The Buckeyes hit the 10-0 mark today as another dominating defensive performance led OSU to a 34-3 drubbing of the #19 Minnesota Golden Gophers. Maurice Clarett did not play, but Lydell Ross and Maurice Hall were able to step up as Ross ran for 83 yards and 2 TDs on 21 carries and Hall ran for 92 yards on 13 carries and 1 TD. The defense pummeled the Minnesota offense, limiting them to just 112 total yards (only 7 total yards in the second half).
It was an ugly start to the game for the Buckeyes. After receiving the opening kickoff and starting at their own 30, they ran three plays with no success and then had the punt blocked by Minnesota's Jermaine Mays. Minnesota took over at the OSU 27, but the defense kept the Gophers out of the end zone as Minnesota's Dan Nystrom would kick a 24-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead.
The following possession was also unsuccessful as OSU went three-and-out, and the punt gave Minnesota good field position again at their own 45. But after a few plays, the Gophers moved backwards due to a holding penalty and were forced to punt soon after. OSU took over at their own 20, and it looked like things were starting to kick into gear offensively as Lydell Ross had a big play with a 26-yard run, but two plays after that, Ross couldn't hold on to the handoff and fumbled the ball back to Minnesota at their own 45. The OSU defense stopped the Gophers once again though, forcing them to punt at the end of the first quarter.
The Buckeyes still could not get much going offensively. The Buckeyes took over at their own 32, but after a few plays, they would punt it back to Minnesota. It looked like Andy Groom had hit another beauty as his first punt was downed at the 1-yard line, but a penalty negated the play and caused OSU to punt again. The Gophers now had a bit better field position at their own 18, but they went three-and-out and punted it back to the Buckeyes.
The OSU offense would still be stifled though as they went three-and-out again. Minnesota's pass defense was keeping OSU's WRs from getting open and they were also getting to Craig Krenzel as a result. But the OSU D was still up to the task as well as the Gophers were forced to go three-and-out once again also.
On the next possession, OSU hit a big play. Lydell Ross opened with a 13-yard run after OSU took over at their own 30, and then two plays later, Craig Krenzel hit Michael Jenkins for a big 49-yard pass. Right after that, Ross scampered in from 6 yards out, and the Mike Nugent PAT made it 7-3 OSU.
The Gophers were held to another three-and-out on the following possession, and after that, the OSU special teams struck back as Donnie Nickey burst through the line and blocked the Minnesota punt. Nickey recovered and gave OSU the ball at their own 15-yard line. The offense moved backwards from there, but Mike Nugent came on to boot a 37-yard field goal to give OSU a 10-3 lead. The Gophers could not get a score out of their final first half possession, so the Buckeyes went in at the half with the 10-3 lead.
Minnesota received the kickoff to start the second half, and things would go downhill for them right away. After a three-and-out, the Buckeyes got the ball back on a strange play as a bad snap caused Gopher punter Preston Guerning to kneel down and pick up the ball, and in the process, he was called down at the Minnesota 10-yard line. Shortly after, Lydell Ross ran it in from 9 yards out, and the Nugent PAT made it 17-3.
Minnesota couldn't do anything on their next possession either (this became a pattern in the second half), and they punted the ball back to the Buckeyes, who took over at the Minnesota 47-yard line. OSU moved the ball up the field a bit, but they did not punch it in for a TD and settled for a 33-yard Nugent field goal to make it 20-3. After another three-and-out from Minnesota, OSU took over at their own 47 and after a four plays (one of which a 19-yard run from Maurice Hall), Craig Krenzel hit Chris Vance for a 31-yard TD. The Nugent PAT made it 27-3.
The next Minnesota possession resulted in another punt, and OSU took over on their own 31-yard line. The Buckeyes would be forced to punt shortly after, but they gave Minnesota great field position after Andy Groom dropped the snap and was brought down at the OSU 32. However, the defense kept on dominating as they forced Minnesota to turn it over on downs. From there, the Buckeyes took over at their own 23, and Maurice Hall led the team down the field as he picked up chunks of yardage on the ground and eventually ran it in for a 4-yard TD. The point after made it 34-3, and that would be the final score as from there, Minnesota couldn't do anything and OSU's reserves came in to run out the clock.
- OSU's defense continued dominating. As previously noted, they only gave up 112 total yards, but the numbers don't stop there. They only allowed 53 rushing yards to a team that had averaged over 270 a game, they forced seven three-and-outs, had five sacks, limited Minnesota to 1.4 yards per play, and held the Gophers to six first downs. After their first field goal, Minnesota did not come close to scoring. About the only things they didn't do were cause an interception and force a fumble.
- The offense looked sluggish at first. They totaled 101 yards in the first half and gave up 5 sacks. Things were better in the second half though; the Buckeyes ended up with 294 yards total and ran it for 174 total yards.
- Maurice Clarett, as previously mentioned, did not play today. However, Cie Grant and Shane Olivea, who were out for the PSU game, did play today.
- Mike Nugent and Iowa's Nate Kaeding may be in a battle for the Lou Groza Award, and it will be fun to see who blinks first. Nugent is 20/20 on the year and Kaeding is 19/19.
- It's always good to see the reserves get time, and RB JaJa Riley looked pretty good when he got the chance to run. He carried 7 times for 26 yards.
- The Buckeyes move on to 10-0. Two unbeatens have been knocked off today as Notre Dame and NC State lost, and two more unbeatens -- Georgia and Virginia Tech, are in action tonight.
- Next up is another big game at Purdue. There will be little time to celebrate this victory as the Buckeyes now must travel to West Lafayette, Indiana and will be faced with another Big Ten fight. Go Bucks!