Defense led by Shazier helps seal 52-22 victory over Illini
By JASON BOSTIC
It was a game where the silver bullets, for the most part, played another lights out battle, not letting the Illinois offense score until 53 seconds remained in the third quarter.
Only allowing 170 yards of total offense, they made sure that the Buckeye offense had time to control the clock, rack up the points, and boost the stats.
“I see a lot of hard coaching going on and that’s what I expect out of our staff,” said Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer about the defensive efforts.
It wasn’t just the fans that noticed the performance of the Buckeyes defense, but the Big Ten in awarding their honors Monday morning. Doubtful at the beginning of the year as they appeared slow and unable to control the field, the last few weeks have been a complete 180 and they were recognized for the second week in a row.
The performance of sophomore Ryan Shazier, who racked up 14 tackles, including two for a loss to tie a career high in a single game earned him the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He has had five games with double digit tackles this season and set a new career best with 11 solo tackles.
This is the second consecutive week that Shazier has been honored by the conference, with him being the co-defensive player of the week last week. Heading into the final two games of the season, he is two tackles shy of becoming the first sophomore since James Laurinaitis in 2006 to top 100 tackles in a season. Shazier is currently ranked third in the Big Ten and 23rd nationally.