Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) – J.T. Barrett accounted for 389 yards and
four touchdowns and No. 8 Ohio State held off upset-minded Minnesota, 31-24,
on a snowy Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
Barrett set the Ohio State record for touchdowns in a season with 38, breaking
the mark set last year by the man he replaced — the injured Braxton Miller.
The freshman QB threw for 200 yards and three scores and added 189 yards and a
TD on the ground for the Buckeyes (9-1, 6-0 Big Ten), who avoided a letdown
following their upset win over Michigan State last week.
These teams can meet again in the Big Ten title game.
The Buckeyes control their fate in the East Division, and Minnesota (7-3, 4-2)
still has a chance in the West with road games against Nebraska and Wisconsin
Senior David Cobb carried the Golden Gophers’ offense with 145 rushing yards
and three touchdowns in his last home game, while Mitch Leidner completed just
7-of-19 passes for 85 yards and two interceptions in the frigid conditions.
A muffed punt set up Cobb’s third touchdown and pulled the Gophers within
31-21 with 7:08 remaining, and they kicked away instead of going for an onside
kick, allowing the Buckeyes to kill off nearly five minutes.
After getting the ball back, Leidner scrambled for 31 yards down to the OSU
17-yard line, and Minnesota opted to kick a field goal on first down.
Ryan Santoso connected from 34 yards out with 1:19 to play, but OSU easily
recovered the onside kick to seal the victory.
Ohio State jumped out to a 14-0 lead by ripping off two big plays in the first
quarter. Barrett outran everyone en route to an 86-yard touchdown, then avoid
a sack and found Jalin Marshall for a 57-yard score.
Cobb ran for a 5-yard TD early in the second quarter following a Barrett
interception, and a 14-point swing late in the half pulled Minnesota even.
Marshall was going in for another OSU touchdown but fumbled into the end zone.
The Gophers recovered and went 80 yards in 11 plays, with Cobb taking a draw
and going in from 30 yards out on a 3rd-and-15.
A few Barrett runs and a pass interference penalty moved the Buckeyes into
field goal range in the final 1:24 of the half, and Sean Nuernberger made a
22-yard chip shot on the last play.
Minnesota caught a break when a pass interference penalty on Doran Grant
negated his interception return for a touchdown, but Santoso hit the left
upright on a 52-yard field goal try shortly thereafter.
Michael Thomas was left wide open on the ensuing possession and hauled in a
30-yard score, and interceptions on the next two Minnesota drives thwarted the
On 3rd-and-12 from the 22, Evan Spencer caught a short screen pass and went
untouched for a back-breaking touchdown with 10:08 to play.
Ohio State has won 13 straight road games — the longest active streak in the
FBS — and extended its conference winning streak to a record 22 games … The
last time Minnesota beat Ohio State in Minneapolis was 1981 … The Gophers
were 6-0 at home coming in … Ohio State hosts Indiana next week prior to its
usual season finale against rival Michigan.