Ohio State had to overcome a slow start against an unranked opponent at its home stadium for the second week in a row to defeat Minnesota at Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes only led the Golden Gophers by three points at halftime, eliciting boos from their home crowd as they ran back into the locker room, but they ultimately battled through their continued struggles on defense and in the run game to earn a 30-14 victory and improve to 7-0.
While the defense had issues with both stopping the run and slant routes from Minnesota's offense, the Buckeyes managed to keep the Golden Gophers off the scoreboard for the entire second half, allowing them to earn a 16-point victory despite scoring only one touchdown in the final two quarters.
|#3 OHIO STATE||10||7||3||10||30|
Ohio State’s defense got off to a strong start, as Kendall Sheffield intercepted a deep ball on Minnesota’s opening possession. The Buckeyes drove the ball inside Minnesota’s 10-yard line on their opening possession, highlighted by a 42-yard deep connection from Dwayne Haskins to K.J. Hill, but was forced to settle for a 21-yard field goal after an incomplete pass from Haskins intended for Austin Mack on 3rd-and-goal from the 6-yard line.
That left the door open for the Gophers to take the lead on their next possession, and they took advantage, driving 75 yards in 11 plays, highlighted by a 25-yard run by Mohamed Ibrahim on 3rd-and-3 and capped by a 1-yard Ibrahim run, to take a 7-3 advantage.
The Buckeyes took the lead back before the end of the first quarter, as Terry McLaurin caught a 41-yard touchdown pass on a deep ball from Haskins to put Ohio State back ahead, 10-7.
Minnesota marched right down the field for another 75-yard touchdown drive on its next series, though, once again capped off by an Ibrahim touchdown run, this time from three yards out.
After J.K. Dobbins was stuffed on 4th-and-1 on the Buckeyes’ next possession, Minnesota threatened to take a two-score lead, immediately moving past midfield on the first play of its next series on a 34-yard run by Ibrahim. The Buckeyes got off the field, however, when Shaun Wade forced a fumble after a catch by Tyler Johnson that was recovered by Jeffrey Okudah.
|609||NET TOTAL YARDS||406|
|2.9||AVERAGE PER RUSH||5.4|
|12.5||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||16.8|
|6||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||7|
|20||PASSING 1st DOWNS||10|
|3||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||2|
|6.6||YARDS PER PLAY||7.1|
|0 (0)||TURNOVERS (DEF PTS OFF)||3 (10)|
Hill made a spectacular one-handed grab en route to the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown to put the Buckeyes ahead 17-14 on their ensuing possession. But that would prove to be the final score of the first half; after forcing the first punt of the game by either team with 1:31 left to play in the second quarter, the Buckeyes were unable to get back into the scoring position before the first-half clock hit zeroes.
Holding on to just a three-point lead after leading by just eight points over Indiana at halftime last week, Ohio State was booed on its way into the locker room for halftime.
The Buckeyes scored the first points of the second half with 7:10 to play in the third quarter, when Blake Haubeil – kicking field goals for the first time in his Ohio State career in place of Sean Nuernberger, who missed Saturday’s game with what was described as a “minor strain” – drilled a 47-yard field goal to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 20-14.
Those would be the only points of the third quarter, as Minnesota’s Emmit Carpenter missed a 32-yard field goal attempt wide right with 1:06 left to play before the fourth quarter after Justin Hilliard knocked down a pass attempt on 3rd-and-6 to make a crucial stop for the Ohio State defense.
Ohio State finally took a two-score lead with 10:20 to play in the fourth quarter, when Haubeil hit a 27-yard field goal after the Buckeyes were forced to settle for three points once again in the red zone.
On Minnesota’s subsequent possession, Isaiah Pryor – who had been substituted out of the game earlier after several missed plays – intercepted a deep ball by Zack Annexstad to preserve the Buckeyes’ nine-point lead.
Another missed field goal by Carpenter on the Gophers’ next series, this time from 49 yards out, preserved the Buckeyes’ second-half defensive shutout.
Ohio State finally scored its only touchdown of the second half with just 2:15 to play in the game when Haskins completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Hill for their second scoring connection of the day.
Haskins finished Saturday's game with 33 completions on 44 attempts for 412 passing yards and three touchdowns – tying his own school single-game record for pass completions, set just last week against Indiana – while Hill caught nine passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
- Several former Ohio State players were on hand for Saturday's game including J.T. Barrett, Michael Thomas, Jamarco Jones and Cameron Johnston.
- Isaiah Prince, Tuf Borland, Jordan Fuller and Terry McLaurin are Saturday's game captains.
- True freshman safety Marcus Hooker made his Ohio State debut on Saturday, starting on the kickoff team.
- Defensive end Jashon Cornell and outside linebacker Justin Hilliard made their first career starts for the Buckeyes in place of Jonathon Cooper and Malik Harrison, who both missed the game after spending time this week in concussion protocol.
- Sheffield's interception was his second of the season.
- Ohio State's 1968 national championship team was honored between the first and second quarters.
- Minnesota defensive back Coney Durr was disqualified for targeting after a late hit to Dwayne Haskins' head on a slide.
- 100,042 was the announced attendance for Saturday's game.
- Thayer Munford left the game with an injury in the third quarter after being rolled up on and did not return. Joshua Alabi replaced him at left tackle.
- Saturday was Haskins' fifth 300-yard passing performance this season, already the second-most ever in an Ohio State season, and his second 400-yard game in a row, making him the first Ohio State quarterback with two 400-yard games.
- The win was the Buckeyes’ 12th in a row, marking the second-longest winning streak in FBS.
- Ohio State improved to 24-3 all-time against Minnesota in Columbus.
- Haskins has at least two touchdown passes in each game this season and at least three in six of seven contests. He has 28 scoring strikes on the year against just four interceptions.
- McLaurin’s 41-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was his seventh touchdown reception of the year, tying Parris Campbell for the team lead.
- Hill extended his streak of games with a reception to 27 contests. Hill has at least four receptions in every game this season.
- With another punt downed inside the 20-yard line on his only attempt today, 16 of Drue Chrisman’s 25 punts on the season have been pinned inside the 20.
- Farrell’s 24-yard reception in the fourth quarter marked a career long.
- Pryor’s fourth-quarter interception was the first of his career.
- Jordan Fuller set a career-high with 12 tackles while Pryor had a career-best five stops and Pete Werner tallied a career-high eight tackles.
- Justin Hilliard notched a career-best two pass breakups.