Ohio State begins its season against Minnesota on Thursday. It will be the sixth time the Buckeyes have played the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis since 2000.
To count down the days until kickoff, Buckeye Sports Bulletin will revisit Ohio State’s past five road trips to the Twin Cities, detailing each game’s defining moments as well as its box scores and statistics.
Game 5 – Nov. 15, 2014
Ohio State 31 – Minnesota 24
The headline: Tough Sledding
After losing to Virginia Tech in its second regular-season game, Ohio State (9-1, 6-0) claimed a 31-24 victory over Minnesota (7-3, 4-2), extending its winning streak to eight games and remaining undefeated in Big Ten competition.
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett helped his team overcome poor weather conditions and several turnovers to lead the Buckeyes to a much-needed road win. The freshman signal-caller threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns and used his legs to add 189 yards and a score.
Buckeye Sports Bulletin editor Jeff Svoboda wrote:
With the advent of the College Football Playoff, each team attempting to make the first-ever final four has 12 specific people to impress each week.
No longer are there hundreds of poll voters and six different computers making the decision about how the season will end. In 2014, college football’s postseason will be decided by 12 observers on the CFP committee instructed to weigh certain criteria but not given a directive to follow any specific blueprint when selecting the quartet of teams that will vie for the trophy.
Since those voters are human — and because it makes for good copy — reporters across the country have taken to asking the teams in contention every week why their squad is deserving of a potential bid into the playoff.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had already been asked that question numerous times before Nov. 15, but his answer after the No. 8 Buckeyes’ 31-24 win at Minnesota was delivered with a little extra bit of emphasis.
The takedown of the Golden Gophers, who entered slotted 25th in the CFP rankings, was OSU’s second in a row against a ranked team, and it certainly wasn’t easy. The Buckeyes battled turnovers, frigid weather, stubborn snow, an early start time, and, most of all, a pretty darn good football team to improve to 9-1 and win their eighth game in a row, and Meyer had a message for those who detract from his team and the other Big Ten programs the Scarlet and Gray beat on a weekly basis.
“I’d like to see anybody in the country come up here and do this, come up here in November on Nov. 15,” Meyer said. “I challenge any team in the country that wants to go ahead and schedule that one in November against a very good team. Have at it. That’s our message.”
Here’s what happened in the game:
Ohio State’s defense stopped Minnesota on its first possession of the game. When the Buckeye offense took the field, they only needed three plays to score a touchdown. Barrett ran the football from Ohio State’s 14-yard line to the Minnesota end zone, scoring an 86-yard touchdown to give his team an early lead.
Ohio State 7 – Minnesota 0
The Buckeyes scored another time in the first quarter. Barrett scrambled in the pocket before connecting with wide receiver Jalin Marshall over the middle. Marshall tucked the ball away and ran for a 57-yard touchdown pass, extending Ohio State’s lead to 14 points.
Ohio State 14 – Minnesota 0
Minnesota answered at the beginning of the second quarter. Running back David Cobb scored twice to bring the Golden Gophers back into the game.
Cobb’s first touchdown run came after Ohio State turned the ball over in their territory. His 5-yard score completed a 5-play, 39-yard drive that lasted only two minutes of game time. Cobb scored his second touchdown at the end of the first half, taking a run 30 yards to the end zone.
Ohio State 14 – Minnesota 14
With 1:24 remaining, Barrett led the Buckeyes on a two-minute drill that took Ohio State to the Minnesota side of the field, setting up kicker Sean Nuernberger with a 22-yard field goal as time expired.
Halftime: Ohio State 17 – Minnesota 14
Both teams started the second half slow due to changing weather conditions. The light snow turned into somewhat of a flurry. Still, the Buckeyes found the end zone in the third quarter. Barrett found wide receiver Michael Thomas wide open behind the Minnesota defense to give Ohio State a 10-point lead.
Ohio State 24 – Minnesota 14
Ohio State scored again at the start of the fourth quarter. Barrett threw a screen pass to wide receiver Evan Spencer, who took the football 22 yards for a score. The Buckeyes took a 17-point lead, putting the nail in the coffin — sort of.
Less than three minutes later, Cobb scored his third touchdown of the afternoon, capitalizing on another Ohio State turnover inside its 50-yard line. The running back found a hole in the Buckeye defense and found paydirt from 12 yards out.
Ohio State 31 – Minnesota 21
Minnesota struck a final time in the game via a 34-yard field goal from kicker Ryan Santoso, cutting the Ohio State lead to seven points. The Golden Gophers failed to convert their onside kick attempt, and the Buckeyes entered “victory formation,” with Barrett taking quarterback kneels to end the contest.
Final: Ohio State 31 – Minnesota 24
J.T. Barrett (OSU): 15-25, 200 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Mitch Leidner (MINN): 7-19, 85 yards, 2 INTs
J.T. Barrett (OSU): 17 car, 189 yards, 1 TD
David Cobb (MINN): 27 car, 147 yards, 3 TDs
Jalin Marshall (OSU): 5 rec, 95 yards, 1 TD
Maxx Williams (MINN): 3 rec, 47 yards
Adolphus Washington (OSU): 8 tackles, 6 solo, 2 assists
Cedric Thompson (MINN): 10 tackles, 6 solo, 4 assists