No. 3 Ohio State looks to fix problems against Minnesota
Minnesota (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) at
No. 3 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0), noon ET (FS1)
Line: Ohio State by 29 1/2.
Series record: Ohio State leads 44-7.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Buckeyes look to keep scoring lots of points and rolling over opponents in the second half while avoiding a trap game that could keep them out of the College Football Playoff. Minnesota coach PJ Fleck is looking for some more growth from an injury-bitten team full of freshman and sophomore starters carrying the load.
Minnesota QB Zack Annexstad vs. Ohio State secondary. Annexstad, a fearless true freshman walk-on who taken some lumps, was decent in the loss to Iowa last week, finishing with 218 passing yards and three touchdowns. Ohio State’s defensive backs struggled in the first half against Indiana last week, getting burned for some big plays and picking up four pass-interference penalties.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Minnesota: WR Tyler Johnson. One of the team’s most experienced offensive players, the junior has 28 catches for 402 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns.
Ohio State: Dwayne Haskins Jr. Who else? With a corps of experienced receivers who get open, Haskins is on track to break a bunch of single-season school passing records. He had a career-high 455 yards and six touchdowns last week against Indiana.
FACTS & FIGURES
Ohio State LB Malik Harrison and DE Jonathan Cooper are in concussion protocol and are questionable for Saturday. … Ohio State has won nine straight games in the Minnesota series going back to 2001. … Fleck was a graduate assistant under former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel in 2006. … The Ohio State defense has recorded at least six tackles for loss in every game this season. … Buckeyes receivers K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Parris Campbell have at least one catch in all six games. … Minnesota has allowed 13 sacks, tied for the most in the Big Ten, and is averaging 3.5 yards per carry on the ground, third-lowest in the conference. … The Gophers have the 21st best defense in the country, allowing 324 yards per game; the Buckeyes’ defense is 56th at 365 yards per game.