Braxton Miller, Ohio State give Illinois’ struggling defense its biggest test

Braxton Miller vs. Illinois defense

Braxton Miller is an ultra-efficient quarterback in his third year as a starter in Columbus, Ohio. Miller is third in the nation and first in the Big Ten in adjusted QBR at 83.8. Illinois has struggled to defend the pass, allowing 242.8 yards per game, which ranks 89th in the country. Miller is also a threat on his feet, as he’s rushed for 22 touchdowns in his career.

Carlos Hyde vs. Illinois defense

Illinois’ pass defense has been subpar, but its rush defense has been nonexistent. Only eight teams in the nation have allowed more yards per game on the ground this season than Illinois. It doesn’t get any easier with running back Carlos Hyde coming to town. The senior has already rushed for 701 yards and seven touchdowns on 7.3 yards per carry (ranking 10th in the country). Hyde rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-22 win over Illinois in Columbus last season.

Josh Ferguson vs. Ryan Shazier

Josh Ferguson has been one of the few bright spots on a struggling Illinois team. Ferguson leads the team with 485 rushing yards and is second in the nation among running backs with 483 receiving yards. He also has eight combined touchdowns. Ryan Shazier, a first team All-Big Ten linebacker from a season ago, will be looking to stop Ferguson in both the run and pass game. Shazier leads Ohio State with 73 tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.

Michael is a senior in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @The_MDubb.