CHAMPAIGN – It was a game that both squads were looking forward to for their own reasons.
Ohio State was hoping to add to their resume for the College Football Playoff as they approach a Big Ten East title. Meanwhile, Illinois was hoping to see if they could match-up with the Buckeyes after two-straight wins.
Neither will get the chance on Saturday in Champaign, with COVID-19 being the reason.
Due to a number of positive virus tests on the team, including head coach Ryan Day, the game scheduled for 11 AM in Champaign has been canceled and will not be made up.
“We have continued to experience an increase in positive tests over the course of this week,” said Smith in a statement released by the team. “The health, safety and well-being of our student-athlete is our main concern, and our decisions on their welfare will continue to be guided by our medical staff.”
It’s the second time in the last three weeks that the Buckeyes have had a game canceled due to COVID-19. Their November 14th game at Maryland was called off due to an outbreak on the Terrapins.
This could have an impact on the Buckeyes’ chances to play in the Big Ten Championship Game December 19th in Indianapolis. Teams must play at least six games to be eligible for a division title, and already Wisconsin has been ruled out since they will only reach five games after their game on Saturday with Minnesota was canceled.
For Lovie Smith, this is the first time his Illini have had a game canceled this year. The team had two positive tests and held out 14 other players before their game with Purdue, but the contest went on as scheduled in Champaign.