The Buckeyes cruised in the second half, even allowing Braxton to take a breather in the 4th quarter. Before that he did plenty of damage, throwing for 226 yards and rushing for 73 more with three total touchdowns. Carlos Hyde amassed 137 yards and three scores himself, on an afternoon that saw the offense accumulate 570 total yards. Still, the best stat of the game had to be Illinois' total yardage. Tim Beckman's crew was only able to muster up 170 yards, something that the score doesn't indicate.
This team is quickly growing up before our eyes and learning to do things the right way. 10-0 feels great, and the Buckeyes have a bye week before facing Wisconsin and Michigan.
Meyer's post game comments can be found after the break (via OhioStateBuckeyes.com).
COACH MEYER: Thanks for being here. Very proud. We have a lot of respect for the personnel of the team we just played, especially on defense. There's a couple of guys that have received some recognition, well deserved.
However, I thought after a slow start the offense and defensive lines took over the game. If you do that without turning the ball over, usually you'll win. We still have some weaknesses.
We worked so hard at trying to develop a passing game, and I can't say that we did it successfully, however.
Still a work in progress. We'll still working and grinding and pushing because at some point we have to be a balanced team. We're not there yet.
We've got a bye week coming up. For the guys that played a lot, I'm going to give them Sunday. They have to come in just get treatments. Monday is a lifting opportunity for them. And then we will practice Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of this week.
And I told them, explained to them, the bye weeks, there's no rights around here; that's earned time.
If we didn't play well we would have been in tomorrow working, and going all week like a normal work week. But those guys earned it. I'm proud of them. And two big ones left.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Troy Smith told me today he thinks Braxton could be the best quarterback ever here if he continues to work. Does he still show you things, the escapability, the 50 yard throw across the field, that he's progressing?
COACH MEYER: The area we're not efficient enough is the dropback pass, and we have to while he's not a dropback passer, you have to be. It's not acceptable. And the guys around him, we have to continue to get better.
The offense, I'm really disappointed in that. The play action game is pretty solid. That's what you see. Those plays those aren't dropback passes. The dropback passes are the third downs and on the first down you have to be able to take the pressure off some of the other areas of the team when you just drop back and be able to throw some quick game. And we're just not there yet.
But those are strong statements. He's a sophomore in college, and we're still trying to figure it out, and he's trying to figure it out. But I love his effort and he played well.
Q. What did you like most about what you saw today, and what troubled you?
COACH MEYER: I can start with a negative, and that was the way we started. The fact that our kickoff cover team went a couple out today. And silly penalties on defense by one guy in particular that I'm going to evaluate that. We're going to have a chat. Because you lose a game in a tight situation if you do that.
And it's not acceptable. What I liked best about it is when you control the line of scrimmage. And we're a very are you kidding me? That offensive line, I keep talking about them. They ran for, I think, 330 yards.
And just where they've come from. Think about if it's almost overwhelming if you think where they were first week of spring practice to where they are now.
I'm talking where they were in January, December when four of them missed my team meeting. Then they missed again. And we had to do a little 5:00 a.m. for a week because of them.
That was because of the whole black week or whatever they call it, the black Wednesday or I guess that was at Bowling Green. But the week when we had them out in 10 degree weather trying to make a decision either quit or stay.
That was because of the offensive line. And to see where they're at now, they got called out in front of their group, those are good guys. Those first five guys are really good guys.
Q. There's a good chance you guys could be in the top 5 tomorrow at this time. Does this feel like a top 5 team? Do you feel like you've had some experience with highly ranked teams.
COACH MEYER: I think so. Today's performance was a top 5. You'd like to end it a little better instead of a fumble return for a touchdown.
But in certain areas, though, but when you can control the line of scrimmage, that's usually a top 5 team.
Q. And John Simon, the whole defense today, the front, talk about how they got after it. Are you seeing the effort now you were hoping for from that defense?
COACH MEYER: Yeah. I don't know I guess there was a couple efforts in the game Indiana ever since the Indiana debacle in the second half I've seen pretty much four to six seconds. And I see a lot of hard coaching going on. And that's what I expect out of our staff.
Q. To be 10 0 at this point with two big ones left, what do you think this bye week now will allow you guys to do? Is it a good time for you guys? What do you want to get out of this you've been dinged up at times and that type of thing?
COACH MEYER: Get their body weights back up. This is the first year these kids have to deal with this semester. They're hitting a wall, a lot of them, on how long they've been in school, I guess, I keep hearing that word.
We can un hit the wall for a week academically, get that in order. Get your weights up and bodies right. You get that about usually week six, seven. This is the first time Coach Mick and I are going through our history and we've never had a 10 week straight through.
So we're going to get them healthy and hopefully get Sabino back.
Q. You guys had Rod and Carlos in the backfield together a few more times today. You hit Rod on the 50 yard touchdown on that. What does that give you when you can put two big tailbacks like that in the backfield together?
COACH MEYER: It's a great look. If they're good players. That has always been in the playbook. But we never had enough confidence. Now we do. We're trying to find the way to get the best 11 players on the field. And now we do. And we ran a bunch of unique plays out of that set that set gives you because you have two runners that can go either way. I think it was a productive set and I think you'll see more of that.
Q. To follow up on what Tim said. You're 10 0, could be in the top 5. When you look back where you started with this team, are you surprised that you're 10 0 at this point? You still see areas of concern to be 10 0 and maybe be a top 5 team in the country?
COACH MEYER: I never really if you asked me in the spring I would have said, no, I don't think we are. But then I don't think about those kind of things, to be honest with you. It's just trying to get a first down and getting to the next week.
Now that we have a chance to take a deep breath, I don't want to just disregard the question. I don't know if I even really thought about it.
And the second part of the question was?
Q. For a 10 0 team, top 5, any concerns?
COACH MEYER: I've been fortunate to have a couple of top 5 teams. And this probably has more holes than those other ones. However, there's also some great performances.
So we are going to do well on the weaknesses, because those weaknesses get exposed when you play two good teams like we have to finish the season.
Q. You mentioned like Sunday practice. You were having to send the young guys out to play each other to get some reps, how badly did you want or need a fourth quarter like tonight where you could send Dunn, the offensive line, out there to get some live work?
COACH MEYER: I was disappointed we didn't get you try to get one or two of those early in the year but we were so lousy it was hard to do that.
I'm glad to see, because there's no way you can simulate that in practice. That Bri'onte Dunn, he's a little looser with the ball, but I thought he ran very hard. Chase Ferris earned his right to get in there. Taylor Decker earned his right to get in there.
And some young players, Adolphus Washington, starting to knock that baby look off his face and start playing. It's good to see. It's priceless to be able to do that.
We'll lose all that for the Bowl practices, we'll lose them, 15, minimum of 15 practices. That not right. That's going to be hard for us to recoup that. You can't just say those are gone. Somehow you've got to recoup them.
That's why I've been going so hard on Sunday with the young players. I'm not going to do it tomorrow but we'll do it again.
Q. How about the development of Carlos Hyde a little bit from the kid you got when you first came in to the guy now?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, he was kind of a guy that didn't have a great reputation. He's been I'd say our first month ago that was not pleasant. And I think Coach Drayton and him have developed he's a genuine guy. I've actually grown to appreciate who he is as a person. I think the perception on him was incorrect.
But that might be the relationship between him and his coach. That's a real unique they're very close. And there's a great there's good energy in that running back room right now, really good, if you just watch him play.
But you also watch their behavior off the field and their academic performance, they're really doing a much better job than they have in the past. Thank you, guys.