Gophers Get Crushed By Buckeyes, 52-10

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Ohio State Buckeyes 52, Minnesota Golden Gophers 10 - Did I Say 45? I Meant 52

Well, the Buckeyes are in the end zone again. They’ve scored tonight in lots of different ways. . .they have touchdowns rushing, passing, on a blocked punt, and now they can add a fumble return to the list.

On the Gophers’ first play after allowing the Buckeyes’ last touchdown, Adam Weber got sacked by Ohio State’s Chimdi Chekwa, causing a fumble. Chekwa picked the ball up and raced the 30 yards needed to get into the end zone.

With about eight minutes left to play at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the Ohio State Buckeyes are crushing the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 52-10.

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Ohio State Buckeyes 45, Minnesota Golden Gophers 10 - It's A Blowout, Folks

Well, the Gophers managed to hang close for a little while, but this has turned into pretty much exactly what I think most of us had expected.

As we play through the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes have gotten into the end zone for the sixth time this evening, as running back Jordan Hall has scored from 16 yards out to make the score 45-10 in favor of the visitors.

This loss will drop the Golden Gophers to 1-8 on the season, and they will remain winless in Big Ten Play. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, look poised to move up in the polls and the BCS standings, particularly in light of the fact that Michigan State, the only team ahead of them in the Big Ten and the next team on Minnesota’s schedule, got throttled by Iowa this afternoon to the tune of 37-6.

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Apologies For Technical Difficulties

I apologize for the updates coming to a screeching halt, but there are some technical issues here on my end. . .namely the fact that, because this game isn’t on any of the networks on the West Coast here, I’m stuck trying to watch it online via ESPN3, and it’s not always the greatest alternative. Lots of starting and stopping and things of that nature.

However, I believe I’ve gotten some of the issues fixed, and I will attempt to stick it out here for the rest of the game.

Obviously, the Gophers were sympathetic to my plight, as they decided to collapse and not really do a whole lot since the issues started, as they currently trail the Buckeyes 38-10 with 2:40 left in the third quarter, and Adam Weber just lost a fumble on a sack.

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Ohio State Buckeyes 17, Minnesota Golden Gophers 7 - Two Huge Turns

It looked like the Gophers were going to fall behind by three scores, but an amazingly bad throw by Terrelle Pryor kept that from happening.

Punter Dan Orseske blasted a punt for 48 yards, but Ohio State return man Jordan Hall returned the punt 70 yards down to the Minnesota 2. A great hustle play by a Gophers player. . .whose name I don’t have at the moment . .knocked Hall out of bounds short of the end zone, and it turned out to be huge for the Gophers.

On first down, Pryor pump faked toward the end zone, and then. . .inexplicably. . .threw it to exactly the same place. The play didn’t fool Ryan Collado, who intercepted the pass at the goal line and took the ball out to the Minnesota 4 to squelch the scoring threat.

Hustle, kids. . .it pays off.

With 5:36 left until halftime, the Gophers. . .somehow. . .still only trail 17-7.

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Ohio State Buckeyes 17, Minnesota Golden Gophers 7 - Buckeyes Settle For Three

The Gophers didn’t put up a whole lot of resistance again, but they stiffened up when it mattered the most and forced Ohio State to settle for three points.

The big play on the Buckeyes’ drive was a pass from Terrelle Pryor to Dane Sanzenbacher that covered 39 yards on third and 2, putting the Buckeyes inside the Minnesota red zone. However, the Gophers held fast, and the Buckeyes had to settle for a 23-yard field goal from Devin Barclay.

With 8:24 left until halftime, the Gophers trail the Buckeyes by a score of 17-7.

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Ohio State Buckeyes 14, Minnesota Golden Gophers 7 - Weber On Fire, But Gophers Don't Capitalize

Gophers quarterback Adam Weber already has three completions of 30 yards or more in this game, but Minnesota couldn’t cut into the deficit they’re currently facing.

Weber hit wide receiver Da’Jon McKnight for a 36-yard gain into Ohio State territory, but the drive stalled after that and the Gophers lined up for a 35-yard field goal. Unfortunately, kicker Eric Ellestad hit a line drive that bounced off of the goal post, and the Gophers still find themselves down by seven points.

With 12:40 left until halftime, the Golden Gophers still trail the Buckeyes by a tally of 21-7.

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Gophers' Possession Time Correction

The Gophers have had the ball for 1:41 thus far in the first quarter, not 41 seconds.

Apologies for the error.

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Ohio State Buckeyes 14, Minnesota Golden Gophers 7 - Buckeyes Make It Look Easy Again

The Gophers got the Buckeyes into a couple of third down situations on their most recent drive, but the Buckeyes kept converting and got into the end zone again as a result.

After a penalty forced Ohio State to start deep in their own territory at their own 8-yard line, the Buckeyes marched down the field once again, largely on the legs of running back Dan Herron, who carried seven times for 38 yards on the drive. The big play, however, again came from Terrelle Pryor, who had a 34-yard scramble on a third and 11 to move the ball to the Minnesota 21. A few plays later, Pryor found Brandon Saine in the end zone for a three yard touchdown for a 14-7 Ohio State lead.

As of right now, with 22 seconds left in the first quarter of play, the Gophers trail 14-7. Minnesota has held the ball for only 41 seconds of tonight’s game thus far.

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Minnesota Golden Gophers 7, Ohio State Buckeyes 7 - Gophers Answer Back In A Hurry

I hope you didn’t blink after Ohio State’s touchdown, because you might have missed the Golden Gophers’ answer.

The Gophers moved the football 74 yards, and it only took them 41 seconds to do so. The drive started with a 35-yard hook-up between Adam Weber and MarQueis Gray to put the ball into Ohio State territory, and that was quickly followed by a long pass to little-used tight end Tiree Eure for another 32 yards that gave them first and goal. DeLeon Eskridge finished off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run to tie the game.

With 8:10 left in the first quarter, the Gophers and the Buckeyes are tied at seven.

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Ohio State Buckeyes 7, Minnesota Golden Gophers 0 - Buckeyes Carve Up Gopher Defense

A huge kickoff return set the tone for Ohio State, and if the Gophers’ defense can’t do any better than this, it’s going to be a long night at TCF Bank Stadium.

Ohio State’s Jordan Hall took the opening kickoff and returned it to the Gophers’ 46-yard line. From there, a nice mix of run and pass moved the Buckeyes down the field with little resistance, and the drive culminated with Buckeyes quarterback Terrell Pryor taking the ball in on a keeper from one yard out.

With 9:25 remaining in the first quarter, Ohio State is off to a quick 7-0 lead.

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As Always, Three Open Threads To Keep Up With The Action

SBNation once again has three open threads for you to keep up with all of the action between the Buckeyes and the Golden Gophers.

There’s our usual home for everything relating to the Golden Gophers over at The Daily Gopher.

If you want the Ohio State perspective on tonight’s action, you can check out SBNation’s Ohio State site, Along the Olentangy.

Finally, there’s an Open Thread for all of the Big Ten action at Off Tackle Empire.

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Golden Gophers Play Host To Tenth-Ranked Buckeyes Tonight

GAME NOTES: Two teams headed in opposite directions meet at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday night, as the 10th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes come calling on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Ohio State is fresh off a 49-0 shellacking of Purdue, that triumph coming on the heels on the team's lone setback of the season, a 31-18 loss at Wisconsin. As a result, the Buckeyes are 7-1 on the year and 3-1 in the Big Ten. They trail undefeated Michigan State (8-0, 4-0), and are currently one of four teams with only one conference loss.

Following this clash, OSU will face three formidable opponents to close the regular season, as home games with Penn State and Michigan sandwich a road bout at Iowa.

As for Minnesota, it lost its seventh straight game last weekend, falling in a 33-21 final at home to Penn State. It was the Golden Gophers' first game since head coach Tim Brewster was fired, and Jeff Horton has been given the job on an interim basis.

The Gophers knocked off Middle Tennessee in the season opener, 24-17, but have dropped every game since, although two of them (South Dakota and Northwestern) were decided by a combined four points.

Ohio State owns a commanding 42-7 lead in the all-time series with Minnesota, and the Buckeyes have won the last seven meetings and 23 of the last 24 overall. The Gophers' lone win during that stretch was back in 2000.

The Buckeyes scored early and often in their recent rout of Purdue, piling up 415 yards of total offense and 42 points -- all before halftime. QB Terrelle Pryor hit the mark on 16-of-22 passes for 270 yards, with three TDs and two INTs, hitting WRs Dane Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey a combined eight times for 170 yards and two scores. Dan Herron led the OSU ground attack with 74 yards and two TDs.

Coach Jim Tressel liked what he saw from his team following the loss to Wisconsin, "It shows our kids are good leaders and they weren't going to let the younger kids be too disappointed, that we didn't make some of the errors that we'd made a week ago and our opponent didn't make some of the plays that they'd made a week ago, and we got ahead of them."

Ohio State owns both the Big Ten's top scoring offense (40.8 ppg) and defense (14.0 ppg), and the offense is led by Pryor, who has completed 66 percent of his passes for 221.9 ypg with 18 TDs and only six INTs. Pryor can also wreak havoc with his legs, ranking second on the team in rushing (408 yards) and he has scored three times. Herron has 520 yards and 11 TDs on the ground, while Sanzenbacher and Posey both have at least 34 catches and a combined 1,077 yards and 12 TDs.

The Buckeye defense, which was without the services of leading tackler Ross Homan (foot injury) last week, limited the Boilermakers to nine first downs, 118 total yards (30 rushing, 88 passing), and came away with three turnovers. It was another dominant effort from an Ohio State defensive unit that has been impressive in stopping both modes of attack this year.

The Buckeyes are currently ranked first in the conference in rushing defense (85.8 ypg) and passing defense (148.8 ypg) -- the latter of which has also yielded a league-low four passing scores. The Buckeyes have also proven to be an opportunistic bunch, ranking third in the nation in turnover margin (+1.38), as well as total defense (234.5 ypg).

Minnesota QB Adam Weber threw for 299 yards and three TDs, all of which went to WR Da'Jon McKnight, who finished with eight catches for 103 yards in last week's 12-point home loss to Penn State. MarQuis Gray and Duane Bennett combined for 12 grabs and 154 yards, while RB DeLeon Eskridge carried the ball 23 times for 111 yards. Overall, the Gophers gained 433 yards to the Nittany Lions' 351, and picked up 26 first downs to 17 for the visitors. As a result of his solid outing, Weber became just the fifth signal-caller in Big Ten history to pass for 10,000 yards (10,199).

"I thought our kids played with a lot of passion and energy. It has been a wild week with a full load of emotions for the players and the coaches. I thought they came out today with some great passion and energy and played as hard as they could," coach Horton said. "There were a few plays in there that got away from us, but I could not be more proud of the way they represented the university. We want to win. That is the bottom line, and we have to do everything in our power to do that, but I really thought they responded to a tough week."

Weber has thrown for just shy of 2,000 yards this season, with 17 TDs and seven INTs. McKnight, Gray and Eric Lair all have at least 29 catches, with McKnight landing in the end zone nine times. Eskridge and Bennett have each run for 444 yards and scored two TDs apiece.

The Golden Gophers are last in the Big Ten in scoring defense (31.9 ppg), and they have had a particularly tough time defending the run (194.1 ypg). In fact, 19 of the 35 TDs surrendered by the team have come on the ground. Minnesota also ranks 11th in the conference in pass efficiency defense (162.2), and has a league-low three sacks to its credit.

Gary Tinsley is the team's top performer on defense, logging 63 stops to this point -- 16 more than his closest teammate -- and his 6.5 TFLs also pace the club.

Ohio State appears as if it will use the loss to Wisconsin as motivation for the rest of the season. Whether that will be enough to get the Buckeyes yet another Big Ten title and a shot at the BCS National Championship Game remains to be seen. What is certain is that there is little to no chance OSU loses this game against an opponent that is having a difficult time remembering what it's like to win.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 41, Minnesota 14

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