Rapid Reation: 2nd Half
We’ve all seen how much better the offense is with J.T. Barrett under center, but Ezekiel Elliot was by far the most important factor for this team’s big second half.
After only 47 rushing yards in the first half, Elliot exploded for 134 more in the 2nd half. The second drive of the half was exactly what this offense should look like. Elliot carried the ball eight times for 50 yards, ending with a 1-yard touchdown run. The drive showed the type of tempo and type of attack that really makes this team dangerous. This is the offensive approach that Buckeye fans saw in the postseason last year and has been largely absent this season. Perhaps with the two toughest opponents in the regular season left on the schedule, Urban Meyer will unleash the offense the way fans have been clamoring for all year.
The Illinois defense played a good game, but the mental mistakes and self-inflicted wounds held them back all afternoon. The Illini botched a 35-yard field goal after the snap was dropped and then fumbled again by the holder. That was the second “blocked” field goal on the day in addition to a blocked punt. On a 4th and 1 with the offense rolling, Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt hurried the play call and attempted a hand off to a running back who dropped in pass protection, leading to a turnover on downs deep in Ohio State territory. Even with Ohio State’s offense not operating efficiently, you cannot give J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliot multiple opportunities to score and hope to win.
We mentioned earlier that the run defense traveled this week and the performance by the Silver Bullets in the second half held true to that statement. Illinois averaged a miniscule 0.8 yards per rush on the day on 24 attempts. It’s this type of performance that is needed from the front seven against both Michigan schools in the weeks to come.
Next: About The Buckeyes