CHAMPAIGN, Ill.: Carlos Hyde ran for 246 yards and four touchdowns and Braxton Miller had another 184 yards rushing and two scores Saturday to push Ohio State past Illinois 60-35.
But even with Hyde’s offensive explosion, the Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) needed a third-quarter defensive stop and safety to recover the momentum.
After trailing 28-0 in the second quarter, Illinois (3-7, 0-6) closed to 35-21 in the third on two Nathan Scheelhaase touchdown passes.
Illinois had the momentum when the Buckeyes’ Ryan Shazier sacked backup quarterback Reilly O’Toole in the end zone. Illinois recovered his fumble but the safety gave the Buckeyes a 37-21 edge and the ball. Minutes later, a Hyde touchdown put them ahead 44-21.
Hyde tacked on two late, long touchdowns runs of 55 and 51 yards. He also caught a touchdown pass.
Miller threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Scheelhaase led the Illini with 288 yards passing and two touchdowns.
The OSU defense kept Scheelhaase under pressure all day, sacking him five times and hitting him more than that.
It was one of those hits that kept Ohio State in control when Illinois was getting back into the game.
After Illinois closed to within two touchdowns at 35-21, Scheelhaase had his helmet ripped off at his own goal line. Under the rules, he had to leave the game for a play, bringing O’Toole on.
The Buckeyes teed off on the backup quarterback, with Shazier hitting him from behind and knocking the ball loose. Tight end Matt LaCosse recovered the ball for Illinois to limit the damage to the safety.
The momentum swung swiftly. On the following drive, Ohio State moved quickly to the Illini 8-yard line.
Miller rolled left and threw an incomplete pass before taking a big hit from linebacker Jonathan Brown. The quarterback stayed on the turf for a time before briefly leaving the game.
Backup Kenny Guiton came on, handing off two plays later to Hyde for the 1-yard touchdown that put the game firmly back in the Buckeyes’ grip at 44-21.