Minnesota hopes to upend No.3 Ohio State. Buckeyes looking ahead to showdown with No. 2 Michigan
Minnesota (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten) at No. 3 Ohio State (10-0, 7-0, CFP No. 2), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (BTN)
Line: Ohio State by 27 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Ohio State leads 46-7.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Buckeyes need to take care of business against a lesser opponent one more time before the Nov. 25 showdown with Michigan that will have huge stakes in the Big Ten and nationally. Minnesota is having a disappointing campaign under seventh-season coach P.J. Fleck. The Golden Gophers will have to beat Ohio State or Wisconsin in the final week to become bowl eligible for a third straight season. The way the Buckeyes are playing now, stumbling against the injury-ravaged Golden Gophers at Ohio Stadium seems unlikely.
Ohio State passing game vs. Minnesota secondary. Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord has myriad weapons and uses them all. McCord threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns in the 38-3 win over Michigan State. Nine different players caught passes last week. Minnesota is allowing 226.6 passing yards per game. The Golden Gophers defense allowed over 600 yards to Purdue last week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Minnesota: WR Daniel Jackson had seven catches for 119 yards last week, his third 100-yard game in the last four. He’s ranked third in the Big Ten with a per-game average of over 68 yards.
Ohio State: WR Marvin Harrison Jr. is a Heisman Trophy candidate who last week became the first receiver in school history to put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He had seven catches for 149 yards and two TDs last week.
FACTS & FIGURES
The last Minnesota win in the series was 2000, when the Golden Gophers bested the Buckeyes 29-17 in Columbus. … In their last meeting, in 2021, Ohio State pulled out a 45-31 victory in Minneapolis. … Harrison is seventh nationally in receiving with 1,063 yards. His 12 touchdown catches make him second in the nation, one behind LSU’s Brian Thomas. … Ohio State RB TreVeyon Henderson is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and has eight touchdowns. … Ohio State got its 10th win for the 30th time in school history. … First-year RB Darius Taylor leads Minnesota in rushing with 591 yards, despite missing time because of injury. … Minnesota beat Big Ten West leader Iowa on Oct. 21 and Michigan State the following week on the strength of dominant defensive performances to take control of the diluted division. But then came a loss at home to Illinois by one point on a last-minute touchdown pass and a collapse at Purdue last week with 604 total yards allowed for the team’s worst total in three years. Now they’re stuck on five wins with two games to go.
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