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Saturday, November 15, 2008
1Q update: Ohio State 9, Illinois 7

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- If Illinois could get the ball out of its own end, it might able to hang around in this game.

Two critical mistakes have led to both Ohio State scores, and Illinois' struggles on special teams have given the Buckeyes a chance to add on.

Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins continued his stellar season, blocking an Anthony Santella punt through the end zone for a safety. It marked Jenkins' second blocked punt of the season -- the other resulted in a Buckeyes touchdown against Purdue -- and changed the complexion of what had been a pretty even game.

Illinois has actually run the ball well against the Big Ten's No. 2 rush defense, racking up 97 yards in the first quarter. Freshman Jason Ford and junior Daniel Dufrene gashed Ohio State during an impressive 82-yard touchdown drive. But Juice Williams' fumble on Illinois' second possession set up an Ohio State touchdown, and the Buckeyes are driving again following a poor free kick by the Illini. Terrelle Pryor and Chris "Beanie" Wells will be able to run on this defense.

The Buckeyes are doing what they do best, converting opponents' mistakes into points. Illinois has come out energized, as it usually does against Ohio State, but it can't afford many more mistakes.