5 Answers: Ohio State at Minnesota

This week the topics that drew our curiosity were Ohio State's shaky road performances, Minnesota's wide receivers and running game, the Ohio State offensive plan and a potential milestone for Dan Herron. To see how those story lines played out, read on.

1. Can the Buckeyes shake off their road doldrums?

The offense was sharp from the start with quarterback Terrelle Pryor leading Ohio State to scores on five of seven possessions in the first half. That included a kneel-down to end the second quarter.

Defensively, the Buckeyes allowed an early touchdown drive and let the Golden Gophers move into position for a field goal that was ultimately no good but mostly controlled the action after that.

"I think the offense played great," Pryor said. "We needed the good start from an offensive perspective because we have not played very well on the road. We really needed this game to start early."


2. Will Minnesota try to overpower Ohio State?

The Gophers tried harder than most over-matched foes to maintain a running game, but ultimately they couldn't do much damage.

Tailback DeLeon Eskridge finished with 79 yards on 23 carries, but he didn't get any help. Minnesota finished with 70 net yards on 31 rushes, a figure deflated by five sacks that totaled 33 yards.

"They just kept doing what they do," interim Minnesota head coach Jeff Horton said. "Their front seven is great and strong and hard to run against. When the game starts turning and you are not running the ball, then you are playing into their strengths. That is when it started to get away from us a little bit."


3. Who will win more battles - the Ohio State cornerbacks or Minnesota wide receivers?

Quarterback Adam Weber and big, talented receivers Da'Jon McKnight and MarQueis Gray did some damage but not nearly enough.

Weber connected with Gray for 35 yards on Minnesota's first offensive snap, and the senior signal caller hit McKnight for 36 yards on the Gophers' second drive.

Weber also found tight end Tiree Eure for a 32-yard reception to set up a short touchdown run by Eskridge, but those three plays represented almost all of Minnesota's air attack.

McKnight did not have another catch, and Gray finished with three grabs for 81 yards.

Weber, who started and lost four games against Ohio State during his career in maroon and gold, was 9 for 20 for 162 yards with an interception.


4. How will the Buckeyes attack?

Minnesota linebacker Keanon Cooper summed up the evening for the Minnesota defense.

"They weren't real complicated - they just ran right at us," Cooper said. "We just have to make stops. Every guy needs to do what they need to do. A lot of times we missed assignments and we have to hold ourselves accountable on every play continuously throughout all 60 minutes of the game."

For a second straight week, Ohio State relied on the I-formation or some variation of it to do much of its damage.

In opening touchdown drives of 11 and 13 yards, the Buckeyes lined up in the shotgun three times total as they continued to use a more pro-style offense since losing at Wisconsin two weeks ago.


5. Will Dan Herron finally record a 100-yard rushing game?

How about a 100-yard half? The Buckeyes' junior tailback needed less than two quarters to surpass his career high of 97 yards on the ground.

Herron picked up 114 on 17 carries, capping a stellar October that saw him run for 442 yards in five games.

"Boom is a player," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "He has good vision and breaks tackles and we really think he lifts us up."


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