November 24, 2020

Game Preview: Ohio State at Illinois


Ohio State ventures onto the road for the second time this season as it heads to Champaign, Ill. to face Illinois at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Ohio State and Illinois will be meeting for the 104th time and for the first time since 2017. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series, which dates back to 1902, 68-30-4.

The Buckeyes and Illini will be playing this weekend for the Illibuck Trophy. The Illibuck is a carved wooden turtle that has been awarded to the winner of the Ohio State/Illinois game since 1925 and is the second oldest trophy exchanged in the Big Ten.


No. 3 Ohio State at Illinois • Sat., Nov. 28 • When: 12:00 p.m. • Where: Memorial Stadium • TV: FS1 • Radio: 97.1 The Fan



  • Ohio State’s run defense will be tested this week by the conference’s No. 2-ranked rushing offense in Illinois.
  • The Illini are averaging 222.4 yards per game and eight of their 11 offensive touchdowns have come on the ground.
  • The Buckeyes have the Big Ten’s top rushing offense at 233.2 yards per game.
    • Master Teague’s 380 yards is third highest in the conference and he’s tied for second with six rushing touchdowns.
  • Ohio State and Illinois are meeting for the 104th time in a series that started in 1902.
    • Only Ohio State’s series against Michigan, which started in 1897 and which has seen 116 games, is older and lengthier than the Illinois series.
    • Ohio State and Illinois played every year for 89 consecutive years, between 1914 and 2002, until the series was interrupted in 2003.
    • The game Saturday will be the 12th time in the last 17 years that the teams have played.
    • The Buckeyes have won eight straight against Illinois and lead the overall series 68-30-4 with a 36-12 mark in games played in Champaign.



  • Garrett Wilson is off to the best four-game start ever at Ohio State, highlighted by four straight 100-yard games – the second longest streak in school history.
  • His average of 128.3 yards per game is second in the Big Ten and No. 7 nationally.
  • That’s nearly 10 yards better than David Boston’s single-season record for receiving yards per game, which was set in 1998 (119.5).


  • In last Saturday’s win over Indiana, Ohio State reached the 40-point mark for the 27th time (in 46 games) since Ryan Day’s arrival with the program in 2017 (58.6 percent).
  • The Buckeyes have scored 40 or more in three of four games this year.
  • They’re averaging 45.2 points per game and the school record for points per game is 46.9, set just last season.


  • Ohio State’s passing game is headlined by Justin Fields, who is fourth nationally in quarterback efficiency (202.10). Fields is completing 79 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
  • His top wide receiver targets are Garrett Wilson, who is seventh nationally at 128.3 yards per game, and Chris Olave, who averages 97.3 yards per game. The pair has combined to catch eight of Fields’ 13 touchdowns.
  • Master Teague set career highs in attempts (26) and yards (169) last week while also adding two touchdown runs, including one of 41 yards.
    • Teague is averaging 95.0 yards per game and has 100-yard efforts against both Penn State and Indiana.
  • Teague’s backfield mate, Trey Sermon, is second on the team with 232 yards on 45 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and has added four receptions for 35 yards.
  • On defense, senior linebacker Pete Werner leads the team with 24 tackles and has added 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and a quarterback hurry.
  • The backend of the defense is headlined by All-America candidate Shaun Wade, who had a 36-yard interception return for touchdown late in the third quarter of last Saturday’s win over Indiana.



Yards of total offense – a career high – for Justin Fields against Indiana (300 passing and an OSU career-high 78 rushing) with three TDs.


Cris Carter’s school-record (1986) for consecutive 100-yard receiving games. Garrett Wilson has topped 100 yards four consecutive games.


Games this season Belitnikoff Award watch-listers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson have doubled-up with each reaching 100 receiving yards.


Points allowed by Ohio State’s defense after three Hoosier interceptions. Ensuing drives were stopped on downs, a punt and a fumble.


  • Illinois is coming off its most complete effort of the 2020 season, a 41-23 win at Nebraska. The Illini rushed for 302 yards in the game, led by the tandem of Mike Epstein and Chase Brown, who each finished with 115 yards and scored three touchdowns.
  • Quarterback Brandon Peters returned after a three-game absence and completed 18 of 25 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown.
  • Illinois’ defense ranks fourth in the Big Ten in both tackles for loss and sacks. Linebacker Jake Hansen is tops on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss and 44 total tackles. Owen Carney Jr. leads the Illini with 4.5 sacks for minus 39 yards.