COLUMBUS — Trailing Ohio State by only 11 points in the first half, Illinois flubbed a snap, incurred a flag for a chop block and another for holding and was forced to punt.
The Buckeyes embraced the opportunity, taking a firm hold on momentum to score on a 51-yard touchdown dart from Braxton Miller to Rod Smith.
The rout everyone expected was on.
The Illini trailed Ohio State 31-6 by halftime and never caught their breath, much less the Buckeyes as they fell 52-22 Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Despite the vastly different records, Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) and Illinois (2-7, 0-5 Big Ten) were both playing for pride. They will not play in a bowl game because of an NCAA penalty. The Illini officially eliminated themselves from a bowl bid with the loss in the Horseshoe.
The Buckeyes entered the game an overwhelming favorite and did not disappoint fans eager to remain the Big Ten’s only unbeaten team. The Illini continued their slide in the Big Ten with 11 straight conference losses.