September 2, 2021

Huge Second Half Boosts Buckeyes Past Gophers

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On a rainy Thursday night in Minneapolis, Minn., the No. 4 Ohio State football team battled to a 45-31 win at Minnesota at Huntington Bank Stadium to open the 2021 season.

The Buckeye offense totaled 495 total yards, including 294 through the air. Redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud threw four touchdown passes in his first collegiate start for 294 yards.

Redshirt freshman running back Miyan Williams exploded in his season debut with 125 yards on nine carries highlighted by a 71-yard touchdown run to start the game. Senior wide receiver Chris Olave sprinted through the Minnesota defense with four receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

FIRST QUARTER
Ohio State 7 | Minnesota 0

The Buckeyes jumped out to 7-0 lead when Williams sprinted around the right side for a career long 71-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter. It was Williams’ first career TD run, too.

SECOND QUARTER
Ohio State 10 | Minnesota 14

Noah Ruggles made it a 10-0 advantage on a 35-yard field goal, but the Gophers bounced back with two straight scores in the second quarter to a take a 14-10 lead at half. Dylan Wright caught a 13-yard touchdown pass at 9:11. Mohamed Ibrahim ran a one-yard touchdown to put the Golden Gophers ahead by four heading into halftime.

THIRD QUARTER
Ohio State 31 | Minnesota 21

Stroud threw his first career touchdown to Olave to regain the Buckeye lead to open the second half. It was Olave’s 23rd career touchdown. Minnesota answered when Ibrahim had his second touchdown run from 19 yards out at 10:03 to make it 21-17 Gophers.

The Gopher lead didn’t last long as the Buckeyes countered with a quick 56-yard touchdown reception by Garrett Wilson from Stroud at 5:12.A key third quarter turnover changed the momentum heading into the final stanza.  Zach Harrison sacked Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan and forced a fumble that ended with a 32-yard fumble recovery by Haskell Garrett at 2:18. Heading into the final frame, the Scarlet and Gray led, 31-21.

FINAL
Ohio State 45 | Minnesota 31

A Minnesota drive was halted to start the fourth quarter, but Matthew Trickett knocked in a 46-yard field goal to make it a seven-point game, 31-24.

On third down, Henderson silenced the Gopher crowd when he caught a short connection from Stroud and took it to the house for a 70-yard touchdown reception to extend the Buckeye lead, 38-24.

Minnesota punched it in to the endzone to make it a one-score game after a 9-play, 75-yard drive. It ended with a Bryce Williams’ two-yard touchdown run to make it a 38-31 in favor of the Scarlet and Gray.

But the Buckeyes had Olave.  Just 52 seconds later, Stroud found Olave, who tip-toed down the right sideline for a 61-yard touchdown catch to push the lead back two scores with under five to go.

Latham Ransom sealed the win for the Scarlet and Gray when he forced a fumble with 3:59 remaining.

Postgame Quotes

"I’m not surprised in how we played. Lot of new guys. In the elements. Conference game. In front of fans for the first time in a while. I loved the way we rallied , especially in the second half." - Ryan Day

“The game of football is about the ups and downs. My mind wasn’t right in the first half; I was a little all over the place but my teammates calmed me down. I prayed and it got better. I didn’t do terrible but I didn’t do as well as I wanted to. The time of possession was kind of crazy. We didn’t spend a lot of time on the field in the first half. We had to deal with the elements but we got the win. In speaking with Coach Day and Coach Wilson, they were happy with how I played and handled adversity.” – C.J. Stroud

“It’s his first game ever so there’s going to be some growing pains. You don’t walk out here at Ohio State and throw 3-4 touchdowns. Not in this conference—it just doesn’t happen. It takes some time, but I give him a lot of credit. He fought through it and keep swinging.” – Ryan Day

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