Ohio State football: Charting the offense, Illinois

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Here is our weekly look at the snaps played by Buckeye skill position players while analyzing the ways in which they were utilized.

Quarterbacks Number of plays
Braxton Miller 69
Kenny Guiton 4

  • Although the wind was brutal, this was Braxton Miller's worst passing game of the season. His completion percentage was a season low 44.8 percent and overthrew receivers the majority of the game. Hope this was more of a weather issue considering his vast improvement the past few games.
  • The majority of his 13 completions were screen plays and I believe he only completed four or five passes down-field. Let's chalk it up to a bad game as Miller has been very good passing the ball all season.
  • One area where Miller has gotten better at as the year has gone on is the read option.
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  • On the third play of the game, Miller ran the read option with Carlos Hyde. Miller held the ball at the mesh point as long as possible before the defensive end totally committed to stopping Hyde.
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  • Right before Hyde was hit, Miller pulled the ball and used his elite speed and vision to split the Illini defenders for the 70- yard touchdown.
  • I have been critical in the past of Miller's decisions in the read option game as I have felt that he has been pre-determining a lot of his reads, dating back to last season. But for the past few games, a big reason for Hyde's success has been Miller's quick decision making and his ability to make the correct read.
Running Backs Number of plays
Carlos Hyde 67
Dontre Wilson 9
Ezekiel Elliott 3

  • Hyde was Mr. Consistent once again, rushing for a career high 246 yards and he adding five total touchdowns.
  • On his game sealing 51 yard touchdown run, Hyde showed a little bit of everything on the play. He showed his vision, his ability to break tackles and his breakaway speed.
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  • With the passing game struggling in the second half, the Buckeyes went to their double tight end formation more often than anytime this season. They decided to use their power run game out of the Pistol Formation to run the clock to end the game.
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  • Right guard Marcus Hall pulled around and blew up the defensive tackle who twisted around into the hole. The left side of the line blocked down on the play while the tight ends sealed off the outside. Hyde was 1-1 with the Illinois safety (#9) to beat.
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  • Hyde bounced it outside, stiff armed a cornerback and used his breakaway speed to outrun the Illini secondary.
  • Hyde lined up in the Pistol Formation a season high 18 times.
  • Dontre Wilson played six of his snaps in the slot and his other three snaps next to Miller. He was not used in jet motion like he was last week, which is not as surprising as one may think. The Buckeyes had the clear advantage between the tackles versus Illinois and used their power running game to bully the Illini front seven.
Wide Receivers Number of plays
Corey Brown 64
Devin Smith 62
Evan Spencer 50
Chris Fields 25

  • As usual, the receiving corps made key blocks the entire game on the perimeter to spring Hyde and Miller for long runs.
  • As noted beforehand, Miller constantly overthrew his receivers and really did not give them a chance to make plays throughout the afternoon, I fully expect Coach Tom Herman to dial up a lot of passing plays versus Indiana to get the passing game back on track.
  • It is safe to say that Evan Spencer was limited until the second half of the second quarter due to his comments to the media on Florida State and Alabama. Of the first 27 plays, Spencer only played eight of them; Chris Fields filled in for him.
  • The offense was not too creative this week with Wilson or Philly Brown. Brown primarily played in the slot and with the passing game struggling, the coaching staff focused on running the ball.
Tight Ends Number of plays
Jeff Heuerman 72
Nick Vannett 13

  • Eight out of the last 19 plays were run out of the double tight end formation. It looked something like this:
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  • When running double tights, Nick Vannett was on the line of scrimmage seven out of the 12 total times they ran a play out of that formation.
  • Coming off of his best game of the season, Jeff Heuerman was a non-factor in the passing game.
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