The rain couldn't stop Ohio State's offense, and neither could Illinois.
In the last game at Ohio Stadium for 19 Buckeye seniors (and potentially another handful of underclassmen), Urban Meyer's squad cruised to a 52-14 victory over Lovie Smith's Fighting Illini. It was as businesslike a win as you could ask for—at no point did the Buckeyes really struggle, trail, or look out of sorts—and Ohio State locked up a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game with the W.
Let's break down some of the top performances from Saturday's win, the ninth straight for the Buckeyes over the Illini.
Blue chip stocks
Mike Weber, RB: Is the redshirt sophomore trying to show NFL scouts a little something? It's sure felt that way these last two weeks, as Weber has chewed up consecutive defenses to the tune of 270 yards and four TDs total. He got 108 of those and a pair of scores against the Illini on Saturday, including a 43-yard sprint to pay-dirt late in the first quarter.
Great to see Weber finally looking healthy. That's his 3rd 40-plus yard touchdown run in the last two weeks. pic.twitter.com/Cs3FssfKld— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) November 18, 2017
There's a decent chance Weber decides to test the waters of the NFL Draft this spring rather than face another season's risks for injury and split carries. We'd be sad to see him leave, but the way he's playing since returning to full strength would make him a hard guy to pass up if you're an NFL owner.
Binjimen Victor, WR: Earlier this week, we wrote about the matchup nightmare that Victor poses for just about every team, including Illinois. He made us look smart on Saturday. The sophomore wideout found the end zone twice, somehow reaching the ball across the goal line while being tackled by the neck in the opposite direction toward the end of the first quarter, and connecting with Dwayne Haskins for a pretty score in the fourth.
J.T. Barrett connects with Ben Victor for career TD pass pic.twitter.com/tXA8HQswlj— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) November 18, 2017
The two scores—a career high for Victor—were part of an overall three catch, 39-yard day. He's got at least another year left in the Scarlet and Gray, and a few more games in 2017 to wreak havoc on opposing secondaries. If that doesn't brighten your day, I'm not sure what can.
J.T. Barrett, QB: Barrett didn't get to spend much time padding his stats on Saturday, since the team played so well that he got yanked before halftime. (He later returned for a single series in the third.) But it was time well-spent nonetheless, as it saw Barrett throw for his 100th and 101st career touchdowns. The greatest QB in program history got to walk off in the rain a winner. For all his struggles, it's heartbreaking to know that we'll never again see this guy take the field at Ohio Stadium.
Thanks for the memories, J.T.! pic.twitter.com/nccDHvAncp— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) November 18, 2017
Jonathon Cooper, DL: Cooper is considered one of the future stars on a Buckeye defensive line that's made a habit of churning them out. He had a decent day in relief on Saturday, coming up with a pair of sacks all on his own. This is what the next few years might look like for opposing QBs with Cooper lining up against them; we're honestly pretty okay with that. Check out the dang wrestling move here:
Going to see a lot of this from Jonathon Cooper next season pic.twitter.com/POVmn8NKxG— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) November 18, 2017
Michigan. Y'all get a load of the Wolverines on Saturday? Woof.
BUY: J.T. Barrett's large wooden son.
And the Turtle stays in Columbus pic.twitter.com/FIafLUTSiT— Matt Brown (@MattSBN) November 19, 2017
BUY: Next week's game's coast potential. We know, we know: when you face off against a rival, you're supposed to throw the records out. But as mentioned above, Ohio State's Hate Week opponent is, uhhh, not very good. They're a mess at QB, they've lost to teams they were supposed to handle, and they just can't seem to stay ranked. Even in Ann Arbor's Big House, this one might be over by halftime.