Ohio State cruised to a victory Saturday against Illinois. The No. 9 Buckeyes crushed the Illini, 52-14, and dominated the entire game.
But there was one moment in the second half that irked Urban Meyer. With Ohio State’s backups in the game, second-string quarterback Dwayne Haskins fumbled and Illinois returned it for a 54-yard touchdown.
Ohio State still led 38-7 at that point, but Meyer put his starting offense back on the field after the turnover. He explained why during his postgame news conference.
“I was just pissed. I didn’t want it to turn into a clown show, which it looked like it for a minute,” Meyer said. “I’ve got to give Dwayne a lot of credit to bounce back like that.”
So after initially being pulled in the second quarter, J.T. Barrett, J.K. Dobbins and the starting offense trotted back on the field on the next possession. Despite having to punt on the possession, Illinois fumbled the punt and Ohio State scored again a few plays later as Barrett found tight end Marcus Baugh for a touchdown to put the Buckeyes up 45-7. No clown show there.
The move worked, and Meyer got his point across, but it did catch some of the starters off guard.
“I was not taped up, so,” center Billy Price said. “What was it, 31-0, 38-0 at that point? I was like, ‘Well, I think I’m done.’ Got the OK from the coaches, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Coach is boss.”
Added offensive tackle Jamarco Jones: “I wasn’t taped up either. We were scrambling, but they called us to go back in. We had to go out there and score again, and we did. But I wasn’t really prepared for that. I had cut my tape off.”