#13/14 Ohio State v. Minnesota

#13/14 Ohio State v. Minnesota
Minnesota

#13/14 Ohio State v. Minnesota 

Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Kickoff: 12noon
TV: BTN 

Here’s a line you don’t hear every day; The UNDEFEATED Minnesota Golden Gophers travel the ‘Shoe to take on the Buckeyes this coming Saturday.  With victories over the likes of Northern Illinois, Montana State, Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic, Minnesota hasn’t necessarily been a giant killer but 4-0 is 4-0 and they are starting to turn some heads in the college football world.  The biggest improvement the Gophers have made since their 1-11, 2007 season is their amazing turnover ratio.  The Gophers rank fourth in the NCAA with 13 takeaways so far this season and the team seems to be getting better each week.  The Buckeyes are coming off a win in which the future of the program was prominently displayed for all to see.  Terrell Pryor, Mike Brewster and Boom Herron played well and the more snaps they take the closer the Buckeyes will be back to contending for a national championship.  The heavily favored Buckeyes should be able to control the game and come out with a victory.  However, Minnesota is looking to pull the upset and might have the guns to do it.

By Pete Quint

OSU “O”

How badly do the Buckeyes miss Beanie Wells?  Ohio State should have destroyed the Troy Trojans by 30 or 40 points but this team just isn’t the same without Beanie.  Hopefully he will be back at full strength for Wisconsin.  Pryor, and Herron played well but neither of them are game breakers yet.  Again, the more snaps they take the closer the Buckeyes will be back to contending for a national championship.

Pryor will face a tough challenge as the Gopher secondary, lead by Tramaine Brock, has six interceptions and 23 deflections so far this season.  Defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg is a force on the defensive line but the rest of the group is average.  Reports of Beanie playing in this game have surfaced but even if he does, it will be in a limited fashion.  Still, priority will be establishing a running game while having Pryor throw high percentage passes to keep the ball away from the ball-hogging Minnesota secondary.

OSU ”D”

Missed tackles, blown coverage and an embarrassing pass rush seem to be the current M.O. of this Buckeye defense.  I can’t figure out what the problem could be.  Did Beanie play defense too?  Simply this unit has got to start getting nasty.  If you can’t get a good pass rush on an offensive line you grossly out weight then there’s something deeper that’s very wrong.  The Gophers are putting up impressive numbers lead by quarterback Adam Weber.  Weber is a duel threat quarterback that has thrown for 967 yards and seven touchdowns so far in 2008.  He has also rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns this season.  His go to guy is wide receiver Eric Decker who has averaged 113.5 yards per game, 14.2 yards per catch and scored at least one touchdown in every game this year.  Decker also has 71 yards and a rushing touchdown.  The Gophers seem to always have a threat at running back and this year is no different.  After losing incumbent Duane Bennett, DeLeon Eskridge has solidified himself as the starting tailback.  Eskridge, a true freshman, took over the starting role in the third game of the season and already has 204 yards and five touchdowns on the ground as well as 63 yards receiving.  Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster is creative and will give the Buckeye defense many different looks.  Ohio State better be ready for anything because the Gophers will not pull any punches as they look to pull the upset.

Summary

Minnesota’s impressive numbers were earned by beating a bunch of mid-major schools but the Gophers did it.  Ohio State didn’t put those kinds of numbers up against Troy, Ohio and YSU.  Minnesota will score and they will take the ball away from the Bucks, expect it.  Just how will the coaching staff and young players deal with the setbacks?  Ohio State should have their way with the Gophers but Minnesota has watched the film on the Bucks and they see what we see; sloppy defensive play, slow offensive line and an uninspired receiving corps (minus Brian Hartline).  The Buckeyes need to focus on the task at hand and not look ahead to the mountainous challenge at Wisconsin next week because Minnesota is looking to get their first win over the Buckeyes since 2000.

Prediction: OSU 35 – UM 18

Why OSU will win:  The starting freshman, Pryor, Brewster and Herron, will continue to get better.  The emergence of a second wide receiver; Brian Hartline can’t do all by himself.

Why OSU will lose: The defense naps through the game like they have all season.  Would somebody please light a fire under their butts? 

Crazy stat or the game:

Last week is the first time on OSU history that the starting center and the starting quarterback were true freshman.

Gopher players to watch:
Sophomore QB #8 Adam Weber
Freshman RB #23 DeLeon Eskridge
Junior WR #7 Eric Decker
Senior DE #91 Willie VanDeSteeg
Junior DB #1 Tramaine Brock 

Outside media quotes of the week

“Maybe Boeckman and (Justin) Zwick can go out to dinner afterwards and talk about how OSU could make the sideline benches more comfortable.” -Steven Smith from www.buckeye50.com commenting on Terrell Pryor’s start over senior Todd Boeckman. 

"They're just regular to me," he said. "No. 2 [Pryor], he's regular, too. He's nothing special to me.” - Tramaine Brock, Minnesota cornerback, when asked if he was concerned about being a big underdog to the Buckeyes on Saturday.

BrutusReport.com
Tags: Buckeyes Football Ohio State
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