Game Data: Ohio State at Minnesota

We take a look at the pertinent information, depth charts and one man's prediction of Saturday's Big Ten football showdown between Ohio State and Minnesota at the Metrodome (ABC, noon). Click this free link for more.

Game Data: Ohio State at Minnesota

* Date, Time: Sat., Oct. 29, 12:10 p.m. (Eastern), 11:10 a.m. (Minneapolis time)

* Location: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome; Minneapolis, Minn.

* TV: ABC (regional telecast, we will post coverage map when available; announcers, Brad Nessler, Bob Griese, Lynn Swann).

* 2005 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 5-2 overall, 3-1 Big Ten, ranked 12th in Associated Press poll and 13th in USA Today coaches poll; Minnesota, 5-2 overall, 2-2 Big Ten, ranked 22nd in USA Today coaches poll.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (fifth year at OSU, 45-13; 20th year overall, 180-70-2; vs. Minnesota, 2-0); Minnesota, Glen Mason (ninth year at UM, 56-46; 20th year overall, 115-110-1; vs. Ohio State, 1-5).

* Series History: Ohio State leads the all-time series 37-7, including 18-4 in Minneapolis. This game ends a two-year hiatus in the series. The Buckeyes have won 18 of the last 19 games in the series. The one loss was a 29-17 Minnesota win in 2000 in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won nine straight in Minneapolis, dating to a 35-31 loss in 1981. OSU won its last trip to Minneapolis 31-28 in 2001, then cruised to a 34-3 win in 2002 in Columbus.

* Minnesota Schedule: Sept. 1, at Tulsa, W 41-10; Sept. 10, Colorado State, W 56-24; Sept. 17, Florida Atlantic, W 46-7; Sept. 24, Purdue, W 42-35 (2 OT); Oct. 1, at Penn State, L 44-14; Oct. 8, at Michigan, W 23-20; Oct. 15, Wisconin, L 38-34; Oct. 29, Ohio State; Nov. 5, at Indiana; Nov. 12, Michigan State; Nov. 19, at Iowa.

* Minnesota Key Players (2005 Stats): QB Bryan Cupito (82 of 149 passing, 1,208 yards, 10 TDs, 6 INTs), RB Laurence Maroney (208 carries, 1,133 yards, 8 TDs), RB Gary Russell (85 carries, 644 yards, 10 TDs), WR Logan Payne (19 catches, 268 yards, 1 TD), WR Ernie Wheelwright (18 catches, 297 yards, 3 TDs), FS John Pawielski (52 tackles, 4 TFLs, 1 INT), WLB John Shevlin (35 tackles), MLB Mike Sherels (34 tackles, 3-1/2 TFLs, 1 INT), CB Trumaine Banks (33 tackles, 4 TFLs, 1 INT).

* Minnesota Fast Facts: Location: Minneapolis, Minn.; Enrollment, 47,618; Nickname, Gophers; Colors, Maroon and Gold; Stadium, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (surface, FieldTurf; capacity, 64,172).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 4 Santonio Holmes, 5-11, 190, Jr.

8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 240, Jr.

LT 50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

75 Alex Boone, 6-8, 315, Fr.

LG 77 Rob Sims, 6-4, 310, Sr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Sr.

C 55 Nick Mangold, 6-4, 290, Sr.

50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

RG 72 T.J. Downing, 6-5, 305, Jr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Sr.

RT 75 Alex Boone, 6-8, 315, Fr.

or 74 Kirk Barton, 6-7, 325, So.

TE 80 Ryan Hamby, 6-5, 255, Sr.

87 Brandon Smith, 6-3, 240, R-Fr.

FL 7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 175, So.

5 Albert Dukes, 6-1, 190, R-Fr.

QB 10 Troy Smith, 6-1, 215, Jr.

12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, Jr.

TB 25 Antonio Pittman, 5-11, 195, So.

43 Brandon Schnittker, 6-2, 250, Sr.

FB 89 Stan White Jr., 6-3, 242, Jr.

49 Dionte Johnson, 6-0, 250, So.

SL 11 Anthony Gonzalez, 6-0, 195, So.

85 Brian Robiskie, 6-3, 190, Fr.

K 23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

85 Ryan Pretorius, 5-10, 190, R-Fr.

Ohio State Defense

DE 97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Jr.

99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 276, Jr.

or 87 Lawrence Wilson, 6-6, 225, Fr.

DT 94 Marcus Green, 6-3, 290, Sr.

97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Jr.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, Jr.

98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 290, Jr.

DE 57 Mike Kudla, 6-3, 265, Sr.

50 Vernon Gholston, 6-4, 260, So.

or 78 Alex Barrow, 6-4, 255, R-Fr.

SLB 42 Bobby Carpenter, 6-3, 255, Sr.

33 James Laurinaitis, 6-3, 231, Fr.

MLB 51 Anthony Schlegel, 6-1, 251, Sr.

5 Mike D'Andrea, 6-3, 248, Jr.

WLB 47 A.J. Hawk, 6-1, 240, Sr.

52 John Kerr, 6-1, 246, Jr.

CB 26 Ashton Youboty, 6-1, 188, Jr.

2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

FS 21 Nate Salley, 6-3, 220, Sr.

32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Jr.

SS 9 Donte Whitner, 5-11, 205, Jr.

3 Jamario O'Neal, 6-1, 180, Fr.

CB 2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

6 Tyler Everett, 5-11, 202, Sr.

NB 32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Jr.

34 Rob Harley, 6-2, 202, Sr.

P 15 A.J. Trapasso, 6-1, 220, R-Fr.

LS 68 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, Jr.

Minnesota Offense

WR 84 Logan Payne, 6-2, 200, Jr.

83 Jared Ellerson, 6-1, 200, Sr.

TE 89 Matt Spaeth, 6-6, 270, Jr.

81 Jarod Posthumus, 6-4, 255, Sr.

LT 64 Steve Shidell, 6-5, 285, So.

78 Joe Ainslie, 6-7, 310, Jr.

LG 68 Mark Setterstrom, 6-3, 305, Sr.

69 John Jakel, 6-5, 280, So.

C 61 Greg Eslinger, 6-3, 285, Sr.

56 Tyson Swaggert, 6-4, 285, Jr.

RG 60 Mike Nicholson, 6-5, 285, Sr.

75 Otis Hudson, 6-4, 290, Fr.

RT 77 Tony Brinkhaus, 6-4, 300, So.

79 Matt DeGeest, 6-5, 270, R-Fr.

QB 3 Bryan Cupito, 6-3, 205, Jr.

17 Tony Mortensen, 6-3, 220, R-Fr.

TB 22 Laurence Maroney, 5-11, 210, Jr.

24 Gary Russell, 5-11, 215, So.

FB 18 Justin Valentine, 6-2, 230, So.

42 Jason Lamers, 6-0, 240, Jr.

WR 82 Ernie Wheelwright, 6-5, 215, So.

88 Micah Rucker, 6-6, 210, So.

K 31 Jason Giannini, 5-10, 180, R-Fr.

Minnesota Defense

DE 92 Steve Davis, 6-2, 230, Fr.

90 Eric Clark, 6-4, 265, Jr.

DT 95 Anthony Montgomery, 6-5, 310, Sr.

98 Neel Allen, 6-3, 295, So.

DT 97 Mark Losli, 6-6, 295, Sr.

70 Todd Meisel, 6-4, 265, So.

DE 99 Keith Lipka, 6-3, 265, Sr.

91 Willie VanDeSteeg, 6-4, 250, R-Fr.

WLB 46 John Shevlin, 6-1, 225, So.

44 Deon Hightower, 6-3, 200, R-Fr.

MLB 58 Mike Sherels, 6-0, 235, So.

6 Alex Daniels, 6-3, 230, Fr.

DLB 52 Kyle McKenzie, 6-1, 235, Sr.

48 Mario Reese, 6-3, 230, Jr.

CB 4 Trumaine Banks, 5-11, 185, Jr.

11 Desi Steib, 6-1, 185, So.

SS 2 Dominic Jones, 5-9, 180, Fr.

32 Terrance Campbell, 6-2, 205, Sr.

FS 34 John Pawielski, 5-11, 200, Sr.

23 Dominique Barber, 6-0, 200, So.

CB 15 Jamal Harris, 6-0, 185, So.

2 Dominic Jones, 5-9, 180, Fr.

P 41 Justin Kucek, 6-0, 200, R-Fr.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: With each passing week, the Buckeyes seem to be working out some of the kinks. Antonio Pittman at tailback is coming into his own with four 100-yard games. OSU is unbeaten when Pittman reaches the century mark.

Obviously, quarterback Troy Smith must continue to progress and keep the mistakes to a minimum. If he can continue to find Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn Jr., the Buckeyes could be on to a winning formula.

Minnesota's defensive rankings are middle-of-the-road. Within the Big Ten, the Gophers are sixth in rushing defense, fifth in pass defense, fourth in total defense and sixth in scoring defense. But when you look strictly at the Big Ten games, the Gophers have allowed their four conference opponents an average of over 34 points a game. So there should be some opportunities for the Buckeyes in that regard this week against what is, somewhat, a no-name Minnesota defense.

Freshman Dominic Jones (from Columbus Brookhaven) fills in at strong safety, where Brandon Owens was lost in the Penn State defeat with a shoulder injury.

* When Minnesota Has The Ball: This is the match-up worth tuning in for. The Gophers lead the nation in rushing at 299.1 yards per game. Ohio State leads the nation in rushing defense at 62.7 yards allowed per game. The Buckeyes would do well to take a page from Penn State's book here. The Nittany Lions held Minnesota to a net of 114 yards rushing in a 44-14 whitewashing of the Gophers.

Much of the success here will hinge on how the front seven and the safeties crash to the ball. It is being said that Laurence Maroney and Gary Russell (from Columbus Walnut Ridge) may form a better tandem than Maroney and Marion Barber III did – and all they did was post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons together. Maroney already has his 1,000, while Russell is well on his way.

Quarterback Bryan Cupito (from Cincinnati McNicholas) missed the Oct. 15 loss to Wisconsin after going down with a shoulder injury in the win at Michigan. But Cupito is back practicing and figures to play against Ohio State. He has only been sacked four times – a tribute to UM's great offensive line. The Buckeyes must bring some pressure here, however.

* How It Will Go: This has the makings of a great Big Ten football game. There are so many storylines here.

Minnesota has no fewer than nine Ohio products playing key roles, including the guys mentioned above as well as wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright, cornerback Trumaine Banks, punter Justin Kucek and kicker Jason Giannini. You don't think those guys will be out to show that Ohio State erred in not taking them?

Glen Mason gets another chance to validate his program, become bowl eligible for the sixth time in seven years and show that Ohio State erred in not taking him when it hired Jim Tressel in January 2001.

You look at that match-up between Minnesota's offensive line and rushing game against OSU's front seven and its rushing defense. That should be a dandy.

This should be a war of the highest magnitude. Minnesota defeated Michigan already this year for the first time since 1986. The Gophers haven't won at home against OSU since 1981, but this team believes it can pull it off.

OSU's last two trips to Minnesota have gone down to the wire with the 31-28 win in 2001 and OSU's 20-17 win in 1999. I expect to see more of the same. Provided the Buckeyes can stay away from some of the costly penalties, turnovers and mental mistakes we've seen in recent weeks, I think OSU can continue its march toward a possible Big Ten championship. Perhaps Josh Huston gets a late chance to win it. I've got it: Ohio State 27-24

* For The Record: I am 5-2 straight-up and 4-3 against-the-spread with Ohio State. (As of Tuesday, OSU was listed as a four-point favorite.)

On this week's Bucknuts Radio Hour, Jerry Rudzinski predicted OSU 23-16, Kirk Larrabee said OSU 24-21 and Mr. Bucknuts went OSU 30-17.

-- Steve Helwagen


Buckeye Sports Top Stories