COLUMBUS, Ohio — After a slow start, Ohio State turned up the heat in the second half of its 37-3 win against Minnesota on Saturday, scoring more in the first minute of the second half than all of the first.
Ohio State didn’t have the first half of play that it wanted or needed. Simply put, Ohio State was not putting on a show against an opponent that it had an advantage over for nearly every position on the field. Early on Saturday, Ohio State certainly wasn’t playing its best, November football.
After only scoring 13 points in the first half of play, Ohio State put up 24 points in the second half, and only allowed Minnesota to score a on a late 54-yard field goal despite a second-string team through the fourth quarter.
Ohio State moved the ball well early on, but stalled repeatedly in the red zone. The Buckeyes were forced to settle for field goals and left points on the field. They didn’t show much or do too much and there wasn’t a lot happening on either side of the ball.
The second half, however, told a different story in all aspects. It went from 13-0 to 27-0 in a matter of a minute following the break.
“We wanted to win the first five minutes. We ended up scoring 14 in the first minute — touchdown, turnover, touchdown,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said on the second half. “It’s something that we’ve talked about all year, coming out in the second half and playing well.”
On the first play of the second half, running back TreVeyon Henderson burst open for a 75-yard touchdown. Henderson made an excellent cut and then was off to the end zone.
Right after, the Buckeye defense got the ball back for the offense on a strip sack by defensive end Jack Sawyer that was recovered by J.T. Tuimoloau, with a nice return of 16 yards to the 6-yard line. The play was followed up by a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle McCord to wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. — his 30th career touchdown and first of the night.
Sawyer had arguably the best night of his career as a Buckeye, with six total tackles, three solo, one sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry, and one forced fumble.
On Minnesota’s next drive, cornerback Jordan Hancock intercepted Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis and returned it for 40 yards inside the 15-yard line, setting the Buckeyes up with another chance to put points on the board.
By the end of the third quarter, Ohio State led 30-0 with most starters out of the game. Day emphasized after the win that the hot start in the second half was the ideal situation in this game to get a solid cushion for the rest of the game. The Buckeyes were then able to get their starters some rest ahead of meeting Michigan in Ann Arbor next Saturday.
Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics.