Ohio State ran its record to 12-0, but needed an overtime session to down Illinois, 23-16, on a cold, windy day in Champaign. It was the first overtime game for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State jumped out to a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Illinois narrowed the margin to 6-3 at halftime and took a 10-6 lead early in the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from John Beutjer to Walter Young. Eugene Wilson set up the score with a 52-yard punt return to the OSU 23.
The Buckeyes came right back to take the lead on their next possession Craig Krenzel teaming up with split end Michael Jenkins from 50 yards out.
With OSU leading 16-13 in the closing minute of regulation play, Illinois marched from its own 25 to the Ohio State 31 and kicked a 48-yard field goal to tie the game as time expired.
Ohio State struck first in the extra session, scoring on an 8-yard run by Maurice Hall on third down. Krenzel kept the drive alive with a key 14-yard scramble from the 25.
Illinois then took its turn, but when tackle Tim Anderson batted down a fourth-down Beutjer pass, the Buckeyes were 12-0 for the first time in school history.
Linebacker Matt Wilhelm had 12 tackles for the Buckeyes and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week following the game.
Jenkins had a game-high 147 yards receiving on six grabs, while Hall paced the Buckeyes on the ground with 69 yards on 17 carries.