Ryan Day, Other Buckeyes Test Positive, Game at Illinois Will Be Played

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields plays against Rutgers during an NCAA college football game Saturday Nov. 7 2020 in Columbus

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields plays against Rutgers during an NCAA college football game Saturday Nov. 7 2020 in Columbus

Ohio State typically releases a status report for players on Friday morning but didn't do so this week and Cleveland.com reported that is expected to happen about 10 a.m. Saturday - about two hours before kickoff against IL.

The previous week, the Buckeyes got a surprising late battle from Rutgers. So, I think schematically we're right where we need to be. The game against the Illini was still on, but the Buckeyes were not traveling on Friday as originally scheduled.

Buckeyes veteran defensive line coach Larry Johnson will act as interim coach with Day unavailable.

IL dominated Nebraska last week in a 41-23 win, the first time the Illini won in Lincoln since 1924. The team has threee regular season games remaining.

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No. 18 Wisconsin already has lost three games after Minnesota canceled earlier this week because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

"The Nebraska game was the first time that we got a chance to see our entire group together, and we're still missing a couple players", IL coach Lovie Smith said.

Across college football, 15 of the 58 games originally scheduled for this week have been postponed or canceled, though some replacements have been added.

Ohio State had a matchup wiped out two weeks ago against Maryland. It was the first time IL started four different quarterbacks in consecutive games since starters' records began being kept in 1975. He's averaging 16 1/2 yards per catch.

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The Buckeyes (4-0) already have had one Big Ten game canceled because of an outbreak at Maryland and have three left on the schedule, including at IL. Last week against IN, the sophomore caught seven for 169 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first time in Ohio State history that a QB passed for 300-plus yards, a back ran for 100-plus and a receiver eclipsed 150 yards in the same game.

Per the Buckeyes' release - which did not specify how many in the program produced a positive COVID-19 test - the team underwent point of contact (POC) testing early Friday and determined it is still able to play against the Fighting Illini on Saturday.

Ohio State has won the last eight games in the series.

The Illini's defense - as well as the team getting players back off the COVID list - has been a big part of their recent surge. Illinois' defense had five takeaways at Nebraska (three interceptions, two fumbles). The unit is fifth in the Big Ten in tackles, third in tackles-for-loss, first in forced fumbles and second in fumble recoveries.

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