I don’t know that anyone outside of the visitor’s locker room expected it, but the Minnesota Golden Gophers did not go quietly against the No. 3-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. The final score of 30-14 will deceive those who didn’t watch the game, because the young Gophers certainly had their chances against the superior talent of Ohio State. Unfortunately, too many mistakes prevented Minnesota from pulling the upset on the road.
The loss was a coming out party of sorts for redshirt freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim. Running behind a Minnesota offensive line that looked much improved from the unit that has struggled in the first half of the season, Ibrahim averaged a ridiculous 6.8 yards per carry, rushing for 157 yards on 23 carries and claiming both of the Gophers’ two touchdowns.
It was a very bad game for senior kicker Emmit Carpenter, who missed field goal attempts in the second half, leaving six points on the field for Minnesota.
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins shredded a Minnesota secondary that was without starting defensive backs Antoine Winfield, Jr. and Terell Smith, not to mention Coney Durr, who was lost to a targeting penalty in the first half. The Gophers’ short-handed defensive backfield was simply overmatched against the Buckeyes, as Haskins completed passes to 10 different receivers and racked up 412 passing yards, with three touchdowns.
Junior rush end Carter Coughlin certainly did his part to make Haskins’ life difficult, dominating Buckeyes right tackle Isaiah Prince for most of the game and racking up two sacks in addition to a number of quarterback pressures throughout the game.
Turnovers doomed the Gophers. Quarterback Zack Annexstad threw an interception on the first drive of the game, and wide receiver Tyler Johnson later coughed up a fumble in the second quarter. The Buckeyes converted those two turnovers into 10 points. Annexstad’s second interception of the game came on an errant deep pass to Johnson near the end zone on a drive in the fourth quarter. That’s three turnovers too many for Minnesota.