Saturday's scheduled game between Illinois and No. 4 Ohio State was canceled by Ohio State on Friday night amid positive COVID-19 tests within the Buckeyes program. The game had already taken an interesting turn earlier in the day when it was revealed that Ohio State coach Ryan Day tested positive for COVID-19 and would be unable to coach his team on Saturday. Ohio State has also paused all team-related activities indefinitely.
"We have continued to experience an increase in positive tests over the course of this week," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. "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."
Ohio State was entering 4-0 and looking for another opportunity to bolster its College Football Playoff resume. Instead, the cancellation leaves the Buckeyes at a maximum of seven games before the final CFP selections are made on Dec. 20. Of note, however, is the fact that if the Buckeyes see another game canceled, they will be ineligible for the Big Ten title per league regulations.
The missed game will also take some steam away from Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields' Heisman Trophy chances. The junior threw three interceptions in the Buckeyes' 42-35 win over Indiana last week, but his overall season statistics are impressive as he's completed 90 of 113 passes for for 1,208 yards and 13 touchdowns. The interceptions thrown against the Hoosiers were his first of the season.