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Seth Perlman, Associated Press
Ohio State running back Dan Herron (1) runs over Illinois linebacker Ashante Williams (25) and past defensive lineman Whitney Mercilus (85) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, in Champaign, Ill.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Daniel Herron, who hadn't played since the Sugar Bowl in January because of NCAA suspensions, ran for 114 yards and a touchdown in his return Saturday to lead Ohio State past No. 16 Illinois, 17-7.

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With true freshman Braxton Miller at quarterback, the struggling offense of Ohio State (4-3, 2-1 Big Ten) counted on Herron against Illinois (6-1, 2-1). The Buckeyes didn't complete a pass until Miller hit Jake Stoneburner for a fourth-quarter touchdown and a 17-0 lead.

The Buckeyes' defense forced three turnovers and turned two of them into their only touchdowns. Herron's 12-yard touchdown run followed an interception by Bradley Roby and put Ohio State up 10-0 in the third quarter.

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was 20 of 34 for 169 yards, two interceptions and a late TD pass.