Game Preview: Ohio State vs Minnesota

Ohio State is playing in their 6th and final home game of the season as it hosts Minnesota this Saturday. This game will be the last opportunity for the Buckeyes to tune up their offense ans defense before The Game next week, which new stories are breaking daily to this point in shaping who or who not will be participating, and that will include head coach Jim Harbaugh, who accepted the 3 game suspension which started against Penn State last week, and will carry over next week against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State cant focus on that right now, and the headlines are just distractions from this game, which will be just as important if they want to keep their goals of winning a Big Ten Championship, and competing for a National Championship in the last version of the 4 team playoff. 
For some Buckeyes, it will be the final time they ever play in Ohio Stadium. So Ryan Day is encouraging all of his players to appreciate the opportunity to play in front of their home crowd while they still can.
“One of the things that I talk to our guys about a lot is every game when you play in the Shoe, you have to appreciate it because nothing’s guaranteed moving forward,” Day said. “Make sure you recognize how much you have to appreciate when you run out into that stadium. There’s only so many of those.”
Big Ten Network will air the game at 4pm, which is the second time the Buckeyes have played on the network this season.

Know the Opponent:

Head Coach: PJ Fleck (7th season)
2023 Record: 5-5
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Conference: Big Ten

Ohio State Preview

Ohio State will try and duplicate their game play and scoring success that they did last week against Michigan State, where they scored on 5 of their first 6 possessions, and took out a majority of their starters halfway through the 3rd quarter. If we see Lincoln Keinholz leading the Buckeye offense in the third-quarter, we hope it is a sign that the starters have done what the needed to do, and can get some rest for the following week. 
Even though it is Minnesota on the opposing sidelines, this game will be emotional for the seniors and NFL ready talent as they will play their last home game this season. 
Day is looking forward to sharing a moment with every player who chooses to participate in Senior Day because he knows what they’ve all had to overcome during their respective Ohio State careers.
“When you see that player come across the field, they come with a history of adversity, almost all of them. They have their own story, their own journey along the way, whether it is an injury, whether it’s losing a family member, whether it’s someone was diagnosed with cancer, whether it was just something along the way that they have to work through, and that’s life,” Day said. “And the fact that they’ve started off as recruits, and then they get here as a freshman and they work through and then they graduate, and along the way, they have their own story. And each guy has their own story, which I think that’s the one thing that I recognize as those guys run across the field.”
Kyle McCord has passed for 2687 yards this season, which ranks 2nd best in the conference behind Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa. He has passed for 20 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, which is 3rd  best in the conference. He has one of his best career games last week against Michigan State despite only playing 2 and 1/2 quarters.
TreVeyon Henderson is still hitting his peak, and now has 103 carries for 648 yards with 8 touchdowns. Behind him is Chip Trayanum who has 75 carries for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns. 
Marvin Harrison Jr leads the team with 59 catches for 1963 yards and 12 touchdowns, one of the best statistical leaders in the country. Cade Stover has 34 catches for 508 yards and 4 touchdowns. Emeka Egbuka might not play this game depending on health, but he is third on the team with 27 catches for 344 yards and 3 touchdowns. This group will be losing a lot of talent after this season, and has a loaded group of 5-stars like Carnell Tate, Brandon Inniss and Jelani Thurman ready to fill the gaps.

Minnesota Preview

Head coach PJ Fleck is no stranger to Ohio Stadium, as he was a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes when Hartline was still a player. He has led his team this season to a 5-5 record, and are riding a two game losing streak to Purdue and Illinois, who are at the bottom of the Big Ten West.
The last time these two teams played was in 2021, where CJ Stroud made his first start on the road after being out Kyle McCord for the starting quarterback, and the Golden Gophers gave Ohio State all it could until Mo Ibrahim got hurt and was unable to compete in the rest of the game. 
Minnesota also played against Michigan on the road, where they lost 52-10. I am sure this will be a tracked stat line that the fans on social media will boast depending on the outcome, but these games were played at two different times of the season, and I wouldn’t hold it past the Buckeyes to keep it more conservative.
Athan Kaliakmanis is the starter at quarterback for Minnesota and he has passed for 1582 yards this season, with 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He has scrambled and added a threat running the ball when needed, and has 2 rushing touchdowns.
Darius Taylor is the lead running back, and he has 103 carries for 591 yards, along with 4 touchdowns. He has also caught 9 passes fir 81 yards. Behin him is Jordan Nubun, who has 81 carries for 393 yards and 2 touchdowns. 
Daniel Jackson is the lead receiver for the Golden Gophers, and he has caught 45 passes for 681 yards and 7 touchdowns. Behind him is Corey Crooms Jr, who has 26 catches for 334 yards. Their tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford is their third leading pass catcher with 23 catches for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

Buckeye Spotlight

Marvin Harrison Jr. Buckeye fans, enjoy Marvin Harrison Jr in his last home game as a Buckeye. You already know the offense this week will be about getting him the ball early, often, and booking his ticket to NYC for December.

Golden Gopher Spotlight

Tyler Nubin. The safety is graded by Pro Football Focus as the best safety in the entire FBS this season. He is a projected early-round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. He has accumulated four interceptions, four additional pass breakups, one forced fumble, 49 total tackles and a sack this season.

Water Cooler Stat of the Game

21. Ohio State will have 21 football players participate in Senior Day activities. 
Here is the full list provided by Ohio State:
K Parker Lewis
QB Tristan Gebbia
OL Jack Forsman (retired)
OL Grant Toutant (retired)
QB Chad Ray
DB Andrew Moore
OL Quinton Burke
DB Cameron Kittle
OL Trey Leroux
TE Patrick Gurd
DT Jaden McKenzie
RB Miyan Williams
LB Cody Simon
LB Steele Chambers
WR Julian Fleming
S Lathan Ransom
S Josh Proctor
RG Matt Jones
WR Xavier Johnson
TE Cade Stover
LB Tommy Eichenberg


This is the last tune up game for the Buckeyes before The Game. I know they cant look ahead, but this will be a very emotional game for a lot of the players who will be playing their last home game in the Shoe. The goal of the game will to be keep healthy, and be as close to 100% as you can be going into next week, and I am willing to bet Ryan Day will put in his game plan that he did last week against Michigan State. This will be a name your score for Ohio State, but with the likelihood of this one being over by halftime, I expect the starters to be out by the mid 3rd quarter mark, and a very conservative game to chew clock.

Ohio State 42 – Minnesota 6

Photo Credit: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

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