Urban Meyer: “They’re betting the ranch”

Illini

WCIA — Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer says he can relate to Illinois coach Lovie Smith’s situation. The Illini are in complete rebuild mode heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup at No. 8 Ohio State, playing 22 true freshmen, the most in the nation.

“I’ve been in similar situations where you just say, ‘I’m going to build and take young players,'” Meyer said. “They’re very good young players and they’re betting the ranch on them and I think that’s appropriate.”

The Illini (2-7, 0-6 B1G) are 41-point underdogs against the Buckeyes (8-2, 6-1 B1G) who are still fighting for a spot in the College Football Playoffs. Illinois has started more true freshmen than any other team in the country at 16 and the inexperience has shown at times.

“Your record says where you are as a program,” Smith said. “In the end, that’s what everybody is looking at. So if you look at that, it’s where we are. We’ve taken steps and eventually we’re going to get over the hump. Our program is a program that’s on the rise and in the future is looking bright.”

Illinois and Ohio State kickoff at 2:30 Saturday from Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

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