Game 1 Recap: Ohio State 45 – Minnesota 31
Ohio State found a way to win with a new quarterback in CJ Stroud who replaced first round pick Justin Fields, and despite showing some errors that a new quarterback will grow through, he trusted his instincts and teammates to help score 35 points in the second half. Ohio State now starts off the season 1-0 in both the overall record and Big Ten record, and Ryan Day’s Big Ten win streak extends to 16-0.
Minnesota started with the ball, and after chewing the clock for nearly 5 minutes, punted to the Buckeyes for their first possession, and Miyan Williams found the endzone on a 71 yard run. After forcing the Gophers to punt on their next possession, the Buckeyes scored once more with a 35 yard field goal to extend their lead 10-0.
On the next possession though, Minnesota called a gutsy 4th and 1 conversion attempt and Mo Ibrahim broke out to the left sideline to rush for 56 yards, and 2 plays later, Tanner Morgan found Texas A&M transfer Dylan Wright on the left corner for a touchdown and cutting the Buckeye lead to 10-7. Next, Stroud through a pass behind Chris Olave, who tipped it, but the Gophers were able to intercept it and score their second touchdown to take the lead into halftime 14-10.
The second half though became a fresh start for Ohio State, and when they started to take over the game. Their first possession, Cj Stroud connected with Chris Olave for a 38 yard touchdown to retake the lead. Minnesota rallies back though, and Mo Ibrahim scores for his first touchdown of the game, and the Gophers take the lead.
After both teams exchanged punts, the Buckeyes only needed one play for Stroud to connect to a wide open Garrett Wilson for a 56 yard touchdown pass. The next series for the Gophers was the second momentum change of the game, as Zach Harrison was able to strip sack Tannar Morgan, which Haskell Garrett was able to scoop and score, and help the Buckeyes take a 31-21 lead. The next few possessions ended in points for both teams, but with Minnesota playing a slow game to limit possessions, Ohio State scored 2 more times to finish with a 45-31 win.
CJ Stroud was the only quarterback to play this game, and for a good reason. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 294 yards and 4 touchdowns to 1 interception. He also scrambled a few times to finish with 13 yards rushing on 3 rushes.
The Buckeyes have as good of a running back room as they do wide receivers. Miyan Williams led with 125 yards on 9 carries and 1 touchdown. Master Teague was on for a series and completed the game with 6 rushes for 29 yards. TreVeyon Henderson had his welcome party with his play as he rushed for 19 yards on 6 carries, and 1 reception for 70 yards.
Chris Olave lead the receivers with 4 catches for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. Garrett Wilson lead the group with 5 catches with 80 yards and 1 touchdown. Stroud was also able to connect with Jeremy Ruckert and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
There were two turning points in this game the which lead to big momentum swings. Minnesota went for a conversion attempt on fourth down in the first half, which Ibrahim broke off for a 56 yard run to help the Gophers take their first touchdown, and eventually take the lead in halftime.
For the Buckeyes though, and what helped flip the scoreboard was the strip sack by Zach Harrison which Haskell Garrett was able to scoop and score and give Ohio State a ten point lead, and the Buckeyes never looked back.
Star of the Game
CJ Stroud. Miyan Williams showcased why he was getting a lot of buzz this fall camp, but CJ Stroud stepped up when he needed to in the second half of the game, and found his talented playmakers to help score 35 points in the second half. 294 yards and 4 touchdowns is also a good stat line for your first ever start.
Ohio State won a conference game on the road with some inexperience on key positions, and the defense still showed some holes that will be a lingering question throughout the season, but an offense that will keep them in every game. This week was a good test to play ina crowd and face some adversity, but next weeks match up will have a bigger impact on where the Buckeyes fit in the playoff picture. Also, the outcome of the Georgia/Clemson game will position the Buckeyes in the early stages of the season.
Ohio State (1-0) returns home to face Oregon (0-0) at noon as part of FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff.
Minnesota (0-1) hosts Miami (OH) (0-0) at noon on ESPNU
Photo credit: Columbus DIspatch