Ohio State caught fire in the second half to pull away and elude a pesky Minnesota team Thursday night in the opener for both teams.
Trailing 14–10 at intermission, the Buckeyes exploded after the break en route to beating the Golden Gophers 45-31. It marks the 12th straight victory for Ohio State in the series.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
* Minnesota operated around midfield on its first two drives, but ultimately had to pin Ohio State inside the 10 on both occasions. The Buckeyes scored each time nonetheless, taking a 10–0 lead (early second quarter) during a stretch highlighted by a 71-yard scoring burst from Miyan Williams.
* However, the Golden Gophers settled in behind running back Mohamed Ibrahim. He broke a huge gain on fourth and 1 from the team’s own 29-yard line, setting up a passing touchdown moments later. Then, the 210-pound senior punched in a short TD himself after a C.J. Stroud interception provided a short field. Just like that, Minnesota took a lead into halftime.
* The second half featured all kinds of action:
- Stroud connected with Chris Olave on a 38-yard touchdown pass, the first scoring strike of the young quarterback's career.
- Josh Proctor's interception was wiped away on a roughing the passer call against Dallas Gant. Minnesota then capitalized as Ibrahim broke free for a 19-yard score, putting the hosts back on top 21–17.
- The Gophers later held possession with the lead, and driving, but a tough personal foul call stymied momentum. Ohio State responded with a long TD pass from Stroud to Garrett Wilson, followed by a Haskell Garrett defensive scoop-and-score that opened a 31-21 cushion.
* Ibrahim exited the game with 0:37 left in the third quarter and didn't return. Minnesota stayed within a possession (as rain continued) on a 46-yard field goal before freshman TreVeyon Henderson took a screen pass 70 yards to the house on the ensuing drive... OSU led 38-24 as a result.
* Both sides traded scores to culminate the final quarter. Minnesota pulled within 38-31 to keep things interesting, but the final haymaker came on a 61-yard toss from Stroud to Olave in the closing minutes.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
* Vegas knows what it's doing. Ohio State closed as 14-point favorites and won by that exact margin.
* The game featured 903 combined yards of total offense and 41 first downs.
* Minnesota held a lopsided 39:00 time of possession, but it didn't matter. Ohio State had four scoring plays over 50 yards.
* Ronnie Hickman led all tacklers with 11 stops in his first college start.
* Stroud finished with 294 yards and four touchdowns... with almost all of the damage coming after halftime.
* Ibrahim ran 30 times for 163 yards in just under three quarters.
* Ohio State averaged nearly 20 yards per play in the second half.
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