Columbus, Ohio- It was a Senior Day to remember. The Buckeyes sent off their graduating class and other teammates heading for the League in fashion. Minnesota struggled to find the right gear on either side of the ball and almost looked lost throughout most of the game.
Minnesota tried to control the clock throughout the first half with a balance of rushing and passing. Unfortunately, as they’ve done all season, the Silver Bullets held their ground, forcing punts on all four of their opponent's drives in the half. Minnesota’s defense only faired slightly better, as the Gophers gave up 13 points in the half. The only truly impressive Buckeye possession in the first half of play was the first. In that drive, Minnesota got a heavy dose of stud running back, TreVeyon Henderson as he had five touches out of the nine total plays, including the drive-capping touchdown. The rest of the first half played out as if Minnesota may have been on to something, pinning the Buckeyes deep and skewing coverage towards receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. Looking only at the score at the half, many would assume that Ohio State had fallen back into their stagnant offensive ways. However, the second half would prove that the Buckeyes are a force that everyone left on their schedule (that team up north) should be worried about.
The Buckeyes would go on to score on five of their last seven possessions. They would score on the first play of the second half as Henderson broke a 75-yard run to the house, and the Gophers could only sit and watch in awe. It would only take one play for the Bucks to get the ball back as defensive ends Sawyer and Tuimoloau secured a sack and scoop fumble on the Gophers’ first play of the half, leading to an eventual McCord to Harrison connection and touchdown. The Bucks’ defense would secure another turnover on the next drive, this time an interception on the hands of defensive back Jordan Hancock.
The Buckeyes would secure the win, putting up 37 points, while their defense only allowed three points for the second week in a row.
The Buckeyes offense looks like a knife carving through warm butter right now. They finally look like the stuff of nightmares for opposing defenses. As I’ve stated in previous reviews, there are enough weapons on the Buckeye offense to force any team to try and steal any advantage or signals, giving defensive coordinators fits. The defense is as solid as ever, and now they are answering what little doubters there are with takeaways and QB pressures. Keeping offenses out of the endzone for two straight weeks and only giving up two touchdowns over the past four weeks has the Silver Bullets flying high, and they haven’t been at full strength in several games, either.
We all know it was a learning experience for the Golden Gophers. Head coach PJ Fleck is working his tail off to make Minnesota the pride of the West. Given enough time and resources (which they are building as we speak), Minnesota will climb up the ladder quickly. The question remains: does Fleck or the university have the patience?
(2) The Ohio State Buckeyes, 11-0 (8-0), head up to Ann Arbor for the greatest rivalry in all of sports as they take on the (3) Wolverines, 11-0 (8-0), that team up north, in a Noon, Eastern showdown this Saturday, 11/25.
Minnesota 5-6 (3-4) will welcome the Wisconsin Badgers 6-5 (4-4) for their yearly rivalry game, fighting for the famed Paul Bunyan’s Axe on Saturday, 11/25 at 3:30 PM Eastern.
(Photo by Jason Mowry/Getty Images)