LB Brian Rolle and the Ohio State Buckeyes head to Minneapolis to take on the 1-7 Minnesota Golden Gophers. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. EST Saturday on ABC!
#11 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-7)
When: Saturday, October 30
Where: TCF Bank Stadium
Kickoff: 8 p.m. EST
Series: Buckeyes lead 42-7
Last Meeting: 2009, Buckeyes won 38-7 in Columbus
By John Cooper
The Week In Football
Now that Ohio State has responded to its loss two weeks ago with a resounding 49-0 win over Purdue Saturday, it’s
time to bring on the fifth Big Ten foe of the year.
And that opponent I’m speaking of is the 1-7 Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Minnesota is in a bit of turmoil. While it has a new venue in TCF Bank Stadium, it also has a new head coach in interim boss Jeff Horton.
After three-plus seasons with the Golden Gophers in which Tim Brewster was 15-30 overall, and 6-21 in the Big Ten, he was fired Oct. 17 following a 28-17 loss to Purdue.
Brewster’s squads were also just 4-8 in its new stadium, including a loss this year to South Dakota State.
So Minnesota does not have to explain why it released Brewster from his duties. The numbers do all the talking. And in is Horton.
But the bottom line on Minnesota’s football program is it needs better players – not necessarily a new stadium and coach.
Because as Woody Hayes would say, and OSU Coach Jim Tressel certainly knows, “You win with people.”
BUCKEYES OFFENSE VS. GOLDEN GOPHERS DEFENSE
I can assure you that QB Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeye offense can’t wait to get at it Saturday in Minneapolis.
And that’s because Minnesota for sure has the Big Ten’s worst defense. Yes – even more Swiss cheese like than Purdue’s!
The Golden Gophers might want to burrow back under ground in anticipation of facing Ohio State’s offense. Minnesota allows a Big Ten most awful 32 points and 194 rushing yards per game.
OSU’s offense? Well it leads the conference in scoring and ranks third in rushing offense. And we all witnessed how RB Boom Herron ran at will against Purdue. The OSU run game has returned in a Boom way.
So expect a similar offensive game plan from OSU Coach Jim Tressel this week. He’ll pound the Minnesota defense into submission with Boom to start the game, and then mix in some Pryor deep balls and a few carries for senior RB Brandon Saine.
The Buckeyes will, simply said, do whatever they want against Minnesota’s defense, which is led by LB Gary Tinsley and his team-leading 63 tackles.
HUGE ADVANTAGE: BUCKEYES
BUCKEYES DEFENSE VS. GOLDEN GOPHERS OFFENSE
When it’s all said and done, senior QB Adam Weber might hold every Minnesota offensive record.
But right now, Weber is all interim Coach Jeff Horton has got.
However, Weber is a lot. After passing for 299 yards during last week’s loss to Penn State, Weber is now the fifth Big Ten player to pass for more than 10,000 career years.
He’s also started 46 consecutive games – the nation’s current longest streak for a signal caller.
And Weber has passed for 17 touchdowns on the season. Nine of those TD tosses have been to leading receiver Da’Jon McKnight, who also averages a respectable 67 receiving yards per game.
But as I alluded to earlier, Minnesota needs better players. Especially on offense. And especially along the line and in the backfield. The Golden Gophers rank near the Big Ten bottom in averaging just 140 rushing yards per game.
Look for the Ohio State defense, featuring emerging LB Andrew Sweat, to stuff the Minnesota ground game, and force Weber into multiple interceptions.
HUGE ADVANTAGE: BUCKEYES
Minnesota PK Eric Ellestad is 2-of-6 on field goal attempts of 30-plus yards and P Dan Orseske averages just 37 yards a boot. And has had a punt blocked.
PR Bryant Allen and KR Ryan Collado are solid but no homerun threats.
Ohio State, meanwhile, played better on special teams last week, but many questions remain about P Ben Buchanan, PK Devin Barclay and the coverage teams.
Ohio State is still in the hunt for a Big Ten record sixth straight conference title. Minnesota, on the other hand, has lost seven consecutive and is led by an interim coach.
THE WAY COACH COOP SEES IT
The weather could be a bit chilly and windy up in Minnesota Saturday. And it’s a night game. Ohio State is just 16-11 during evening bouts under Coach Jim Tressel. Then again, Minnesota has beaten the Buckeyes once during the previous 24 meetings. And this is a bad Golden Gophers group. South Dakota State, Northern Illinois and Purdue have all defeated Minnesota. OSU, much like it did last week against Purdue, will jump on Minnesota early and often.