You probably remember the last time the Illini won on the road in Columbus well. Juice Williams led the troops into hostile territory and beat the number one team in the nation en route to the Rose Bowl in 2007. Seven years later, Ohio State has won every matchup between the two teams since, and they're not looking to take their foot off the pedal. The Buckeyes beat Penn State on the road in overtime last weekend to move to 3-0 in the conference play, but also suffered a minor setback; starting QB, J.T. Barrett, suffered an MCL sprain and was limited in practice all week. And although he will play against the Illini, his mobility may be limited. Is this just what the underdogs from Champaign needed to try and spring the road upset? Our staff writers weigh in on who they think will win this weekend.
Jim Vainisi --- Ohio State 41, Illinois 21
Not much to be said here.
Mark Primiano --- Ohio State 49, Illinois 24
The rare times our defense has looked good this season is when they're able to sellout against the run and force opponents with mediocre-to-bad QBs to beat them through the air. Ohio State is not one of those teams. Illinois covers in garbage time, though.
Aaron Rench --- Ohio State 48, Illinois 27
Hope is a dangerous thing. Applied too greatly, it can devastate when things go wrong. How I would have left the game had Minnesota returned the final punt is depressing in concept. A fear of hope now looms over this blog -- no one predicts an Illini victory (except Brad, cause he's weird). We steel ourselves for Saturday's action and wait to move on to the next. This is a loss, there's no need to fight it.
Colin Whitchurch --- Ohio State 55, Illinois 34
I think the Illini actually hang around for the first half in this one. But in the second half, the Buckeyes realize they can score pretty much anytime they want. But still, Illinois will cover!
Bryce Smith --- Ohio State 34, Illinois 20
The defense will show that they have improved, but Ohio State's offense will be too much. Reilly O'Toole and the offense might be able to keep it close, but I don't see us winning. It would take Ohio State shooting themselves in the foot a lot for a win. I'm looking for the defense to keep showing signs, and the offense to continue its pace but they're playing Ohio State this week, not Minnesota, so it's a loss.
Brad Repplinger --- Illinois 27, Ohio State 24
Ohio State will get tricked and the Illini will get treated when V'Angelo Bentley returns a missed FG for a touchdown, and David Reisner connects on a field goal late. J.T. Barrett will get a little over a minute to work one last drive, but he'll put the ball on the turf and the Illini will win. The forecast when that happens: Kams will run out of beer.
Trevor Vallese --- Ohio State 41, Illinois 24
I'm loving the flashbacks to 2007 that have been circulating recently, and the uniform combination will be the same as it was back on that date when the two teams meet up this weekend. Unfortunately, I don't see the result being the same. Yes, J.T. Barrett may be banged up and yes, this may be a "trap game" for the Buckeyes as they look forward to Michigan State next weekend, but they have simply too much talent to lose at home to the Illini. Reilly O'Toole and company will give 'em a scare in the first half (it is Halloween after all), but Ohio State will ultimately pull away in the second half.
BONUS PREDICTION: In a stunning turn of events and in the spirit of Halloween, Red Grange actually materializes on the field and eludes tackle after tackle to provide Illinois with a three-touchdown lead in the first quarter. Urban Meyer will look like he's seen a ghost.
Matt Silich's prediction can always be found in his excellent weekly game preview (seriously, check it out). Be sure to drop by below to tell us what you think is going to happen against Ohio State!