for this game

Barrett, No. 13 Buckeyes thump Illinois

Nov 2, 2014 - 4:43 AM Columbus, OH ( - J.T. Barrett passed for 167 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and No. 13 Ohio State had no trouble in a 55-14 win over Illinois on Saturday night.

The Buckeyes (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) forced three turnovers in the first half to take a 31-0 lead into the locker room, giving Barrett the final two quarters off a week before he will face No. 8 Michigan State.

The freshman completed 15 of his 24 attempts with a pair of touchdown passes to Devin Smith. Sophomore Cardale Jones then passed for 82 yards and two scores in the second half.

Curtis Samuel had two touchdown runs in the first half for the Buckeyes, who have won six in a row since losing to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6. Last week's 31-24 win over Penn State in double overtime is the only time in the last six games the Buckeyes didn't score at least 50 points.

Ohio State ran its record to 20-0 in regular-season Big Ten games under Urban Meyer, tying the 2005-07 Buckeyes teams for the longest such winning streak in conference history.

That streak was ended by Illinois, which knocked off the top-ranked Buckeyes in Columbus on Nov. 10, 2007. Ohio State has won the last seven meetings with the Fighting Illini (4-5, 1-4).

Up next for the Buckeyes is a rematch of last year's Big Ten Championship Game -- a 34-24 loss to Michigan State in Indianapolis.

Ohio State's first loss in nearly two years came at the worst time, just after it moved to No. 2 in the BCS standings. A win would have given the Buckeyes a chance to play Florida State for the national championship.

"Last year when I redshirted during the Big Ten Championship Game, I was just taking it all in and learning as much as I could," said Barrett. "We're a different team this year, and so are they. They're going to get after us defensively, and we need to be prepared."

Senior quarterback Reilly O'Toole completed just four of his 11 passes and threw two interceptions for Illinois. Sophomore Aaron Bailey was 9-of-16 for a touchdown but also turned the ball over on a fumble, leading to an Ohio State field goal.

Three Illini turnovers in the first half -- two interceptions and a fumble -- helped Ohio State run up the score.

"We didn't start well and I think as you watched that football game, you realized right away that field position, turnovers, not being able to create turnovers, and all those types of things make a difference when you're playing a football team like Ohio State," said Illinois coach Tim Beckman.

"They're probably one of the best teams in this conference and you better be playing up to par when you play against them, and we definitely didn't start this football game playing that way."

Linebacker Darron Lee's interception and 26-yard return on the game's first drive set up Samuel's 23-yard touchdown run down the right sideline for a 7-0 Ohio State lead after 3 1/2 minutes.

After Sean Nuernberger's 44-yard field goal later in the first made it 10-0, David Reisner missed a 47-yard try for Illinois and David Smith caught a 32- yard touchdown pass at the other end with 1:30 left in the first quarter.

Illinois' third turnover came on linebacker Curtis Grant's interception early in the second quarter, leading to Samuel's 1-yard touchdown on a pitch to the left for a 24-0 lead with 11:43 left in the half.

Ohio State stopped Illinois on fourth down at the OSU 12-yard line but the Illini got the Buckeyes back with a goal-line stand later in the half.

Still, Jalin Marshall's 28-yard punt return gave Ohio State a short field and Smith's 8-yard touchdown grab on Barrett's last pass made it 31-0 at halftime.

Dontre Wilson caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Jones on the first drive of the second half for a 38-0 Ohio State lead.

Bailey's fumble led to a 26-yard Nuernberger field goal, and Marshall rushed for a 30-yard score to give Ohio State a 48-0 lead midway through the third quarter.

Donovonn Young scored Illinois' first points on a 5-yard run near the end of the third, followed by Jones' 19-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas to give Ohio State a 55-7 advantage. Matt LaCosse added a 7-yard touchdown catch for Illinois after an Ohio State fumble in the fourth quarter.

Game Notes

Smith had three catches for 72 yards ... Samuel rushed for 63 yards on nine carries ... The Buckeyes were No. 16 in the first College Football Playoff rankings released this week ... Illinois' next game is Nov. 15 against Iowa.