
Whitny Mercilus drops Ohio State QB. Braxton Miller The man with 9-1/2 fingers now has 9-1/2 sacks.—
Herb Gould (@HerbGould) October 15, 2011