12 Games Of Christmas: Minnesota

In celebration of the holiday season as well as Ohio State’s appearance in the College Football Playoff, we’re counting down the 12 wins that made it possible, including the frigid victory at Minnesota.

Nov. 15: No. 8 Ohio State 31, No. 25 Minnesota 24
Minneapolis, Minn.
Box Score

Quick Recap: It was the coldest game in TCF Bank Stadium, and considering that stadium is in Minnesota, that’s saying something. But Ohio State’s offense stayed hot and paced a victory played with a kickoff temperature of 15 degrees and featured snow flurries falling throughout the game. The Buckeyes piled up 489 yards of offense, converted 9 of 13 third downs and never trailed in a game that would have been worse had it not been for three turnovers, including two fumbles by Jalin Marshall. 289 of those yards came on the ground including 86 on a run by J.T. Barrett – the longest for a QB in Ohio State history – that opened the scoring 4:46 in. Barrett then hit Marshall for a 57-yard TD pass, but the Gophers tied the score at 14 on a pair of David Cobb TD runs. Sean Nuernberger made a 22-yard field goal before halftime to give OSU the lead for good, and Barrett threw touchdown passes to Mike Thomas and Evan Spencer in the second half to cement the win, and Minnesota failed on an onside kick with 1:19 remaining.

Urban Said: “A great team win. Not great execution, but a great team win. A tough environment, 11 a.m, against a very good team that we have a lot of respect for. There wasn’t a whole lot of motivating this week to get them ready. All you had to do was show them the film of that team that just beat the tar out of Iowa the week before. I really have a lot of respect for Coach Kill and the way he does his business. A tough environment. First time I’ve ever been here. I don’t want to see this one on the schedule for a while, certainly not in November. A great team win. Once again, I didn’t say great execution all the time, but really in that kind of environment, not bad.”

“Wow, I think you can tell the kind of trust we have in (Barrett). In that kind of environment you really have to hand pick who is going to touch the ball. We have a lot of confidence in (Ezekiel Elliott) and we have a lot of confidence in J.T. In those kind of conditions, the ball is kind of slick, it’s like a rock when it gets that cold. We have a lot of confidence in him. Like I said, early in the season, we had no idea who he was. I had no diea this is what J.T. Barrett is. I have a very clear picture of who he is now.”

“I’d like to see anybody in the country come up here and do this, come up here in November on Nov. 15. I challenge any team in the country that wants to go ahead and schedule this one in November against a very good team. Have at it. That’s our message.”

Play of the Game: Barrett’s 86-yard run, which will go down in the record books. On a third-and-1, Barrett faked an option give and then raced through the line over the left side and was off to the races. Barrett started banking right as the Minnesota defense closed in but ended up beating the entire Golden Gophers defense to the end zone, stepping through a tackle attempt as he hit the 10-yard line.

Player of the Game: Barrett was responsible for all four OSU touchdowns while racking up nearly 400 yards for the second consecutive game. 189 of those came on the ground, a new Ohio State quarterback record, and he completed 15 of 25 passes for 200 yards and three scores. He did have an interception that led to Minnesota’s first TD, but it wasn’t enough to overshadow a standout day.

What Was Accomplished: Ohio State put together a second straight win on the road vs. a ranked conference foe, and while it wasn’t easy, it was the kind of tough win in difficult conditions that continued to impress the playoff committee. OSU also proved something to itself, winning a game and overcoming mistakes in an extreme atmosphere.

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