Rob Oller and Adam Jardy of The Dispatch offer observations about Saturday’s game:
The game at hand
Short-attention-span synopsis: Senior day? How about Senior quarter-and-a-half? Illinois wins the toss and defers — to next year? Big Ten title-game spot clinched, but first, a chance for Wolverine stew.
Pregame buzz: Ohio State was a 41-point favorite, its biggest Big Ten spread in at least 30 years. The threat of rain was exponentially more concerning than the threat of the conference’s worst rushing team. Even the lure of one final chance to see J.T. Barrett in Ohio Stadium couldn’t overcome the lack of excitement Illibuck usually promises.
The $80 question: Regardless of opponent, senior day is a cause for celebration and reflection at Ohio State, and the stadium was mostly full to say goodbye to 19 of them. But by halftime, it looked like an Illinois home crowd at Memorial Stadium as a rain bordering on biblical blanketed the region.
One-liner: After taking such a lopsided loss in Ohio, did Lovie Smith just play himself to the top of the Cleveland Browns head coaching list?
Just wondering: How many points could the Buckeyes have reasonably scored? Ahead 28-0 just 13:16 into the game, Ohio State was on pace for 126 points and already had the outcome decided.
Dad joke: Looks like Illinois has Lost That Lovie Feeling.
How the team sees it: We can’t explain what happened at Iowa, either. But hey, 100 points in our last two games is pretty good, right?
How the playoff committee will see it: Congratulations on another blowout. We see that. But still, about those two losses …
How Buckeye Nation sees it: We can’t control how bad some of the Big Ten is. But we can control how badly we destroy them, and that should count for something. Beat Michigan.
What he said: “It's rivalry reek, (I mean) rivalry week.”
What it means: “North until you smell it … ”
If this were an Internet connection …
Ohio State would let you stream this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead” before it even airs. Illinois would be climbing up the telephone pole to fix the loose wire for its dial-up connection.
They said it
Your turn/the channel: The last time the ABC/ESPN trio of Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Todd McShay broadcast an Ohio State game, they more than once referred to Nick Bosa as Joey, the former Buckeye who plays in the NFL. McShay vowed not to confuse the brothers this time, and mission accomplished. See, TV guys are trainable. They also are serveable, to the chagrin of viewers bothered by ABC’s pregame snippet showing Levy, Griese and McShay eating at The Varsity Club. A Michigan Man (Griese) allowed to dine at an Ohio State campus institution? Sacrilege.
In the (bored) press box: “Doesn’t that referee look like golfer Curtis Strange?”
At halftime, over the speakers: “Referee mic check, on a beautiful night in Columbus, Ohio.”
Numbers for dummies
13: Seniors starting for Ohio State, not counting juniors who will leave early
1,004: Yards of offense the Buckeyes were on pace for after one quarter (they finished with 543)
12: Number of Illinois’ 23 first-half snaps that went for zero or negative yardage.
21: Minutes it took for dedicated military personnel to lower the American flag at the north end of Ohio Stadium after the game, because it was wrapped around the pole
3: More yards of offense generated by Mike Weber (108) than Illinois’ team (105)
10 million: Gallons of water that fell from the heavens
4: People who honestly care about the Illibuck trophy
It has been 386 days since Michigan last beat a team with a winning record and 2,185 since the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes. Jim Harbaugh has as many Big Ten losses this season (three) as Meyer does in six seasons at Ohio State. All that and more is on the line in the latest installment of “The Game.”
Best responses to @rollerCD on Twitter:
@laxreftom: Orange was beaten to a pulp.
@ktyler7205: 4 years of JT Barrett running the zone read and the camera still doesn’t know when he has the ball half the time
@SLSimon65: Put some new stuff on tape for Michigan to worry about.
@yothisisdre: #Buckeyes good #Illini bad. #ThatIsAll
@sylvaniaperl: Early dinner reservations confirmed. No need to eat late tonight thanks to Illini.
@martycallahan51: Is Illinois still in the Big 10 and is there a mercy rule in college football?
@buckeyegdo: i just lost my satellite signal. Kinda feel like the Illini coaches … what do I do now?
@Pray4Pax: Fighting Illini now to be known as Slightly Argumentative Illini #Punchless
Misty senior day
A downpour of touchdowns; now…