Players to Watch: Minnesota vs Ohio State

The Buckeyes are 2 for 2 so far in this three road test early in November. The third and last road test will come against an up and coming, physical, disciplined Minnesota team led by beloved coach Jerry Kill. The Gophers have been playing good football of late beating both rivals Iowa and TTUN. Lets take a look at the players to keep an eye on this Saturday.


David Cobb, Running Back

The Gophers are a run first football team and it starts with their workhorse David Cobb. Cobb has already registered a 1200 yards accompanied with eight touchdowns. His touchdown numbers wont blow anyone away but explosive isn’t really Cobb’s game. Cobb is a power back weighing around 230 to 235 pounds. He is very methodical averaging 5.3 yards per carry, and only gets better the more he gets the rock. Cobb has recorded 5 games this season where he has registered 25+ attempts and averaged 180.2 yards in those games.

It will be important for Buckeye tacklers to either hit Cobb in the backfield before he is able to gain a head of steam, or gang tackle him. He will shake off arm tackles and simply throwing a shoulder in to him won’t be enough to bring him to the ground. The Buckeyes can not afford a poor tackling performance similar to what they had last week against Michigan State. Stop Cobb and you bring the Gophers offense to a grinding hault. In their two losses this season Cobb only rushed for 79.5 yards. Here is tape of Cobb from one of his more dominant performances this seasons against San Jose State where he rushed for 207 yards on 34 carries.

Damien Wilson, Middle Linebacker

Wilson is the most NFL ready player on this Gopher roster. The 6’2, 242 pound linebacker leads the Big Ten in tackles with 88 and is beginning to play some of the best football of his career. Wilson is a do it all linebackers as he not only leads the team in tackles, but he also has recorded 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. Wilson will be anywhere and everywhere the Gophers need him to be on Saturday in order to try and contain this Buckeye offense. I would not be shocked to see Wilson have an upwards of 15-20 tackles on Saturday for the future NFL talent.

Ohio State

J.T. Barrett

Barrett will look to continue to keep this offense on track and on its record breaking pace. Barrett has already initiated a quarterback controversy for the 2015 season, but before we even get there the Buckeyes have an opportunity to win out, win the Big Ten Title, and maybe find themselves in the playoff. Barrett will need to keep his team focused on the right now. He will need to ensure this offense doesn’t come out slow against the Gophers after a very dominant and emotional win last Saturday night. If Barrett needed anymore motivation, he is on the cusp of being in the Heisman conversation and another big performance on Saturday would keep those hopes alive.

Curtis Grant

While Barrett’s performance is more focused on the mental approach to Saturday’s game, Grant’s is much more X’s and O’s heavy. The Gophers will want to run the ball to control the clock and keep the Buckeye offense off the field. When facing spread teams McMillan has been favored in place of Grant due to his speed in space, however, this type of game fits Grant play style much better. Grant will need to play downhill, stay clean and free from the grasp of those massive Gopher offensive line, and do his best to slow down and contain David Cobb of Minnesota. Expect Grant to have a 10-12 tackle performance.

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