1) Carlos Hyde, RB: The one position that the Fighting Illini have struggled against the most in the last five games is the running back. Since the game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Illinois has given up over 100 yards rushing in every game, and has given up over 200 yards rushing in three of them. This week, Illinois will have the challenge of stopping OSU running back Carlos Hyde. Hyde is the Buckeyes’ leading rusher and has ran for over 100 yards in four straight games. If Hyde continues this trend, it will definitely be a long day for the Illini defense.
2) Braxton Miller, QB: Not only will the Illini defense need to worry about Carlos Hyde, but they will also need to worry about OSU quarterback Braxton Miller. So far in 2013, Miller has throw for 1,316 yards, fifteen touchdowns, and three interceptions. Miller missed two games back in September and has throw for over 200 yards in four of the past five games since his return. If that doesn’t scare Illini fans, maybe the fact that Miller has thrown seven touchdowns in OSU’s past two games will. Four of those TD’s came in the team’s last victory over the Purdue Boilermakers.
3) Bradley Roby, DB: All offseason, we preached that the Bill Cubit offensive system would limit the amount of Illinois turnovers this season and that seemed to be true to begin the season. However, in the past three games, Nathan Scheelhaase has thrown four interceptions (two against PSU). Entering this weekend, Scheelhaase will need to watch for two dangerous defensive backs for OSU, but the most dangerous might be Bradley Roby. So far this season, Roby has deflected ten passes, broken up eight passes, and intercepted two passes. Also, Roby has the tools to bust off huge returns after interceptions. He has 57 return yards on his two interceptions which includes a 42 yard return against Florida A&M.
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