A fast start, sluggish second quarter and impressive finish equaled a 30-7 victory for Ohio State in the Buckeyes' final game in the Metrodome on Sept. 29, 2008.
The Buckeyes (5-0) extended their school-record regular-season winning streak to 23 games. Running back Chris "Beanie" Wells led the way, running for 116 yards and two touchdowns. However, he missed part of the second half with a left ankle injury.
"I think we've gotten to the point where he understands he's going to hurt," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "That's what running backs do. They hurt. But they run hard, and that's what he's doing."
What was a close game turned on a Malcolm Jenkins interception and an ensuing touchdown drive for the Buckeyes in the second quarter. With Ohio State ahead 14-7, Jenkins intercepted an Adam Weber pass that stopped a Minnesota drive at the OSU 22.
"That was a deflating moment at the end of the half, but we went toe-to-toe with the eighth-ranked team in the country," Minnesota coach Tim Brewster told reporters after the game. "I told the kids in the locker room to be proud."
Ohio State then drove down the field, capped by a terrific touchdown reception by Brian Robiskie that gave the Buckeyes a 20-7 halftime lead. Quarterback Todd Boeckman threw a deep pass down the right hash to the end zone where Robiskie leapt over safety Jamal Harris and made a one-handed touchdown grab. The ensuing point-after attempt was blocked, but Ohio State took the momentum into halftime.
"(Robiskie) plays the ball in the air very, very well, and Todd loves to throw it up in the air to those guys," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "Sometimes he gets catches and sometimes he's gotten pass interference penalties. He's got a couple interceptions this year, but he has a lot of confidence those guys are going to go up there and get the ball."
The Buckeyes took the second-half kickoff and drove 54 yards and increased the lead with a 43-yard field goal by Ryan Pretorius. Boeckman and Robiskie connected again on the biggest play of the drive on a 21-yard pass.
Ohio State capped the scoring in the fourth quarter when Brian Hartline caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Boeckman. The scoring strike finished a six-play, 68-yard drive.
Wells scored on touchdown runs of 6 and 4 yards in the first half. His first score was set up by punter A.J. Trapasso, whose 18-yard run on a fake punt kept the drive alive.
Minnesota native James Laurinaitis led the defense with a game-high 14 tackles, including 1½ for loss. Fellow linebacker Marcus Freeman added 11 tackles, while Larry Grant had five tackles, including 2½ for loss and a sack along with an interception.
Boeckman had a quality effort in his first prime-time collegiate start. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 209 yards and did not throw an interception in a game for the first time since the season opener at Youngstown State.
Robiskie caught five passes for 99 yards, and Hartline added three receptions for 39.
Wells led all rushers, but he was upset by his final carry of the game. Minnesota linebacker John Shevlin stripped the ball from Wells at the OSU 7 with 6:08 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Buckeye defense did not allow Minnesota to turn the fumble into points, forcing Minnesota to turn the ball over on downs.
"I fumbled today and I'm upset about it," he said. "That's my first one this year, but that's one too many. My ankle was hurting and I was thinking about that instead of the football game. I lost my focus."
Wells told reporters the ankle was OK and should be fine for OSU's next game at unbeaten Purdue.