Here are things you’ll want to know about the game when No. 8 Ohio State (8-2, 6-1) hosts Illinois (2-8, 0-7):
1. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Ohio Stadium (capacity 104,944). At the last home game of the season, Ohio State will honor 19 seniors prior to kickoff. The forecast is for windy conditions with rain possible and a high around 58 degrees.
2. The teams will play for the Illibuck trophy, an unusual tradition created in 1925 as a live snapping turtle that was kept by the winning team. When the turtle dies in 1927, a wooden turtle was substituted. The turtles are retired when their shells fill up with the scores of OSU-Illinois games. Saturday's game will mark the first appearance of Illibuck No. 11, created by local woodcarver Ted Scherer.
3. Oddsmakers have Ohio State favored by 41 points over Illinois. The Buckeyes have won the last seven meetings since the Illini upset No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus in 2007.
4. The game is being televised by ABC, whose crew will be Steve Levy (play-by-play), Brian Griese (analysis) and Todd McShay (sideline).
5. You also can hear the game on local radio at 97.1 The Fan with announcers Paul Keels (play-by-play), Jim Lachey (analysis) and Matt Andrews (sideline).
6. Ohio State is the only school in the nation to not allow a punt return all season. Alabama is right behind OSU, allowing four punt returns, but they totaled only five yards.
7. Strength vs. strength: The Illini have forced 16 fumbles this season to lead the nation in forced fumbles per game at 1.6. Defensive lineman James Crawford leads the way with three forced fumbles, tops in the Big Ten. Ohio State, meanwhile, has protected the ball well, losing just six fumbles in 10 games.
8. Expect to hear a lot about ... sophomore QB Jeff George Jr., son of former Illini QB and No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Jeff George, has thrown for 1,273 yards and seven touchdowns in seven games ... true freshman receiver Ricky Smalling, who is No. 2 in the Big Ten with an average of 17.43 yards per catch ... and junior linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips, who leads the team in tackles with 72.
9. Buckeye connection: Lovie Smith, now in his second season as Illinois head coach, was the defensive backs coach at Ohio State in 1995 under John Cooper. Smith also succeeded Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers in 2014.
10. Illinois is the youngest team in the nation. Sixteen true freshmen have started games for Illinois, the most in the country, and a total of 22 true freshmen have appeared in at least one game. They will be seniors the next time they play Ohio State, because the two teams won't meet again until 2020.
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