Who: No. 8 Ohio State (8-1, 5-0) vs. No. 25 Minnesota (7-2, 4-1)
When: Saturday, Nov 15th at 12:00 p.m. EST
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
If you’re not a Buckeye fan, you are sick and tired of hearing how impressive Ohio State’s road, primetime victory against Michigan State was, but if you are Buckeye fan; hey, how freaking impressive was Ohio State’s road, primetime victory over Michigan State?!
Urban Meyer finally made a statement against a top 10 team, and it could not have been prettier to watch, but now the Buckeyes must put their focus squarely on Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are no cupcake and have snuck into the top 25 at a perfect time for the Buckeyes. With games against Ohio State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin remaining, Minnesota may not see another win before bowl season, much less the top 25, but if the Buckeyes are able to leave Minneapolis with a win, it will add a second win against a ranked opponent to their resume.
Before we get look at the keys for another Buckeye victory, I would be remiss not to check in with our expert reporter (my brother) who has been rooted in Minneapolis for the sole purpose of covering this game (he attends the University of Minnesota).
Me– “Chris? Can you hear me, Chris?
Chris – “This is an email. I can’t hear you at all, but I did just read that, soooo..yes?”
Me – “Great! Thought we lost you for a moment. What’s the feel of the game there in Minnesota on the eve of the Gophers’ biggest contest of the season, and what’s it like being a Buckeye fan in enemy territory?”
Chris – “Many believe the lovely Minnesota morning weather, known colloquially to Ohioans as ‘balls cold’, will assist the Gophers greatly in the 11 am (12 pm EST) kickoff. Gopher fans are excited for their team on the rise, and enjoying their 25 ranking, and as such believe they will compete and challenge the Buckeyes this Saturday. Gopher fans for most part though are a friendly group to this displaced Buckeye; we do have common enemies after all – I wore buckeye and gopher colors to welcome the Jug back home. Though as game day approaches, I have had my fair deal of friendly trash talk. While there is anticipation for this game it is lower than that for the Gopher trophy games, the fan base will still come out in force for this matchup.”
Me – “Thanks for that insight Chris! I’ll see you at Thanksgiving.”
Chris – “My pleasure! Tell mom to send underwear. Mine are fine, but when it gets to -10 outside, you’d be amazed what a double-upped pair of boxer-briefs will do.”
Me– “This is neither the time nor the place to… yeah, I’ll tell her.”
That’s the kind of coverage you can only get here, folks!
Moving on to what the Buckeyes must do to win on Saturday.
David – off the – Cobb
I don’t even know what the pun means, but I couldn’t resist. The main point I’m trying to drive home here is the Buckeyes need to slow down Gophers running back David Cobb. Cobb often gets overlooked, playing in the Big10 with the likes of Melvin Gordon and Ameer Abdullah, but he is a very talented, powerful runner.
The 5’11”, 229-pound Cobb has rushed for 1,205 yards and eight scores this season, while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The Buckeyes gave up 137 yards and three touchdowns to Jeremy Langford last week and will need to slow down Cobb in order to put the game in the hands of Minnesota sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner. Leidner has thrown for 1,225 yards, 10 touchdowns, and six interceptions this year. Getting the Gophers behind the chains on first and second down could create opportunities for the Ohio State secondary.
Bennett finally made his impact felt in a big way last Saturday night against the Spartans with a sack and four solo tackles, proving that teams who key in solely on Joey Bosa can get burnt by the senior. Bosa will not be held to the relative “in-check” he was in East Lansing, but a big game by Bennett could result in a very long game for the Gophers.
After Saturday, Buckeye fans will be able to stop chattering about Barrett’s potential Heisman consideration, and can start screaming about it. Barrett not only amassed 386 total yards of offense and five touchdowns against a top five defense, but he is responsible for the nation’s second-best passer efficiency behind only Marcus Mariota. Dak Prescott may be in for a rude awakening against Alabama, and strong performance from JT could catapult him into the Heisman race, which will be looking for a fresh face to fill the void Dak left behind.
JT Barrett has another big day and the defense strengthens up for a big Buckeye win.
Buckeyes Win 49-17
Cover Photo: Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports
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