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Performer Mayyadda singing at the University of Minnesota Juneteenth Celebration “We Are The Noise: The Echoes of Our Ancestors” captured on Saturday, June 15.
Best photos of June '24
Published June 23, 2024

Ohio State played a complete game of complimentary football in a rout

Minnesota never got a foothold in the 37-3 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Image by Amaya Battle
PJ Fleck looks at the crowd in the Huntington Bank stands before leading Gophers football out onto the field before they play the Michigan Wolverines on Oct. 7, 2023.

Minnesota Gophers football was dominated in every aspect of the game in Saturday’s 37-3 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Gophers have lost three straight and have yet to reach the coveted six-win mark to secure bowl game eligibility.

After losing linebacker Maverick Baranowski last week in the loss to Purdue, the Gophers were without him and linebacker Cody Lindenberg this week. Additionally, running back Darius Taylor missed his fourth straight game due to injury.

Minnesota athletics director Mark Coyle, during a pregame interview with KFXN-FM, said the record is not what Fleck was hoping for, but he will continue to support the Gophers’ head coach.

“We have everything in place at Minnesota,” Coyle said. “I am absolutely convinced P.J. is the right guy. Nobody wants to win more than he does.”

Minnesota started the game on offense and looked completely out of sync, going three-and-out and punting it to the Buckeyes.

Running back TreVeyon Henderson picked up 26 yards on three rushes to start Ohio State’s drive. The Buckeyes mixed in some passes and marched down the field, finishing with Henderson scampering into the endzone from nine yards out, giving Ohio State the first score of the game and a 7-0 lead.

Running back Zach Evans got the first two carries to start Minnesota’s drive, picking up 17 yards but was injured on the second carry. The Gophers turned to Jordan Nubin for the next three plays. His attempts were not enough to pick up the first down and Mark Crawford trotted out for Minnesota’s second straight punt.

Crawford’s punt pinned the Buckeyes on their own three-yard line and the Gophers forced a three-and-out, returning the ball to the offense.

Quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis hit Corey Crooms Jr. for a gain of 10 yards into Buckeyes territory to the 45-yard line. The Gophers picked up five yards before punting on fourth-and-five from the Ohio State 40-yard line.

After Henderson crossed the first down marker on the ground, quarterback Kyle McCord threw a strike down the middle to his receiver, Emeka Egbuka, for 26 yards to the Minnesota 29-yard line.

The Buckeyes were forced to settle for three, increasing their lead to 10-0 with 13:05 left in the first half.

Minnesota’s offensive drive stalled on a third-and-five running play picking up no yardage. The Gophers punted from Ohio State’s 42-yard line, the second straight punt from inside Buckeye territory.

Egbuka received a touch pass on third-and-two and took it for an eight-yard gain. A facemask penalty on Justin Walley on the play tacked on 15 more yards. On the next play, McCord hit Egbuka again, this time for a 23-yard gain into Minnesota territory.

McCord threw his way into the Gophers’ red zone and inside the 10-yard line. Minnesota stood strong on the goal line, forcing Ohio State to settle for a Jayden Fielding 26-yard field goal, moving the score to 13-0 with 4:51 left in the half.

Receiver Daniel Jackson made his first catch of the game on the first play of the drive, picking up nine yards. Third down approached and Minnesota could not convert and were forced to punt for the fifth straight time.

Defensive lineman Jah Joyner got to McCord in the backfield and dropped him for a sack of seven yards, ending the first half with the Gophers trailing 13-0.

Henderson, on the first play of the second half, got a carry and took a strong cut, finding a seam and scoring on a 75-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career. The Buckeyes took a 20-0 lead just 12 seconds into the second half.

On Minnesota’s first play, the ball was stripped from Kaliakmanis’ hands by Ohio State defensive end Jack Sawyer and picked up by Ohio State’s J.T. Tuimoloau.

After a two-yard rush, McCord connected with Harrison Jr. on a slant for a touchdown, making it 27-0 Ohio State in just over a minute of play in the second half. The touchdown marked Harrison Jr.’s 30th career touchdown, tying him for third-most in Buckeye history.

“We wanted to win the first five minutes,” said Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. “We ended up scoring 14 points in the first minute: Touchdown, then a turnover, then a touchdown. Something that we talk about all year is coming out in the second half and playing well.”

Kaliakmanis tried to force a pass over the middle to Brevyn Spann-Ford, but was intercepted by cornerback Jordan Hancock and returned to the Minnesota 14-yard line. A 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct pushed the return back to the 29-yard line.

Head coach P.J. Fleck, during the post-game press conference, said Kaliakmanis never got comfortable when dropping back.

“They were getting way too much pressure on him,” Fleck said. “I don’t think he looks comfortable back there with the pressure coming at him.”

After picking up a first down, the drive finished with two incompletions. Day then called Fielding out to kick a 32-yard field goal to make it 30-0 Ohio State.

One explosive run from Nubin was not enough for the Gophers offense to maintain any momentum as they resorted to punting the ball back to the Buckeyes.

McCord and the Buckeyes offense methodically marched their way to a one-yard pass to Stover, making it 37-0 Ohio State.

The drive amassed 84 yards on 17 plays, which ate nine minutes and 18 seconds off the game clock.

Minnesota put together a 13-play, 39-yard drive that ended with two negative plays, forcing kicker Dragan Kesich to hit a 54-yard field goal instead of a 48-yarder. The Gophers got on the scoreboard with 6:43 left in the game, removing the goose egg on their end to make it 37-3.

Both teams were unable to move the ball on the following drives, leading to consecutive three-and-outs with 3:01 left in the game.

Ohio State ran out the clock on a blowout win in Columbus, Ohio. Minnesota was outgained by 275 yards in the loss, in which all five of their offensive drives in the first half ended in punts.

The Gophers will return home to take on the Wisconsin Badgers with hopes of keeping Paul Bunyan’s Axe next Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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