No. 8 Ohio State routs Illinois, looks ahead to Michigan
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — No. 8 Ohio State scored on its first six possessions — including J.T. Barrett’s 100th career touchdown pass — as the Buckeyes routed Illinois 52-14 on Saturday and clinched the Big Ten East title.
Barrett, playing in his last game at Ohio Stadium, threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Buckeyes (9-2, 7-1, CFP No. 9) dominated from the opening kick. Barrett became the Ohio State leader in rushing yards among quarterbacks (3,070), eclipsing Braxton Miller. He’s now the holder of 35 Big Ten and school records.
Ohio State’s defense limited the Illini (2-9, 0-9) to a season-low 105 yards in handing them a ninth straight loss. They didn’t record a first down until near the end of the first half and ended with just five.
Barrett was 11 for 19 for 141 yards, with backups Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow playing most of the second half. Running back Mike Weber picked up 108 yards on 11 carries and scored twice, including on a 43-yard breakaway romp in the first quarter.
The Buckeyes led 28-0 after the first quarter and 38-0 at halftime when heavy rain rolled through Columbus, slowing the pace in a messy second half.
Illinois: The Illini were hapless as a second disappointing season under Lovie Smith drags on. With so many true freshmen on the field, the Big Ten’s worst team had trouble doing anything against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes did what they were supposed to do, piling up points on Senior Day. They need a strong finish at No. 19 Michigan next week and then against No. 5 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. Sneaking back into the playoff picture is unlikely but not out of the question if the Buckeyes win big the next two weeks and other teams cooperate.
Illinois: Finishes season by hosting Northwestern next Saturday
Ohio State: Plays at Michigan in the season finale next Saturday.