COLUMBUS, Ohio — Illinois used three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including two in the opening minutes of the final stanza, to break open a close game and win its first game in Ohio Stadium in ten tries.

The Illini took a tenuous 10-6 lead into the final frame. But they expanded that margin to 17-6 with 14:56 to play on a five-yard run by Howard Griffith. Griffith’s score was set up by an OSU fumble.

A little more than two minutes later, the Illini scored again when Patrick Donnelly fell on a muffed punt snap in the OSU end zone and Illinois owned a 24-6 lead. Greg Frey’s pass and Jeff Graham’s sensational one-handed grab in the end zone was simply a case of too little, too late for the Buckeyes, and Griffith’s second TD jaunt of the day was merely frosting on the cake for the Illini.

Tailbacks Marc Hicks and Carlos Snow missed the game with injuries. John Spencer, fourth on the depth chart at the beginning of the year, started.

In addition to losing their Big Ten opener, the Buckeyes also lost defensive tackle Mike Showalter, an all-conference candidate. Showalter injured an ankle prior to the game and was later ruled out for the year.


Date League Season Attendance
October 1, 1988 Ohio State 1988 90,274


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Ohio Stadium