|""I challenge any team in the country that wants to, go ahead and schedule this one in November whatever it is against a very good team. Have at it."" Urban Meyer on Minnesota after the game|
What he said: “I’d like to see any team in the country come up here and do this. Play here in November, against a very good team. Have at it.”
What it means: “I’d like to see an SEC team come up here and do this.”
@BrewDoodCMH: This game won’t impress the Committee, but I'd like to see the SEC play once in the snow. Just once.
Ohio State at Minnesota a trap? No - score was close, game wasn't: 5 Ari Wasserman Observations
November 16, 2014 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - Before you go back and look at our post from last week mocking the idea that Ohio State's game at Minnesota could be a trap, realize one thing. This wasn't a trap. Forget that Ohio State won 31-24 on the road and there was a late onside kick involved that may or may not have made fans panic. But the closest thing about the game was the score.
That may sound strange, but Ohio State was never in real danger of losing to a Minnesota team that's clearly inferior, even if the coaches and players spent a good portion of their postgame news conferences talking about the Gophers' grit. The reason why the score was close was about bad turnovers – two specifically from Jalin Marshall.
The first was when Marshall fumbled a ball into the end zone as he was on his way to scoring in the second quarter, then Minnesota went on to score on the ensuing possession.
Late in the game when the Buckeyes already had the game locked up with a 17-point lead, Marshall muffed a punt that hit him in the chest inside Ohio State's 20. Two plays later, Minnesota was in the end zone.
So there's an argument that the game was 21 points closer because of two physical errors. Mistakes are part of the game, sure, but this was nothing like the 2009 Purdue game for which the Buckeyes showed up completely out of sync.
Ohio State out-gained the Minnesota by nearly 200 yards. Nobody got overlooked.
Ohio State was just so much better than Minnesota that critical errors weren't enough to cost it the game.
2. Curtis Samuel should see the field more: The freshman running back returned a kick in this game and he almost got to midfield. I've written all year about how he runs with a special type of intensity, so I'm surprised that he doesn't get onto the field more. Here's a crazy idea now that Marshall has found struggles as a punt returner – how about Samuel?
3. Let's put Marshall's struggles into perspective: He's the popular goat from the game because of his two turnovers, but Marshall's emergence as a playmaker in Ohio State's offense has been crucial, especially now that the Buckeyes are without Dontre Wilson, who is out with a broken foot. Marshall's upside is clear, and he runs just as hard as anyone on the team. He may have struggled, but these aren't mistakes that should linger into the next game.
4. The curious case of Devin Smith: He can be the most valuable player on Ohio State's team one game, and not have a reception the next game. It's interesting, but that's kind of been the story of his career.
5. Vonn Bell making plays: Just ask the sophomore safety what he's all about, he'll look at you with a smile and say, "Just make plays, baby." Though he has struggled at times this season, he does always seem to be where the ball is. He had a crucial pick to help Ohio State seal the game, and his continued involvement in forcing turnovers needs to be noticed. You can't teach playmaking ability, and he seems to have it.
|Barrett's Running, Passing Confounds Gophers Source: Bucknuts ... |
Barrett, No. 8 Ohio State outlast Minnesota 31-24
November 15, 2014 Source: OSU Official Site - Buckeyes improve to 9-1 overall, 6-0 in the B1G
J.T. Barrett threw for three touchdowns and ran for an Ohio State quarterback-record 189 yards and another score, helping the eighth-ranked Buckeyes overcome three turnovers and wintry weather to beat Minnesota 31-24 on Saturday afternoon.
Barrett completed 15 of 25 passes for 200 yards and one interception, another stellar performance for the freshman following last week's rout of Michigan State.
Barrett's rushing total topped Braxton Miller's 186 yards against Nebraska on Oct. 6, 2012, and Ohio State stayed on track in pursuit of a place in the College Football Playoff.
Jalin Marshall had 107 total yards for the Buckeyes (9-1, 6-0 Big Ten, No. 8 CFP), but he lost two fumbles to give the Gophers (7-3, 4-2, No. 25 CFP) a chance to come back.
David Cobb ran 27 times for 145 yards and three touchdowns, but Minnesota didn't quite do enough to avoid a 37th loss in 39 games against Ohio State since 1966.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun forced two turnovers for the Gophers in the coldest kickoff, 15 degrees, in six seasons at TCF Bank Stadium. The lowest temperature in more than a half-century for a Buckeyes game featured snowflakes collecting on coach Urban Meyer's uncovered head on the sideline.
Whether in wintry or summer-like conditions, though, Ohio State has the fastest team in the Big Ten. The 12th-ranked Spartans and their otherwise-dominant defense learned that lesson last week.
On third-and-1 on the second possession for the Buckeyes, Barrett kept the ball on a read-option play and burst through the line into a wide-open secondary for an 86-yard run, the longest by an Ohio State quarterback.
Minutes later, on third-and-7, Barrett slide-stepped to his left to elude the rush and put an off(equals)balance throw in stride for Marshall sprinting across the middle as safety Cedric Thompson dived to break up the pass and missed. Marshall turned up the field for the 57-yard untouched score.
Barrett has accounted for 38 touchdowns, 34 since the loss at home to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6.
The Buckeyes were driving again when Minnesota reversed the momentum. Like a center fielder, Boddy-Calhoun caught up to a long pass at the 5 before whirling around and weaving his way for a 56-yard return of the interception. Five punishing carries by Cobb later, the Gophers were in the end zone.
Then midway through the second quarter, Marshall caught a shovel pass on a sweep from the 7 and was on the verge of another touchdown when Boddy-Calhoun lowered his shoulder at the goal line and popped the ball out. DeVondre Campbell covered it in the end zone for the touchback.
The Gophers went 80 yards the other way, converting a fourth-and-3 and then scoring on a display of confidence in their power running attack with a 30-yard rumble by Cobb on third-and-15 that tied the game at 14 with 1:24 left before halftime.
For Minnesota's shivering fans, waiting so long for a breakthrough in the Big Ten, this proved to be the peak of the afternoon. The Buckeyes, aided by a pass interference penalty, hustled in position for a short field goal by Sean Nuernberger on the last play of the half.
Given another break when Doran Grant's interception return for a touchdown was negated by his pass interference infraction, the Gophers watched a 52-yard field goal try by Ryan Santoso soar through the snow with plenty of distance but bounce off the left upright.
Barrett responded by finding Michael Thomas wide open for a 30-yard score, and Mitch Leidner was picked off on consecutive possessions. The Buckeyes followed the second one with a 22-yard catch and run by Evan Spencer on third-and-12 to push the lead to 17 points.
Marshall's fumbled punt return gave Minnesota the ball at the 14, and Cobb returned to the end zone to bring the Gophers closer as the clock moved under 8 minutes remaining.
But Barrett helped the Buckeyes make sure the Gophers didn't get closer, roaming right for 6 yards on third-and-5 during the next drive to put the Gophers in a big hole.
Santoso made a 34-yarder with 1:19 left to make it 31-24, but Ohio State recovered the onside kick.
Grant and Vonn Bell had the interceptions of Leidner, who finished 7 for 19 for 85 yards.
Ohio State officials searched records since 1960 and found a 20-degree game against Michigan in 1964 was the previous low temperature.
Source: USA Today
Ohio State vs Minnesota (Nov 15, 2014) Source: OSU Official Site
Scoring Summary, Team Statistics, Individual Statistics, Drive Chart, Defensive Statistics, Game Participation,
Box Score, Play-by-Play, Play breakdown
It was over when... Ohio State recovered an onside kick with 1:23 left to play up by 7. The Buckeyes once led by 17 with just over 10 minutes left, but the Gophers rallied and made OSU work for the win.
Gameball goes to... Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett. He broke three school records: most TDs in a season (38), most rushing yards by a QB in a game (189) and longest run by a QB (86 yards).
Stat of the game... 11. The number of yards Barrett needed to become the first Buckeye to record a 200-200 game. He finished with 189 yards rushing and 200 yards passing.
• • •
Offensive MVP J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: He passed for 200 yards and three touchdowns, and added 189 yards rushing, including an 86-yard touchdown sprint.
Defensive MVP Joey Bosa, Ohio State: He was his usual disruptive self, with seven tackles, including 1½ sacks and 2½ tackles for loss.
21, 7 Points off turnovers for Gophers, Buckeyes.
4 Sacks taken by the Gophers, including one on KJ Maye.
• • •
• The win extends Ohio State's regular season Big Ten-record win streak to 22 games.
• Ohio State has now won 13 consecutive games on the road, the longest active streak in the FBS.
• Ohio State has won 24 of the last 25 games with Minnesota. They lead the all-time series, 43-7.
• Ohio State's offense racked up 489 total yards, 154 more than Minnesota had allowed per game coming into Saturday (335.3).
• QB J.T. Barrett carried 17 times for 189 yards, a record for an Ohio State QB, breaking Braxton Miller's record of 186 in 2012 vs. Nebraska.
• Barrett's 86-yard TD run in the first half was the longest by an Ohio State QB in program history. The previous long was 81 by Braxton Miller in 2011 vs. Indiana. Barrett's run also was the third-longest overall in program history.
• Barrett's 57-yard TD pass to Jalin Marshall in the first quarter was a career-long for Marshall and Barrett's seventh completion of at least 50 yards this season.
• Barrett finished the game 15 of 25 for 200 yards passing and three TDs, his eighth game this season with multiple TD passes.
• Barrett's 38 TDs responsible for this season are a school record, breaking Braxton Miller's record of 36 set last season.
• Barrett's 38 touchdowns responsible for in his first 10 games are the most by an FBS player - who debuted in the last 10 seasons - through their first 10 career games. Source: ESPN Stats & Info
• Barrett has been responsible for at least four touchdowns in six of 10 games this season.
• Barrett has now thrown 29 TDs on the season, one shy of Troy Smith's record of 30 in 2006.
• Barrett has now thrown 26 TD passes with only four INTs in the last eight games.
• Urban Meyer is now 37-3 in the month of November since the start of the 2003 season.
• The Buckeyes improve to 33-3 (.916) under Meyer and have the second-highest winning percentage among FBS teams since the start of the 2012 season.
• DL Joey Bosa finished with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 TFL. He now has 11.5 sacks on the season, more than any Big Ten player had all of last season.
• CB Doran Grant recorded his third INT of the season and the seventh of his career.
• DB Vonn Bell also picked off a pass, his third of the season and the fourth of his career.
• Ohio State leads the Big Ten with 16 INTs on the season.
• Coach Urban Meyer is now 28-12 in his career against Top 25 teams. He is 7-2 against Top 25 teams at Ohio State.
• The 15-degree temperature at kickoff marked the coldest kickoff on record for an Ohio State game since the 1964 Michigan game (20 degrees). It also was the coldest kickoff in the history of TCF Bank Stadium.
• • •
THE STAR: J.T. Barrett, who passed for 200 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 189 yards, the most ever by an Ohio State quarterback. That total included an 86-yard TD run, the longest ever by an OSU quarterback. He’s already responsible for the most touchdowns (passing and running) in a season in school history with 38, and is one short of Troy Smith’s school season record for TD passes (30).
TURNING POINT: It should have been the 22-yard TD pass from Barrett to Evan Spencer that put OSU up 31-14 with 10:08 left. But Minnesota turned a muffed punt by Jalin Marshall into a TD, and drove to a field goal 1:19 to play. That meant the turning point was OSU tight end Jeff Heuerman doing a bear hug on the ensuing Minnesota onside kick attempt.
REPERCUSSIONS: Heisman Trophy voters will take note of Barrett’s nearly 400-yard total offense day. But the No.8 Buckeyes better hope the College Football Playoff committee knew it was lightly snowing in temperatures in the mid- to high-teens, and understand that a couple of turnovers made it tighter than it should have been. But most folks are going to take it for what it was, a 7-point win that should have been bigger.
Numbers for dummies
3: Braxton Miller records that Barrett broke vs. Minnesota: longest run by a quarterback (86 > 81), most rushing yards by a quarterback in a game (189 > 186) and most touchdowns responsible for in a season (38 > 36)
10: Degrees at kickoff for the Snow Bowl (Nov.25, 1950), the coldest game at Ohio Stadium (and 5 degrees colder than at TCF Bank Stadium). Wind chill that day made it feel like minus-8, according to the National Weather Service.
Sources: ESPN, Minneapolis Pioneer Press, OSU Official Site, Columbus Dispatch
|JT Barrett 86-YD TD Run
The voice of the Buckeyes, Pauls Keels, follows JT Barrett into the end zone on the longest Ohio State QB TD rush ever: Listen
Buckeyes Sing Carmen Ohio after Minnesota
|OSU holds off Minnesota: Jon Spencer's report card|
November 15, 2014 Source: Mansfield News Journal -
OFFENSIVE LINE GRADE: A
Minnesota linebacker Damien Wilson came in ranked second in the Big Ten in average tackles per game, but the front five did a nice job of shielding J.T. Barrett from him and the rest of the Gophers. And they paved the way to another impressive ground assault as the Buckeyes beat Minnesota at its own game, 289 to 218 yards rushing. Ohio State finished with 489 yards total offense, averaging eight yards per pass and 7.6 yards per rush.
RUNNING GAME GRADE: A
Giving the Gophers an early taste of their own medicine, J.T. Barrett scored on an 86-yard run, the longest ever from scrimmage by an OSU quarterback. Not sure how he galloped away from the entire Minnesota secondary, but he did. "Pretty good for a guy who runs a 5.5 40 (yard dash) ... and has a big tail," joked Urban Meyer. Barrett also had a 38-yard run as he again showed that he is effective, if not as dynamic a ballcarrier as his predecessor. Barrett finished with 189 yards on 17 carries and Ezekiel Elliott quietly put together a solid game (91 yards, 18 carries), keeping the defense from keying on Barrett.
PASSING GAME GRADE: B
J.T. Barrett, wearing gloves, pretty much looked like J.T. Barrett, sans gloves. He was 15 of 25 for 200 and threw three more touchdown passes. He would have had two more if not for the strike that bounced off Michael Thomas' chest and Jalin Marshall's fumble at the goal line. Thomas atoned with a 30-yard TD on a blown coverage. Marshall also turned a modest pass into 57-yard TD, but his trouble with ball security is making it harder to trust his use. Evan Spencer, who does all the little things that go unnoticed, got some face time by taking a screen pass 22 yards for a score. Devin Smith, remember him? He hasn't been heard from since his breakout first half at Michigan State.
DEFENSIVE LINE GRADE: B
Joey Bosa missed a tackle on the first of David Cobb's three TD runs, but plenty of people whiff on Cobb, who has rushed for over 1,300 yards this season. Bosa did have a sack and another tackle for loss after getting stymied last week by Michigan State's double- and triple-teams. Cobb finished with 145 yards on 27 carries, but the Buckeyes' front seven did a nice job of rattling quarterback Mitch Leidner into two second-half interceptions.
LINEBACKERS GRADE: C
Josh Perry, Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan all spent time in the Gophers' backfield, but when a team runs the ball as much as Minnesota you'd like to think they'd knock the ball loose at least once. David Cobb made the entire defense look bad on a 30-yard touchdown run. It came on third-and-15 when it looked like the Gophers were going to settle for coming out of that drive with a field goal. A decent performance, given the position turnovers put the defense in, but the game was much closer than it should have been, and you wonder if the College Football Playoff committee will penalize the Buckeyes for not winning in more convincing fashion.
DEFENSIVE BACKS GRADE: C
Anything the OSU secondary did wrong was going to pale compared to the Gophers' backfield failing to catch J.T. Barrett on his 86-yard touchdown run. Doran Grant and Vonn Bell had big interceptions in the second half and Grant had a pick-six called back by a questionable pass interference call. I seem to say this every week, but he's just not the shut-down guy many of us expected. He was beaten on a pass overthrown at the goal line and also got beat all the way downfield by tight end Maxx Williams for a 36-yard gain, before bailing himself out with a pick.
SPECIAL TEAMS GRADE: D
A terrible onside kick took all the drama out of the final minute with good-hands Jeff Heuerman falling on the ball dribbled right at him. Even with Dontre Wilson out for at least the regular season with a broken foot, the Buckeyes need to yank Jalin Marshall off punt returns. He muffed two more Saturday, one leading to a touchdown. And that doesn't include his fumbled reception at the goal-line that turned into a 14-point swing. To keep using him back there, despite his obvious elusiveness and special abilities, is just being bullheaded. Put Curtis Samuel or Devin Smith back there. Cameron Johnston didn't have one of his better games. Doesn't deal with a lot of snow in Australia, after all.
COACHING GRADE: A minus
Urban Meyer talked about all the red flags — the 11 a.m. start, the weather, playing a top 25 team on the road — and the Buckeyes gutted it out. If not for the turnovers, which can't be blamed on the coaching staff, this is a blowout. The braintrust did a nice job of having the Buckeyes ready after last week's emotional slugfest with Michigan State. The defense surrendered three touchdowns, but two came on short fields after turnovers. There's a reason Ohio State has won 22 consecutive Big Ten regular season games. Critics can harp about the weak league competition in general, but Meyer doesn't allow the Buckeyes to lose focus or get snared in a "trap" game.
• • •
Ohio State vs. Minnesota: The Bottom Line
November 15, 2014 Source: Columbus Dispatch -
Offense (3 leaves)
Things are obviously going well when the quarterback nearly has a 200-200 day running and throwing the ball. Yet the lasting impression is that of a death-by-paper-cuts list of mistakes including wobbly throws, dropped passes and fumbles into the end zone. In other words, good could have been great.
Defense (3 leaves)
Let it be said that the OSU offense did no favors for the defense, which allowed three Minnesota touchdowns after exactly three Buckeyes turnovers. But it also is true that the ball-hawks didn’t always force the issue, especially when big back David Cobb worked up a head of steam.
Special teams (1 leaf)
Anyone who thought it was cold in the stands should check out how frosty it gets in the film room when coaches grade this clunker. The Buckeyes’ punting was weak, and they had only one decent return, which was way more than offset by a flubbed fair catch. At least the onside kick went right.
Coaching (3 leaves)
Time and again, the Buckeyes looked like they would flex their muscles and waltz away with a road win to impress the playoff pickers. And then they would drop a barbell on their foot. Considering the nasty weather, securing the victory was the main goal. But OSU can’t exactly afford to leave style points on the table.
Opponent (3 leaves)
It’s no stretch to say that Minnesota will be the second-best Big Ten team Ohio State sees in the regular season, behind Michigan State. Power running pays the bills, but the Gophers could be that much more dangerous if they could develop a consistent passing threat.
Officiating (3 leaves)
Gophers coach Jerry Kill went half-unhinged about a pass-interference call against his team, although he might have been arguing against any call that prolonged the freezing afternoon.
• • •
Ohio State Stock Market Report: Minnesota
November 15, 2014 Source: Land-Grant Holy Land -
Blue Chip Stocks:
J.T. Barrett, QB: Can we start talking about J.T. Barrett as a legitimate Heisman candidate without sounding like major homers yet? The Texas native, in his first college game played in frigid conditions, had a monster day that should get people across the country taking notice. Barrett's 189 yards on the ground were a school record for a QB. 86 of those yards came on a single play, with Barrett opening the scoring early on a play that showed off his ability to evade defenders in space.
Barrett looked shaky in the second quarter -- at one point he had five consecutive incompletions -- but he overcame those bad looks to put together a really complete game at the helm. Ohio State's do-it-all leader finished with 389 total yards and accounted for 4 touchdowns. It's time for the rest of the country to find out what we already know: J.T. Barrett is really good at this whole football thing.
Joey Bosa, DE: Despite not recording a sack last week in East Lansing, Joey Bosa still led the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for loss heading into Saturday's tilt in Minnesota. Safe to say that he built on that margin this weekend. Had Bosa spent any more time in the Gophers' backfield, he would have needed to start paying rent. The king of shrugs blew up a number of plays before they could even begin, bringing down Mitch Leidner and David Cobb without prejudice. I've already spent a number of words in this column stumping for J.T. Barrett as a legitimate Heisman candidate...but you could convince me that Bosa deserves to be on that podium too.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB: Elliott wasn't the Buckeyes' leading rusher on Saturday -- that honor went to J.T. Barrett -- but he quietly strung together a very nice day on the ground. Elliott finished with 91 yards on 18 carries, good for 5.1 yards a pop. Ohio State's throwback rusher provided a great change of pace between the tackles. Saturday showed that the Buckeyes can still tear it up in the running game without leaning too heavily on Elliott, which will force upcoming opponents to gameplan differently. It's also not a bad idea to give Elliott a breather once in awhile and save his legs for the final push this season. He's been a workhorse all year, and the team will need that come bowl (or playoff!) time.
Vonn Bell, DB: We have our first (positive) appearance by an Ohio State defensive back on the Stock Market Report this season! Save for a pass interference penalty, Bell had a fantastic day in coverage, pulling in an interception and recording several pass breakups. You could easily convince me that Bell's counterpart Doran Grant deserves to be here as well (he also had an INT and a few batted passes), but it feels like we heard Bell's name an awful lot on Saturday.
Jalin Marshall, H-Back: There's no way around this one. Marshall is an incredibly talented player with a bright future in Columbus, but today was one of the worst single performances by a Buckeye all season. Marshall did have the team's second touchdown, a 56-yard catch-and-run, and actually led the team in receiving yards, but those moments stood out far less than his huge mistakes on Saturday.
Marshall fumbled the ball away into the endzone on a play that would have put the team up big early, and possibly compounded the mistake by getting to the loose ball just after Evan Spencer--the extra contact might have helped the ball to scoot away and into Gopher hands. Marshall had a few questionable decisions on punt returns, and muffed one right into the arms of a Minnesota defender late in the game. When you're backed up that far, you have to let a ball like that go, and the young return man doubled down on mistakes at a crucial stage of the game. Marshall will undoubtedly learn from today (wipe those two mistakes away and we're talking about him as one of the best players on Saturday, with two scores), but his most recent performance will be one to forget.
BUY: Tom Herman playcalling. The offensive coordinator's genius was on display during what ended up being the most meaningful touchdown of the day -- a third down screen pass to Evan Spencer that he took to the house from 22 yards out. That score put the Buckeyes up 31-14, and though they bent, they did not break. Really, this was a perfect playcall from Herman, set to perfectly exploit a favorable matchup and an aggressive Minnesota front seven. Spencer had been a non-factor all afternoon, and his only grab of the day turned out to be the most important catch of the day.
SELL: Laundry on the field. This marked the second game in a row that things got sloppy for a team that has prided itself on discipline all season. The Buckeyes committed four penalties on the day to the tune of 49 yards, including a defensive pass interference call that negated a pick-6 that would have turned the game ugly early in the second half. I know four isn't a huge number, but the penalties that were committed did materially impact the game and keep Minnesota close enough to stay competitive.
BUY: Ohio State's pass defense. Really! Wherefore the maligned pass defense of September and October? Kerry Coombs seems to have gotten his defensive backs into form, and the schemes laid out by Luke Fickell and Chris Ash are starting play to this secondary's strengths. Minnesota is obviously a bad passing team, but the secondary made big plays in coverage all afternoon and avoided the big plays that have doomed them so often this year. They held Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner to 85 yards on 7-of-19 passing with two interceptions to show for it.
November 15, 2014 Source: Minnesota Official Site - Jerry Kill, Minnesota Head Coach
On Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and Minnesota’s play…
“He’s certainly very good, but they’ve got athleticism everywhere on the football field. He’s a very, very good player—I’ve said that before. Braxton Miller is a great player—I’ve said he’s one of the better ones in the country if he wasn’t the best—and this kid is every bit of that and more because of his ability to throw the football. He’s a heck of a player and they’ve got a good football team, but at the same time, we made some mistakes today. If we don’t make those mistakes, it’s a different ball game. I think that’s why we’re a little bit upset. … There were some frustrating things that we normally don’t do, but we can control our own destiny. We were going to have to win our last two (games) no matter what the outcome was. We can’t have a hangover—we’ve got to be ready to play. We played hard, we just didn’t play smart all the time.”
On the Gophers’ third quarter…
“It was a pretty emotional game and my head is spinning right now, but there were a lot of things that spun in the game. I thought we did a good job. We tried to shorten the game. We knew they were good on offense and (tried to) keep them on the boundary as much as we could. We did everything in the first half, except we made some mental errors. … Our kids played hard and Mitch (Leidner) gave us a chance to win, but we made three or four critical errors that really hurt us.”
On the Buckeyes’ defense…
“You can look out there on the field and anyone that’s got good eye sight (can see) that they don’t have one or two guys that are going to play in the NFL, three quarters of their team is. They’ve got great athletes and the big thing is they’ve got a secondary that can man you up, their safeties can play soft, so they’ll make it hard for you to throw the football, and then they can play the run with seven guys in the box—sometimes six. When you can do that and you can play pass coverage and you hold up, you did a pretty good job. We ran the ball some and did some pretty good things, but we made some critical errors that didn’t allow us to sustain drives. I said last week that last week, we didn’t have any third and longs. They got us in third and long and you don’t want to be third and long against them. The kids played hard—there’s no doubt about that—but we didn’t do the little things you need to do to beat Ohio State. You’ve got to play mistake-free football and you can’t have mental errors…” ...
The Buckeyes are headed north to Minneapolis to take on the Gophers of Minnesota Source: Ohio State Football
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Ohio State, fresh from a dismantling of Michigan State's defense, has surged forward in the push for a place in the College Football Playoff. If the Buckeyes can avoid a letdown at Minnesota, they'll have a smooth path to the Big Ten championship with home games against Indiana and Michigan to follow. The Gophers also have their sights set on a spot in the conference title game, with a three-way tie for first place in the West Division, and an upset here would be a huge boost toward that goal.
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett against the weather. The Gophers have a decent defense, having held Iowa to 205 total yards in a 51-14 blowout of the Hawkeyes last week. They're fifth in the conference in points allowed and second in interceptions. Just as important will be Barrett's ability to keep his feet and keep the Buckeyes offense humming on an afternoon with a forecast high of 26 degrees and a chance of snow.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ohio State: WR Devin Smith is second in the Big Ten with eight touchdown catches, coming off a stellar performance against the Spartans in which he had six receptions for 129 yards.
Minnesota: RB David Cobb, playing his last home game, is third in the FBS in carries per game with 25.2. The Gophers are 9-2 when he reaches 100 yards rushing or more.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Buckeyes are 36-2 against the Gophers since losing at Minnesota in 1966. The only wins by the Gophers in that span were in 1981 at home and in 2000 at Ohio State. ... Smith has 26 career TD catches, one behind Cris Carter for second place on Ohio State's all-time list. David Boston (34) is the leader. ... The Gophers are 6-0 at home. The last season they won all their home games was 1967.
November 12, 2014 Source: ESPN - Trevor Matich and Todd McShay make their picks as Minnesota looks to keep riding momentum to an upset over Ohio State, which is trying to keep their playoff hopes alive.
• • •
Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech in J.T. Barrett's second career start, but since then the Buckeyes have had the most efficient offense in FBS.
Ohio State Offense Since Loss to Virginia Tech
| || ||FBS Rank|
|Points PG|| 51.3||1st|
|1st downs PG|| 29.6||1st|
Ohio State has won 12 straight road games since Urban Meyer took over as head coach in 2012. It represents the longest active road win streak in the FBS and is one win shy of tying the longest such streak in Ohio State history (13 straight from 2005-07). Ohio State's last loss in a true road game came in the 2011 regular season finale at Michigan (final road game before Urban Meyer became head coach).
Minnesota has not beaten an AP top-10 team at home since 1977 when it beat No. 1 Michigan. Since then, the Gophers have lost 20 straight games against AP top-10 teams at home. This is the 13th time that Minnesota has hosted a top-10 Ohio State team. The Gophers lost all 12 previous times.
Ohio State topped both the 40-point and the 500-yard marks in last week's win over Michigan State, the sixth time the Buckeyes have reached both plateaus in the same game this season (T-second most in FBS). Ohio State has 15 such games in three seasons under Urban Meyer after recording nine such games in 11 seasons under Jim Tressel/Luke Fickell from 2001-11.
|Five key factors for OSU victory|
November 14, 2014 Source: Columbus Dispatch -
1. Wake up, dress warm
The Buckeyes have played three straight night games, and this one kicks off at 11 a.m. local time. The temperature will be in the 20s (at best) with a chance of snow. Ohio State is coming off an emotional win and is playing an opponent that has been mediocre in recent years. Any of those factors could be important. The Buckeyes have to make sure they aren’t. Coach Jerry Kill’s Minnesota team isn’t Tim Brewster’s Gophers, and the Buckeyes must have the same emotional push for this game as they had in East Lansing.
2. Contain the run
David Cobb will get his yards. The Minnesota running back has blossomed as a senior into a rugged runner. Ohio State’s run defense was shaky last week against Michigan State after being solid all season. It has to tackle Cobb better than it did Jeremy Langford and the other Spartans running backs. Even when the Buckeyes had Langford hemmed in, too often he would squirt free for additional yardage.
3. Defend Maxx Williams
Minnesota’s receivers aren’t special, but its tight end is. Williams is coming off a monster game against Iowa and leads Big Ten tight ends in touchdowns (seven) and yards per game (40.8). Ohio State’s linebackers and safeties can’t lose track of him.
4. Punch it in
Ohio State has been inconsistent offensively in the red zone, but the Buckeyes were successful in cashing in against Michigan State. That will have to continue against a Gophers defense that ranks 21st nationally overall but tied for 116th in red-zone defense.
5. Develop backups
Coach Urban Meyer hasn’t been pleased with the development of some of the backups, including those on the defensive line. On a cold day against a physical team, having backups ready to fill in for Michael Bennett and Adolphus Washington is important. On offense, Jalin Marshall can take over the hybrid position full time now that Dontre Wilson is injured. But it would be helpful to get Curtis Samuel more involved, and even a receiver such as Corey Smith.
Meyer On Minnesota: 'They are real rugged'
November 12, 2014 Source: Bucknuts - The predicted gametime temperature is for about 25 degrees on Saturday in Minneapolis. But Meyer said he isn’t sweating it.
“I don’t even talk about it,” he said. “We’ve played a couple of cold games already, so it’s no big deal.”
Meyer said his Buckeyes (8-1, 5-0) will have their hands full with the Gophers (7-2, 4-1), who are tied for the Big Ten Western Division lead.
“We’ve got a tough game. I have to give that Minnesota team a lot of credit. They are rugged guys who play really hard. All phases of special teams, it’s either us or them ranked one or two. They are a really good team.”
When told Minnesota is ranked 25th in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings, Meyer said, “Oh, I think they are much higher than that. When I see them play, I think they’re pretty good.”
Minnesota has quietly built a respectable defense. The Gophers are ranked 21st nationally in total defense (335.3 ypg) and 15th in passing efficiency defense.
“They are real rugged,” Meyer said. “I think it’s just an upper level, probably top three or four maybe two or three defensive lines in the Big Ten conference.” ...
November 12, 2014 Source: The Ozone - Head Coach Urban Meyer, Junior OL Taylor Decker, Junior OL Jacoby Boren and Freshman H-Back Jalin Marshall spoke with reporters following practice on Wednesday. Check out what they had to say!
Two-Minute Drill: Post-Practice Updates from Wednesday Nov 12
November 12, 2014 Source: The Ozone - Following Wednesday's practice, Urban Meyer spoke with the media, as did players Jacoby Boren, Taylor Decker, and Jalin Marshall. Here are the highlights.
Urban Meyer Updates
+ Meyer said he doesn't even talk to his team about the cold heading to Minnesota this weekend. "No issue."
+ Injuries: Dontre Wilson is out; Craig Fada is gimpy, but should play; Armani Reeves is back practicing, but not yet full go; Bri'onte Dunn is close.
+ The team has practiced well this week and there doesn't appear to be any signs of a let down.
+ Meyer said he thinks Minnesota is much better than their No. 25 ranking in the CFP ranking. They have a top 2-4 defensive line in the Big Ten.
+ Meyer said he has a lot of respect for Jerry Kill because he has won at every level and he does it the right way.
Jacoby Boren, Taylor Decker, and Jalin Marshall Updates...
Two-Minute Drill: Updates from the Nov 11 Urban Meyer Teleconference
November 11, 2014 Source: The Ozone - Urban Meyer spoke on the Big Ten Coaches Teleconference about last week's win over Michigan State and the upcoming game at Minnesota.
Urban Meyer Updates
+ Meyer says they spend every second of their day making sure they don't ever fall into a trap game. Minnesota's performance last week against Iowa is something that should keep them pretty focused. There is plenty of good video tape to show the team regarding Minnesota.
+ Meyer said his focus isn't on style points, it's on winning games and keeping players healthy.
+ Meyer was asked about going back to Dontre Wilson even after his struggles. He said he never had a lack of effort and so they went back to him. Mistakes will happen, but if there's a lack of effort, then you yank him out. "I never want to have a place where people are scared to make a mistake."
+ Meyer said both teams have to deal with the weather on Saturday so he doesn't see it as an advantage for anybody. "That's part of the game."
+ There was a miscommunication on the play towards the end of the game where J.T. Barrett threw the ball away. Meyer said that was his fault. He wanted to call a kneel down, but they needed to burn six seconds in the process. There was chaos on the sideline and his headset got knocked off and that's when he heard the "Launch" play call, which was the pass play. It wasn't supposed to happen.
+ "We could have played much better in that game on Saturday."
+ Meyer said Minnesota has a similar defense to what they see a lot. They set out to stop the run first. They have big guys on the inside, speed guys on the outside and they play press coverage.
+ Asked about J.T. Barrett as a person, Meyer said that he has a relentless approach to everything he does. From being a quarterback, to a student, to whatever. "He's just relentless. He falls into the mode of a Tebow or Alex Smith as far as his preparation."
Michael Thomas talks about his TD versus MSU and looks ahead to Minnesota.
Two-Minute Drill: Monday Updates from the Ohio State Coaches
November 10, 2014 Source: The Ozone -
Urban Meyer Updates
+ Meyer said that he was very proud of his team. "A young team grew up tonight."
+ Meyer started by saying he was proud of the effort and performance of his team. "You celebrate it and you learn from it." Now you look forward to the next one.
+ Defensive champions: Vonn Bell, Michael Bennett and the player of the game was Doran Grant. Offense: Evan Spencer ("He is my MVP."), Jalin Marshall, Mike Thomas, Jeff Heuerman, Pat Elflein and Billy Price. The players of the game were J.T. Barrett, Jacoby Boren, Ezekiel Elliott, and Devin Smith. Smith's best game.
+ Meyer said Michael Thomas is routinely grading well in his responsibilities off of the field and that wasn't always the case. The family has supported what Meyer has set forth for Thomas.
+ Special teams player of the week was Evan Spencer. Also Corey Smith received mention for coverage.
+ He has a lot of admiration for Jerry Kill. They are friends. Minnesota gives relentless effort. The special teams and defense are very, very good. He hasn't studied their offense yet. OSU is done with celebrating, now it's on to Minnesota.
+ Dontre Wison broke his foot. His foot was already broken when he caught his touchdown pass. He's out for a few weeks. Noah Brown will get into the mix more, as will Corey Smith. Noah Brown "brings a little something" as a 240-pound guy back there.
+ Meyer compared J.T. Barrett's rapid rise to that of Alex Smith at Utah. As for the Heisman, he said statistically he thinks Barrett has to be in the mix somewhere.
+ Offensively: "It's our best performance we've had since we've been here." They have had more yards against other teams, but this was against a very good defense.
+ Meyer said he can't stand the bend-but-don't-break defense when you're up a few scores, but it's the smart thing to do. They are still looking for a good rotation at defensive line and Meyer is upset that they can't get that done.
+ The APB is always out for athletes who can do multiple things on offense. They are very comfortable with Jalin Marshall everywhere, including at quarterback. They are also slowly teaching Curtis Samuel the wildcat. They have a couple of passes ready for Marshall.
+ Barrett's biggest jump since early in the season has been his understanding of the game. "He was really prepared for this game." Meyer credited the staff for getting the offense ready.
+ On Barrett: "When he's accurate, that's a tough one to stop."
+ Meyer said he saw Joey Bosa get a little frustrated, but he was double teamed a great deal. He didn't grade a champion, so there's still room to get better clearly.
+ Meyer said there is no debate inside the football facility about the starting quarterback next year. He is really excited to have to really good quarterbacks next year.
+ Early in the season OSU was not a great team. They were young and not ready to play. "This is the most improved team that I have been a part of." Meyer said he has been around some championship-level teams, and this team is on that same level if they continue to grow.
+ Meyer said he is paranoid about the quick turnaround with a noon kickoff on Saturday. Minnesota has an eight-hour advantage on them right now so they have to make up those eight hours somehow. There is no class on Tuesday, so they will make up some of that time on Tuesday. Doran Grant, Curtis Grant and Jeff Heuerman do a great job of keeping their teammates focused. "Mike Bennett's trying, but you need more than just him."
+ Meyer credited the advancement of the offense to the players surrounding Barrett right now. "I do believe J.T. has a big part of it", but it's a credit to everybody else. Evan Spencer deserves more credit than he is getting.
+ Meyer said they would be "fortunate" and "blessed" to have both Barrett and Braxton Miller on the team together next year. Especially with the guys around him. He is very high on the receivers right now.
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach Chris Ash
Off. Coord/Quarterbacks Coach Tom Herman
Ed Warinner, Chris Ash, Tom HermanUpdates ...
November 10, 2014 Source: The Ozone - Senior DT Michael Bennett, Senior OL Darryl Baldwin and Sophomore WR Michael Thomas answered a few questions from reporters at the weekly media luncheon.
#14 Ohio State at Minnesota Game Notes
November 10, 2014 Source: OSU Official Site - Game to be televised nationally at 11 a.m./Noon ET on ABC...
First and 10
• Ohio State enters the game having won a Big Ten record 21 consecutive regular season B1G games.
• Ohio State has won 12 consecutive games on the road, the longest active streak in the FBS.
• Ohio State ranks 10th in the NCAA in total offense with 512.1 yards per game and is tied for fourth in scoring offense at 46.0 ppg.
• Ohio State's offense racked up 568 total yards at #8 Michigan State last Saturday, nearly 300 more than MSU had allowed per game coming in (279.4). It was the sixth game this season with at least 500 yards of total offense for the Buckeyes.
• QB J.T. Barrett has been responsible for 34 touchdowns this season, second most in the FBS.
• Barrett needs two TDs to tie and three to break Braxton Miller's school record of 36 set in 2013.
• Barrett has been responsible for at least four touchdowns in five of nine games this season.
• DL Joey Bosa, a Lombardi and Bednarik semifinalist, leads the B1G with 14.5 TFL and 10.0 sacks.
• Urban Meyer is 36-3 in the month of November since the start of the 2003 season.
• The Buckeyes, 32-3 (.914) overall under Meyer, have the second-highest winning percentage among FBS teams since the start of 2012.
Ohio State controls its fate in the Big Ten East with a one-game lead over Michigan State, a two-game lead over Maryland and with victories over both. Minnesota is in a tie for first in the Big Ten West with Nebraska and Wisconsin and with games in Lincoln and in Madison looming in the next two weeks. Ohio State closes out its regular season schedule with home games against Indiana and Michigan.
FIRST MEETING IN FOUR YEARS
Neither Urban Meyer nor Minnesota coach Jerry Kill were in their present positions when the Buckeyes and the Golden Gophers last met: four years ago on Oct. 30, 2010 in Minneapolis. Meyer was in his sixth season at Florida in 2010 while Kill was in his third and ultimately final season at Northern Illinois.
SECOND TIME AT TCF BANK STADIUM
It was a cold night in 2010 - kickoff temps were in the low 40s - when Ohio State played its first and so far only game in TCF Bank Stadium. The Buckeyes rolled to a 52-10 victory that night but the win was later vacated. This is the first meeting of the two on the gridiron since and the 51st meeting all-time.
More at Ohio State vs. Minnesota Game Notes
Get to Know: Minnesota
November 10, 2014 Source: Fear The Hat - They may have looked like one of the hottest teams in America in their win against Michigan State, but things are about to get really cold for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Right now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts a high temperature of 26 degrees in Minneapolis Saturday.
If gray skies and breaths that are are visible speak to traditional football, then this weekend’s opponent is appropriate.
Minnesota has run the ball about 72 percent of the time this season. Running back David Cobb is 18th nationally in all-purpose yards and 8th in rushing yards, grinding out those yards at an average of 5.3 per carry for a total of 1,205.
Minnesota’s leading receiver is a tight end, Maxx Williams. They have a 6’9?, 320 pound offensive lineman in right tackle Jonah Pirsig. In fact, the starting line they used in their 51-14 win against Iowa averaged 6’5? and 312 pounds. Heck, Minnesota uses a fullback. They moved Tyler Hartmann from the defensive line to his current spot before spring ball in 2013.
Leading this old-school offense is quarterback Mitch Leidner, who has already battled through a sprained knee and toe injury this year. He only has 10 touchdown passes to 6 interceptions, but he’s coming off one of his most accurate performances of the season (10/13 for 138 yards and 4 TDs vs. the Hawkeyes).
Also, like many quarterbacks who rely on the play-action pass, when he does complete it, he can really gouge a defense. He’s sixth nationally in yards/completion (15.12). And he’s his team’s second-leading rusher with 69 carries, quite a few of which came off the zone read. Most importantly for the Gophers, he wins games. He’s 9-3 as a starter.
Defensively, Minnesota runs a 4-3. They are 24th nationally in points allowed and 21st in total defense.
They have forced 22 turnovers this year, which ranks them 12th in that category, but they don’t get into opposing backfields a whole lot and are ranked 51st in tackles for loss.
The Gophers leading tackler overall is linebacker Damien Wilson, who also leads the club in TFLs with 8.0. Cameron Botticelli has added 7.5 tackles for loss, and is tops on the team with 3 sacks.
Minnesota also has one of the league’s more impressive defensive backs, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who by the way, is running back David Cobb’s cousin. Boddy-Calhoun has three interceptions and six pass breakups. Jalen Myrick has been effective, too, with a pick and 6 pass breakups of his own. They’re a big reason the Gophers are 15th in the country in pass efficiency defense.
From a special teams standpoint, it’s notable that Myrick and fellow defensive back Marcus Jones have combined to make Minnesota 21st nationally in kick return average. Meanwhile, the Gophers kicker Ryan Santoso is only 9/13. However, he did make a 52-yarder this season.
Minnesota is 4-1 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1990. If they make it to 5-1, the team will really have given head coach Jerry Kill reason to dance.
|OSU coach Urban Meyer announced at his weekly press conference Monday that sophomore WR Dontre Wilson will be out for at least several weeks after suffering a foot injury in Saturday’s win at Michigan State. “Dontre broke his foot,” Meyer said. “He caught a touchdown pass with a broken foot. That will tell you how tough he is. He did not have a great game with a couple of balls on the ground but that is a tough loss.” Meyer said the injury will require surgery. “They need to put a pin in it,” he said. Wilson is OSU’s third-leading receiver with 21 catches for 300 yards and three touchdowns. He caught a 7-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of the 49-37 win. Source: Bucknuts
Armani Reeves is back practicing, but not yet full go; Bri'onte Dunn is close.
Minneapolis Weather Forecast
Ohio State vs. Indiana
November 21, 2014 Source: Columbus Dispatch -
When Buckeyes run . . . Edge – OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes’ running game ranks 12th nationally in yards per game (263.1), and Indiana’s run defense ranks 79th (173.9). Ezekiel Elliott and J.T. Barrett aren’t quite the running duo that Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller were last year, but they’re close. Elliott needs 46 yards to join Hyde as the only running backs to gain 1,000 yards under coach Urban Meyer. The offensive line has consistently opened holes. Nate Hoff, who plays nose tackle in IU’s 3-4 defense, leads the Hoosiers with 8½ tackles for loss.
When Buckeyes pass . . . Edge – OHIO STATE
J.T. Barrett is completing 64 percent of his passes and needs only one more touchdown pass to match Troy Smith’s school record of 30 in a season. Indiana ranks 101st in passing yards allowed (258.8), so Barrett and company should be able to move the ball through the air. No Hoosiers player has more than two interceptions and the team has only eight.
When Hoosiers run . . . Edge – OHIO STATE
Considering the success of Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford and Minnesota’s David Cobb the past two weeks, one might think the edge here belongs to Indiana and Tevin Coleman, who is No. 2 nationally in rushing (1,678 yards). The Buckeyes have promised renewed effort against the run this week, and they should be aided by IU’s inconsistent passing offense.
When Hoosiers pass . . . Edge – OHIO STATE
Since No. 1 quarterback Nate Sudfeld was lost after an upset win at Missouri, the spread passing attack has floundered under current QB Zander Diamont. Indiana is last in the Big Ten in passing efficiency (only seven TD passes with eight interceptions), and Ohio State is fourth in pass defense efficiency, including leading the league in interceptions (16). Defensive end Joey Bosa leads the Big Ten in sacks (11 1/2).
Special teams . . . Edge – OHIO STATE
Indiana doesn’t rank higher than 86th nationally in any of the major team special-teams categories — net punting, punt-return average and kickoff-return average. Shane Wynn is a dangerous returner, but he hasn’t gotten untracked. The Buckeyes’ special-teams play has been spotty lately, particularly with fumbles. Cameron Johnston is a weapon at punter, though he is coming off a rare off day at Minnesota.
Game Data: Ohio State at Minnesota
November 12, 2014 Source: Bucknuts.com - When Minnesota Has The Ball: Minnesota is 96th nationally in total offense (364.6 ypg). The Gophers lean heavily to the run (26th nationally, 224.3 ypg) over the pass (120th nationally, 140.2 ypg).
Some of that disparity goes back to QB Mitch Leidner dealing with injury issues. He is only averaging 19 pass attempts in the eight games he has played. He has an outstanding TE in Maxx Williams, who makes acrobatic catches with the best of them. I’m just not sure how Minnesota throws for more than about 150 yards against Ohio State – even less if the conditions are bad...
Ohio State vs. Minnesota 2014: Preview, odds, predictions
November 14, 2014 Source: Land-Grant Holy Land
Preview: No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 25 Minnesota
November 14, 2014 Source: Eleven Warriors
Players to Watch: Minnesota vs Ohio State
November 12, 2014 Source: Men of the Scarlet & Gray - Minnesota: David Cobb, Running Back... Damien Wilson, Middle Linebacker...
The Call: Gophers vs. Ohio State
November 14, 2014 Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune -
GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. BUCKEYES DEFENSE
This is a good — but not great — Ohio State defense. Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford rushed for 137 yards against the Buckeyes. David Cobb should find openings, too, but Mitch Leidner has to build off his strong performance against Iowa and hit his play-action passes. Advantage: Buckeyes
Jerry Kill would love to win the field-position battle, helping neutralize the talent gap, but Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is a special teams zealot, too. Advantage: Even
Ohio State needs to continue impressing the playoff selection committee if it wants to climb from No. 8 to a spot in the four-team field. The Buckeyes have won 12 consecutive road games, but will have to prevent a letdown after last week’s 49-37 win at Michigan State.
GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. BUCKEYES OFFENSE
Ohio State and Oregon are tied for fourth in scoring offense, at 46 points per game. Freshman QB J.T. Barrett can do it all, Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 154 yards against Michigan State, and Devin Smith needs one touchdown catch to match Cris Carter’s school record (27). Advantage: Buckeyes
The Gophers played Wisconsin tough at home last Nov. 23, when it was 18 degrees for kickoff. Barrett, a Texas native, might get thrown off by the cold. Advantage: Gophers
JOE’S PREDICTION 34 24 OSU
The Buckeyes, who needed two OTs to win at Penn State, will get another scare, but Ohio State has too many weapons to let this one slip.
QB Mitch Leidner says cold could be Gophers' edge over Buckeyes
November 12, 2014 Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune - The trek to and from class has extra significance for the Gophers this week. Any additional time the players can spend outside adjusting to the frigid temperatures will make Saturday’s weather less of a factor.
The Gophers also spent Wednesday evening practicing outdoors and will spend the rest of the week outside preparing for Ohio State.
The cold, on the other hand, could be a game-changing factor for Ohio State.
“I’m sure there is an advantage,” Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner said. “Even just being outside this week walking to class your body is adjusting to the cold for all the guys. It’s tough to come here and play in the cold. You definitely gotta get used to it fast. … The balls turn into rocks, pretty much.”
Leidner, a redshirt sophomore from Lakeville North, prefers the cold. He said the guys have a lot of extra energy playing in the snow and it adds an element of fun.
Coach Jerry Kill said the Gophers prepared for bad weather: “This year we’ve stayed outside, the offense, to get used to throwing in the wind and the cold and all those things.
“It’s important with the hands — and the kicking game, that’s the biggest thing.”
More at Minnesota Ohio State vs. Game Notes
Five things you need to know
Minnesota welcomes Ohio State to TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday for an 11 a.m. game (Gophers are 8-2 in their last 10 games played at 11 a.m.). Ohio State leads the series 43-7-0 and has won eight straight against the Gophers. Minnesota’s last win was a 29-17 victory on Oct. 14, 2000, in Columbus. The last time Minnesota beat Ohio State in Minneapolis was 1981, when the Gophers triumphed 35-31 at Memorial Stadium.
Saturday is the final home game for a number of players. Prior to the game, the Gophers will honor 24 players who will be playing in their final home game at TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota will recognize seniors Michael Amaefula, Cole Banham, Alex Bisch, Cameron Botticelli, David Cobb, Christian Eldred, Zac Epping, Isaac Fruechte, Drew Goodger, Logan Hutton, Marcus Jones, Donnell Kirkwood, Harold Legania, Marek Lenkiewicz, Grayson Levine, Tommy Olson, Ben Perry, Dave Ramlet, Cedric Thompson, Derrick Wells, Damien Wilson and Devon Wright. Redshirt juniors Luke McAvoy and Kyle McAvoy will also be playing in their final home game at TCF Bank Stadium and will partake in the pregame festivities.
The Gophers are 8-3 in their last 11 Big Ten games, as they have posted home wins against Iowa (2014), Purdue (2014), Northwestern (2014) Nebraska (2013) and Penn State (2013) and road wins at Michigan (2014), Northwestern (2013) and Indiana (2013). Minnesota’s three defeats came on the road this year at Illinois, and last year at home against Wisconsin and on the road at Michigan State. The 8-3 mark is the best record for Minnesota in an 11-game conference stretch since it also went 8-3 from Nov. 4, 1967 – Nov. 23, 1968. Minnesota beat Indiana (twice), Wisconsin (twice), Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State and Purdue, while it lost to Purdue, Michigan and Iowa in that span.
A win on Saturday would give Minnesota an 8-2 record. More importantly a win would give the Gophers a 5-1 record in Big Ten play. The last time Minnesota was 5-1 in the Big Ten was 1967, when the Gophers started the season 4-0 with wins against Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa. Minnesota dropped a game at Purdue before finishing the season 6-1 in the league with wins against Indiana and Wisconsin. Minnesota has won 5 or more Big Ten games in a season 18 different times (only five times since 1969) with the most recent coming in 2003 when it went 5-3 in the league.
Minnesota is 6-0 at home this year. The last time Minnesota won six home games in a season was 1977 when it beat Western Michigan, UCLA, Washington, Northwestern, No. 1 Michigan and Wisconsin. The last time Minnesota won seven home games in a season was 1931 when it topped North Dakota State, Ripon, Oklahoma A&M, Iowa, Wisconsin, Cornell (Iowa) and Ohio State (beat the Buckeyes 19-7 to end the season). The last time Minnesota won all of its home games was 1967 when the Gophers went 6-0 at Memorial Stadium, beating Utah, SMU, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.