If Ohio State was looking forward to its showdown with Michigan a week from Saturday, the Buckeyes didn't show it against Illinois.
The Buckeyes scored on their first six possessions en route to a 52-14 victory over the Illini, clinching an appearance in the 2017 Big Ten Championship Game.
|No. 9 OHIO STATE||28||10||7||7||52|
On a day where Ohio State honored 19 seniors, the Buckeyes were led by J.T. Barrett for the final time in Ohio Stadium.
The fifth-year senior quarterback six possessions in the first half, and was pulled – with the majority of the starting offense – midway through the second quarter with the Buckeyes carrying a 38-0 lead. The starters were briefly re-inserted early in the third quarter after an Illini defensive touchdown, and delivered another score to extend the lead to 45-7 with 7:58 remaining in the third.
In his final game in Ohio Stadium, Barrett completed 11-of-19 passes for 141 yards and two score through the air. His first – an 11-yard touchdown to Binjimen Victor – was the 100th passing touchdown of his career. The second touchdown pass came after the starters were put back in the game, as Barrett found tight end Marcus Baugh for a 12-yard score midway through the third quarter. Barrett added 33 yards on five carries and another score on the ground.
|543||NET TOTAL YARDS||105|
|5.5||AVERAGE PER RUSH||3.2|
|13.6||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||4.0|
|14||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||3|
|11||PASSING 1st DOWNS||1|
|2||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||1|
|6.2||YARDS PER PLAY||2.5|
With rain and strong winds whipping around Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes kept the ball on the ground for the majority of the game. Mike Weber picked up where he left off against Michigan State and accounted for two rushing touchdowns in the first half. The redshirt-sophomore earned 11 carries and picked up 108 yards, scoring on touchdown runs of four and 43 yards respectively.
Starting running back J.K. Dobbins ran the ball 12 times for 51 yards and a score as the Buckeyes accumulated 229 rushing yards on 30 carries before halftime, finishing with 325 yards on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, Ohio State's defense stifled the Illini, surrendering just one first down in the first 30 minutes of action to the Illinois offense. Lovie Smith's offense managed just 43 total yards in the first half, as compared to Ohio State's 358.
The Illini scored their first touchdown of the game in the third quarter when Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins fumbled, leading to a 54-yard scoop-and-score from defensive back Ahmari Hayes. Illinois added a second touchdown early in the fourth, when backup quarterback Cam Miller found the end zone on a 9-yard touchdown run.
After being pulled in favor of the starters – and then Joe Burrow – Haskins returned to action in the fourth and completed a pair of passes to Terry McLaurin before finding Victor for a 22-yard score to put Ohio State up 52-7 with 11:41 to play in the game.
- Seniors Erick Smith (safety) and Michael Hill (defensive tackle) started in place of Jordan Fuller and Dre'Mont Jones respectively.
- J.T. Barrett passed Braxton Miller on the Ohio State quarterback rushing yards list in the first quarter.
- Ohio State improved to 21-2 in the month of November under Urban Meyer.
- Antonio Williams carried the ball a career-high 19 times for a career-best 74 yards.
- The Buckeyes ran the ball a season-high 59 times for 325 yards.
- The Buckeyes held Illinois to 16 passing yards, marking the second time this season Ohio State limited an opponent to 16 yards through the air after doing so against Maryland Oct. 7. The totals against the Illini and Terrapins marked the least passing yards Ohio State allowed in a Big Ten game since holding Wisconsin to zero Nov. 18, 1989.
- Ohio State has limited its opponents to fewer than 100 yards through the air five times this season and fewer than 20 yards on three separate occasions.