Five storylines: Illinois at Ohio State 

November, 1, 2012
11/01/12
10:48
AM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A look at the hot topics and pressing concerns as Ohio State prepares for a visit from struggling Illinois on Saturday (TV: ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET).

On the line: The Buckeyes are pushing for an undefeated season, have complete control of the Leaders Division and could clinch the only trophy Big Ten trophy they are eligible for as early as this week. The Illini are just trying to get a win in conference play and shift the attention away from the buyout figures in coach Tim Beckman's contract in his first year with the program. Obviously, the motivations are a bit different heading into the weekend, and Ohio State will enter it with much more to play for and more talent.

Losing formula: The Illini are last in the league in both scoring offense and defense, the worst possible combination a team could have and about as clear an explanation for their struggles as there could be. Neither area figures to improve much with the high-powered Ohio State offense rolling through with more weapons around quarterback Braxton Miller and its defense getting healthier while coming off two of its best outings of the season. With a bye week looming and a chance to finally focus again on some fundamentals with younger players, the Buckeyes are surely hoping for an opportunity to get a few freshmen more involved in the game.
The latest from Gustin at The Opening
ESPN 300 athlete Porter Gustin (Salem, Utah/Salem Hills) took time out to talk recruiting and more with WeAreSC's Garry Paskwietz on Tuesday at The Opening.
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