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Against the Cornhuskers, Miller had 91 yards rushing and 95 more along with a touchdown before leaving the game.

“He was more comfortable out there,” interim Buckeyes coach Luke Fickell said. “We made some plays so that obviously gave him an opportunity to be more comfortable, and he’s continuing to grow.”

While much of the focus will be on the quarterbacks, one of Ohio State’s best weapons of a year ago will slip back into the lineup this Saturday, too.

Daniel Herron was the Buckeyes’ leading rusher in 2010 with 1,196 yards, and scored the fourth quarter touchdown that put the Illini away in Columbus.

He hasn’t played this season, serving a five-game suspension for his role in the improper benefits scandal that cost Jim Tressel his job, then sitting out last week for receiving too much pay at a summer job offered by a booster.

Herron will play, and while Fickell isn’t sure how much, it’s clear he’s been missed.

“Dan is a big part of who we are,” Fickell said. “Not just what we’ve missed from him on the field, but in the locker room, off the field, in the huddle, just that his personality, his passion, his confidence level. That’s something that we are going to try and ride, and in order to do that he’s going to have to have a hand in it and have a part of it, and he will.”

Illinois coach Ron Zook said he wouldn’t be surprised if Illinois saw a lot of Herron.

“It’s going to probably be the first series,” Zook said. “He’s been practicing, he just hasn’t played. He’s probably champing at the bit to get going.”

The last time Illinois was ranked higher than the Buckeyes when the teams played was in 2001, when the No. 12 Illini beat No. 25 Ohio State 34-22. And the last time the Illini faced an unranked Buckeyes team, most of this year’s team wasn’t born _ 1989, when the 18th-ranked Illini breezed by Ohio State, 34-14.