The Buckeyes, ranked second in the College Football Playoff rankings, improved to 11-0 and now can turn their focus to Michigan (11-0), which is ranked third. The teams will meet next Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
On the Buckeyes’ first play of the third quarter, TreVeyon Henderson burst free 75 yards for a rushing touchdown. Then on the Gophers’ next play, Jack Sawyer forced a fumble on a sack of Athan Kaliakmanis. Defensive end JT Tuimoloau returned the ball to the 6-yard line and set up a Marvin Harrison Jr. touchdown catch three plays later. And on the Gophers’ next series, Jordan Hancock intercepted Kaliakmanis to set up a Jayden Fielding 32-yard field goal. In fewer than four minutes of game time, Ohio State went from leading 13-0 to 30-0.
“Something that we talked about all year is coming out in the second half and playing well,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “Every year, you try to identify the areas where you want to improve on, and that was an area where we wanted to do a great job on.”
Kyle McCord completed 20 of 30 passes for 212 yards with 2 touchdown passes. Henderson gained 146 yards on 15 carries with two TDs, and Emeka Egbuka had 83 yards on five catches. Harrison was relatively contained by the Gophers defense, with three catches for 30 yards.
Kaliakmanis was 11-of-19 passing 89 yards and no touchdowns. Minnesota was outgained on offense 434-159.
Here are updates from the game.
• Tight end Cade Stover made his 10th career touchdown catch on a 1-yard pass from Kyle McCord to cap a 16-play, 84-yard drive, on the third play of the quarter. OHIO STATE 37, MINNESOTA 0, 13:43 REMAINING
• Minnesota put together its longest drive so far, but it came when the Gophers needed quick points. Instead, the 11-play effort yielded just three, with Dragan Kesich making a 54-yard field goal to end the shutout. OHIO STATE 37, MINNESOTA 3, 6:43 REMAINING
• McCord’s night is over, with Lincoln Kienholz taking over at quarterback. He handed off twice to Evan Pryor for 3 total yards and passed to him one for another 2, before a Buckeyes punt. With Minnesota unable to convert a first down, Ohio State successfully ran out the clock.
• That didn’t take long. Receiving the second-half kickoff, Ohio State handed off to TreVeyon Henderson on its first play. He found room up the middle and then broke free to the left, starting off on a 75-yard run to the end zone. OHIO STATE 20, MINNESOTA 0, 14:48 REMAINING
• Ohio State got another big break on Minnesota’s first snap at the 25-yard line. Jack Sawyer sacked the Gophers’ Athan Kaliakmanis, and the ball popped free. JT Tuimoloau picked it up and rumbled his 270-pound frame to the 6-yard line. With field position like that, the offense finished the job. Kyle McCord found Marvin Harrison Jr. three plays later for a 4-yard touchdown pass. OHIO STATE 27, MINNESOTA 0, 13:53 REMAINING
• And another big break. Facing third-and-8, Kaliakmanis launched a pass that was intercepted by Jordan Hancock, who returned it 40 yards to set up Ohio State at the 14-yard line. A series of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on multiple Ohio State players after the return put the start of the drive at the 29. McCord found Henderson for a 13-yard gain on first down, but the Buckeyes could gain only 2 more yards after that. Jayden Fielding came in and made a 32-yard field goal. OHIO STATE 30, MINNESOTA 0, 11:30 REMAINING
• Down 30 points but perhaps gun shy after the interception, Minnesota made its focus running the ball up the middle, handing off to Jordan Nubin on three straight plays, gaining 25 yards, before Kaliakmanis was incomplete on third down.
• And here come the backups for the Buckeyes. Dallan Hayden had four carries to help Ohio State cross midfield, and McCord found Julian Fleming twice. Patrick Gurd caught a 9-yard pass before senior Xavier Johnson got in the mix for a 14-yard catch. Then Hayden had consecutive carries to gain 6 yards and Johnson an 8-yard catch to put the Buckeyes at the 5-yard line. A quarter that began with three quick scores ended with an eight-minute drive and the Buckeyes in position to score again.
First half photos
• Kyle McCord fired a quick pass down the middle to Emeka Egbuka for a 26-yard gain and to put Ohio State into Minnesota territory at the 29-yard line. McCord then targeted Marvin Harrison Jr. on consecutive plays but was barely incomplete each time. A third-down attempt to find Egbuka was nearly intercepted, setting up a 47-yard field goal by Jayden Fielding. OHIO STATE 10, MINNESOTA 0, 13:05 REMAINING
• Aggressive defense by the Buckeyes led to a 4-yard loss on first down, but on third-and-14, Gophers quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis found Corey Crooms open for a 32-yard gain to cross midfield. But Minnesota moved only 5 more yards before having to punt.
• McCord found Marvin Harrison Jr. and Egbuka on consecutive throws for gains of 6 and 8 yards, with a facemask call on Minnesota giving Ohio State the ball at its 42-yard line. McCord went to Egbuka again for a 23-yard gain as the Buckeyes found ways to move the ball without turning much to Harrison. Another short pass to Egbuka turned into a long gain as he picked up 21 yards to give Ohio State a first down inside the 10-yard line. Unable to find the end zone, Ohio State turned to Jayden Fielding, who converted a 26-yard field goal. OHIO STATE 13, MINNESOTA 0, 4:51 REMAINING
• Finding more success in the passing game, Kaliakmanis went to Daniel Jackson and Elijah Spencer for first-down gains of 9 and 6 yards. But it ultimately got the Gophers no farther than their 43-yard line, as the Buckeyes kept up the pressure up front and the coverage in the secondary.
• Getting the ball of their 3-yard line with 1:55 to go, Ohio State went to TreVeyon Henderson on three straight carries to reach the 21-yard line, but a penalty sent the team back 5. From there, McCord was hurried on an incomplete pass to Henderson, found Cade Stover for a 3-yard completion and then was dropped for a 7-yard on a loss on a sack, a forgettable end to the half. OHIO STATE 13, MINNESOTA 0
• Second quarter stats favored the Buckeyes heavily. They outgained the Gophers 113 yards to 51, and the defense limited Minnesota 1 yard rushing.
• After the Golden Gophers were unable to convert a first down on their opening possession, the Buckeyes leaned heavily on TreVeyon Henderson, who carried the ball on their first three plays to gain 26 yards, and then he caught a pass from Kyle McCord to gain another 13. Chip Trayanum had carries of 10 and 11 as the offensive line established early dominance. A 9-yard gain by Henderson to the left capped off an 85-yard drive. OHIO STATE 7, MINNESOTA 0, 9:22 REMAINING
• A 16-yard catch by Cade Stover on the first Ohio State possession put him over 1,000 career receiving yards, making him the Buckeyes’ third tight end to gain that many.
• Minnesota opened with back-to-back carries by Zach Evans to pick up a combined 17 yards, but on the second carry, he remained down on the field injured. Jordan Nubin stepped in and gained 7 yards over two straight carries. But facing third-and-7 from their 45-yard line, Nubin attempted to cut left, but the Buckeyes’ Cody Simon found him right away and stopped in after a 1-yard gain.
• A Minnesota punt pinned Ohio State’s offense at the 3-yard line, with the Buckeyes unable to convert a first down. Starting at its 45-yard line, Athan Kaliakmanis completed a 10-yard pass to Corey Crooms, the Gophers’ first completion of the game. But on second-and-7, Jordan Hancock blitzed and Kaliakmanis got off a quick pass to Nubin, who was met immediately by Jack Sawyer for a 3-yard loss on the play. Two plays later, the Gophers punted.
• The Buckeyes picked up 25 yards to reach the 38-yard line before the quarter ended. They dominated in a way the score didn’t show, outgaining the Gophers 119 yards to 39. Henderson’s touchdown run was the 35th of his career. OHIO STATE 7, MINNESOTA 0
• Defensive tackle Mike Hall and safety Lathan Ransom are among the Buckeyes listed as being out on the injury report.
• StormTeam 4 Meteorologist Ben Gelber said conditions will be clear for the game, with temperatures in the upper 40s for kickoff and falling into the upper 30s later on.
• The most points the Buckeyes (10-0) have given up in a home game was the 17 they allowed to Maryland in a 20-point win on Oct. 7, and the defense is second in the nation in points allowed.
• Minnesota (5-5) is looking to snap a two-game losing streak, and it needs a win in one of its final two games to become bowl-eligible. The last time the Golden Gophers missed out on a bowl was the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.