If we're being honest with ourselves this game went about the way we all expected. It wasn't the outcome we were hoping for, but overall the Gophers acquitted themselves well. They forced two turnovers and recovered an unforced third. On all three subsequent drives they scored touchdowns thanks to David Cobb. They never game up, even down 17. In fact, they were an onside kick recovery away from making me erase all of this and start over. They made this an enjoyable game to watch overall. In the end, I feel pretty good about what we saw.
- David Cobb did Senior Day right. 3 rushing touchdowns? Over 5 yards per carry? Almost 150 yards? All against the best team in the Big Ten? That's a great performance.
- Mitch Leidner had his moments, but overall he struggled badly passing the ball. He completed well under 50% of his passes, threw two picks, and had no touchdowns. I need to rewatch the game a bit to see how much of it was him and how much was due to those around him, but in the end this was a "bad Mitch" game. And like I said in the preview, the Gophers can't overcome that. On the other hand, he was pretty successful with his legs so it wasn't all bad.
- The Gophers defense was hit or miss. They made some excellent plays and had some terrible breakdowns that lead to 3 of Ohio State's touchdowns. Minnesota has prided themselves on not giving up big plays and that killed the defense today.
- The return teams were outstanding, with great kick and punt returns being the norm all day. They even broke out some trickery on the first play of the 3rd quarter, executing a throwback on the return that was just a yard or two away from being a touchdown for Jalen Myrick.
- That was a really good field goal attempt in the 3rd quarter by Ryan Santoso. Tons of leg (would have been good from nearly 60), played the wind well, and it would have been good if a last second gust hadn't caused it to hit the post. He also hit the big 34 yard field goal late in the 4th to bring the Gophers within 7 with just over 1 minute to play.
- J.T. Barrett is a stud. Anyone who was saying "ooooh Braxton will be gone soon!" over the summer can eat their words. The dude is a beast.
- The difference in talent and speed was noticeable from the get-go. Especially on the first Ohio State touchdown, when Barrett outran the Gophers defensive backs who were going step for step with him at one point.
As I said, I think there was a lot to like as fans. It wasn't a great performance in all 3 phases, but the Gophers gave us hope right up until the end, never gave up, and made Ohio State work for this victory. I don't know about you, but that's a game I can live with.