The Buckeyes extended the nation's longest winning streak to 16 games with a 44-0 blanking of Minnesota in front of 105,455 fans at Ohio Stadium Oct. 28.
Eventual Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith completed 14 of 21 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown and added six rushes for 43 yards and another score. The OSU defense made sure Minnesota never challenged. The Buckeyes out-gained Minnesota 484-182 and the defense intercepted three Bryan Cupito passes.
"It is the ultimate goal of any defense to not allow any points," said sophomore linebacker Marcus Freeman, who had six tackles. "It is a really good feeling, but as a defense we still have a lot of work to do."
Junior running back Antonio Pittman ran for 116 yards on 21 carries and two scores. Ohio State (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) led 10-0 after one quarter and 17-0 at halftime before the Buckeyes added a pair of touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarters.
Chris "Beanie" Wells added 90 yards on 15 carries, but his fumbling problems popped up again with another turnover in the second quarter. Nonetheless, he did later get into the end zone early in the fourth quarter.
"Coach (Jim) Tressel installed confidence in putting me back in the game," Wells said. "He just said to keep my head up and be ready to play football. It meant a whole lot then to be back in the end zone."
The running game was a big part of the win on a windy afternoon. The Buckeyes ran the ball 46 times for 266 yards.
"The conditions made it so we had to run," said sophomore offensive tackle Steve Rehring. "The wind was really strong and gusty so we had to run. It is fine with me if we run or throw as long as we are getting the yardage and winning games."
Antonio Smith, Jamario O'Neal and Malcolm Jenkins each had interceptions and the OSU defense stopped Minnesota (3-6, 0-5) twice on fourth down. The latter of which was at the Ohio State 15 and helped preserve the shutout bid alive in the fourth quarter.
"Today we faced an incredible football team," said Minnesota head coach Glen Mason. "We have had many problems and we continue to have problems. It is hard to get past those problems and get better when you play a team like Ohio State."
After a 35-yard opening kickoff return by Ted Ginn Jr. to the Buckeye 43, Ohio State drove 57 yards on only eight plays to take a 7-0 lead 4:01 into the game. Pittman scored on a 10-yard run, and Aaron Pettrey added the extra point. Pettrey later added a 42-yard field goal to make it 10-0 after a seven-play, 48-yard drive.
In the second quarter Ohio State took a 17-0 lead on an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brian Robiskie with 3:49 remaining before halftime.
Troy Smith ran for the first touchdown of the second half – a 21-yard scamper that was set up by Antonio Smith's interception. Pittman added a 13-yard score less than six minutes later, and Wells and Justin Zwick scored on touchdown runs in the fourth quarter.