Nov. 18, 2017
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 now holds 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.
”I love our focus,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. ”I like where we’re at.”
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.
”If you stay in coaching long enough, you have games like this where the (other) team is better than you from start to finish,” Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. ”You want to see how guys are going to fight, and I think our guys fought hard.”