As the warm ups started the skies over TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Gophers opened, clouding the stadium in a snowy, frigid fog.
Minnesota won the coin toss and elected receive the ball in the second half and, in turn kicked the ball to the Ohio State Buckeyes to open the game a little past 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 15, 2014. Both teams ended their first drives with a punt after three fruitless plays.
On their second possession, the Ohio State Buckeyes’ QB J.T. Barrett sprinted 86 yards to cap a 95 yard, three play drive for a touchdown, with the PAT, the Buckeyes led 7-0 less than five minutes into the game.
Minnesota could not get their offense going in the first quarter, punting away the next possession after three plays. The Buckeyes would score on the next possession when Jalin Marshall caught a Barrett pass for sprinting down over halfway down the field for a 57 yard touchdown.
David Cobb got the Gophers on the board with a 5 yard run 33 seconds in the 2nd quarter. Cobb ran another in at the end of the second quarter with a 30 yard scamper after Ohio State’s Jalin Marshall fumbled the ball at the Gopher goal line, recovered by De’Vondre Campbell. Ohio State would add another field goal as the 2nd half ended, bringing the halftime score to 17-14, Ohio State.
The Buckeyes added a touchdown in the 3rd quarter (30 yd pass to Michael Thomas) and in the fourth quarter, a 22 yard pass to Evan Spencer to bring the score to 31-14.
David Cobb ran 12 yards to bring the score, with seven minutes left in the game, to 31-21 and kicker Ryan Santoso kicked a 34 yard field goal with 1:19 left to bring the score to 31-24.
Some thoughts on the game:
- The Gophers defense needs to limit the big play. Ohio’s shortest touchdown was a 22 yard pass, The touchdown plays were 86 yd, 57 yd, 30 yd and 22 yd. The Gophers defense was held to less than 10 yards of offense on five drives, the Gophers’ inability to keep the big plays to a minimum really hurt them.
- The Gophers offense, when needed, can hang with the best teams. The Buckeyes came into the game ranked 8 in the country. The Gophers defense took the ball away twice on fumbles and once on an interception, winning the turnover battle 3-2 over one of the most prolific offenses in the Big 10.
- The Gophers defense gave up 31 points. Michigan State’s defense gave up 49 points, in fact the Buckeyes have put up 49 points or more on five of the ten opponents they have faced. The Gophers can hold their head high on this point.
- Minnesota needs to figure out how to get more balanced. They gained only 85 yards through the air, going 7-20. David Cobb is great, gaining 145 more yards in this game, bringing his total to 1350 yards on the year (through 10 games) and placing him eighth in Division 1 football.
Minnesota’s three most difficult games of the season are their final three. With the Ohio State game down, Minnesota can take some solace that they hung with the Buckeye offense. On the flip side, Nebraska (ranked 16) and Wisconsin (ranked 20) have great teams and the Gophers will be playing on the road the rest of the way out.
The Minnesota Sports Report will be traveling to Nebraska to cover the game next week. Stay tuned for photos and updates from Nebraska.