Ohio State redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones took back the reins for the Buckeye offense, and OSU held off a late rally from the Minnesota Golden Gophers to win 28-14 inside Ohio Stadium on Saturday night.
Jones played an efficient game, going 12-of-22 passing for 187 yards and a touchdown while adding 65 yards and another touchdown on the ground against a stout Minnesota defense that nearly upset Michigan in its previous game. However, the offense was still never able to find its groove, leaving a lot of people wondering if redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett will take over once again next week at Illinois.
In all, the Buckeye offense was able to pile up 376 yards of offense, which featured another strong performance by junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, who added 114 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Buckeyes, despite being held scoreless once again in the first quarter, scored the first 21 points of the game, but the top performers from Saturday night were unquestionably the entire defensive unit.
The Buckeye defense played an excellent game, holding Minnesota to only 33 rushing yards on the night. This forced redshirt junior quarterback Mitch Leidner to make plays through the air. Leidner did up passing for 281 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw a costly interception that was returned for a touchdown by OSU junior safety Vonn Bell. OSU was able to keep the Golden Gophers off the board until the fourth quarter.
OSU is scheduled to play its final three regular-season games — two on the road — all against teams with winning records, starting with Illinois last week. Minnesota, after dropping two consecutive games since coach Jerry Kill retired, will hit the road to play at undefeated Iowa next week as it fights to reach bowl eligibility for the year.
By the numbers:
10 – The current win streak for the Buckeyes over the Golden Gophers.
2 – Since 1967, Minnesota has only beaten OSU twice (1981 and 2000).
8 and 6 – OSU’s football successes are well known, as it claims eight national titles, the sixth most all time. Minnesota, however, has had some great successes as well and claims six national titles, the eighth most all time.
14 – Elliott has now ran for at least 100 yards in 14 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the nation.
29 – OSU has now won 29 straight regular-season Big Ten conference games. Not only is it the longest win streak ever in the Big Ten, it is also tied for the longest conference winning streak of all time with Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
22 – The Buckeyes have now won 22 straight games, which is tied for the second longest winning streak in school history. The longest streak in OSU history is 24 straight wins during Urban Meyer’s first two seasons as head coach.