Ohio State @ Minnesota Game Preview

Sometimes you see all that white space and just get brain freeze [Jack Nicholson - The Shining]

Bring your heaviest winter coat and your harshest whiskey it’s the chilling Ohio State vs. Minnesota game preview-

 

The Bucks are 2 wins from clinching a berth in the Big Ten Championship game but the fans are thinking bigger. Ohio State is now just 4 spots away from a spot in the College Football Playoff and they are as hot as any team in the country. With more carnage to occur in spots 1-7 the Buckeyes simply need to take care of business and see what happens.

The toughest test left in the regular season is a road trip to Southern Canada… I mean Minneapolis and many are labeling the match-up with an all too familiar term-

Trap game: A game following an emotional and impressive victory against an underrated team that is a heavy underdog.

Oh and the game is being played in the North Pole…

With a high temperature of around 20 degrees and possible snow showers the game this Saturday will separate the manly men from the weak. There is no excuse for Ohio State to overlook a pretty good team on Saturday but crazier things have happened (I’m looking at you Auburn).

Here is everything you need to know about the game Saturday at noon:

Opponent: University of Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Over 50,000 students
  • Established in 1851
  • 7 national championships
  • 18 Big Ten Championships
  • 660-493-44 all time record
  • 7-43 record vs. Ohio State
  • 7-2 record this season (4-1 Big Ten)

 Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium

  • Capacity: 52,525
  • Total cost: $303 million
  • Field tuf

Important Players:

  • QB- Mitch Leidner: 81/152 1,225 yards 10 TD 6 Int.
  • RB- David Cobb: 227 attempts 1,205 yards 8 TD.
  • TE- Maxx Williams: 22 receptions 326 yards 7 TD.

Buckeye Offense vs Gopher Defense:

Minnesota is ranked 22nd in total defense, 37th against the run and 26th against the pass. They are among the best in the nation at intercepting the ball with only 8 teams with more picks who have played the same number of games. The numbers don’t lie; the Gophers are a pretty good defense.

With the weather concerns Ohio State will certainly look to run the ball early against a solid Minnesota run defense. The loss of Rod Smith will probably hurt in this game more than any other left on the schedule. Coach Urban Meyer said that Ezekiel Elliot is a little banged up and another 230 pound running back to throw out there would be a nice luxury in a grinding November game.

The offensive coaches said they emptied the playbook against Michigan State and it will be interesting to see if the coaches will decide to air it out in rough conditions. As long as the wind is not hurricane-like, one can expect the Bucks to take a lot of deep shots. The two losses on Minnesota’s schedule were to teams that run the spread with mobile quarterbacks- TCU and Illinois. Expect Barrett to have plenty of space to make plays.

The matchup to watch will be the Ohio State wide receivers and H-backs against the playmaking secondary of Minnesota. The coaches said that Noah Brown is ready for playing time and the 240 pounder may help fill the void of Rod Smith. Jailin Marshall from the wildcat looks here to stay and don’t be surprised to see him throw a few passes Saturday afternoon.

Bold Prediction: Barrett rushes for over 100 yards.

 

Gopher Offense vs Buckeye Defense:

Minnesota is an old school offense that centers on the run and play action pass. They sit at the 59th scoring offense with a top 30 rushing attack. The weakness is the passing game which is the worst in the nation for a Power 5 team other than Boston College. Averaging 140 yards a game is pretty gross…

The Buckeye will certainly crowd the line of scrimmage and dare quarterback Mitch Leidner to throw deep to his wide receivers. The biggest threat in the passing game is tight end Maxx Williams. He caught three touchdowns last week and displayed outstanding hands to help destroy Iowa. All three touchdowns were inside the ten yard line so Chris Ash and Luke Fickell should know where the ball is going in goal line situations.

Like Ezekiel Elliot, David Cobb is flying under the radar in the best of the Big Ten running backs talk- and that’s a shame. The senior from Texas has already passed a thousand yards rushing and is averaging 5.3 ypc. He must be Ohio State’s main focus as the Buckeyes were gashed by the MSU running game in spots last week. Curtis Grant and Raekwon McMillan should be licking their chops because Ohio State will be in a 3 Linebacker set for the whole game.  This helps ease the loss of nickelback Armani Reeves who is somewhere in the Bermuda triangle… Nobody will say what his problem is. How the linebackers play will determine whether the Gophers can stay close in the scoring department. Missed tackle issues started creeping up against a very good Spartan offense last week.

Bold prediction: Minnesota will have less than 250 yards of offense.

How it will end up:

On an extremely cold day after an extremely tough win against a… pretty good team I think the Bucks win by a few touchdowns. Minnesota will be able to get some yardage on the ground and their defense will hold the Buckeyes to below their average.

It will be a lot tougher than most think but I think the Buckeyes control the whole game with a few scares here and there.

 

Ohio State 34 Minnesota 20

 

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