Friday, October 23, 2009

Ohio State—Minnesota: Week Eight Preview, Free History Lesson Included

By HD Handshoe


No. 19 Ohio State (5-2) returns home after an unexpected and disappointing upset loss a week ago to Big Ten cellar dweller Purdue.

This week the Buckeyes will take on the 4-3 Minnesota Golden Gophers Saturday at 12:00PM in Ohio Stadium.

The Gophers have one of the best wide receivers in the Big Ten in Eric Decker. Through seven games, Decker has 47 catches for 731 yards and five touchdowns.

Quarterback Adam Weber has not lived up to expectations so far this year. He has only completed 55.8% of his pass attempts for 1325 yards and has only six touchdown passes compared to nine interceptions. His QB rating is 115.

Gopher running backs Duane Bennett, DeLeon Eskridge, and Keven Whaley have combined for 628 rush yards and nine touchdowns.

Terrelle Pryor has taken much criticism recently, but his numbers are slightly better than Weber's. He has completed 56% of his passes for 1169 yards for 10 touchdowns to only eight interceptions and has a QB rating of 128.

OSU's top receiver is true sophomore DeVier Posey who has 30 catches for 355 yards and four scores.

The Buckeyes top three rushers, Brandon Saine, Pryor, and Dan Herron have combined for 989 yards and nine touchdowns.

In the past Minnesota has been a team the Buckeyes could count on for a win and to right the ship. Call me crazy (since I thought the same thing about Purdue last week), but I expect that trend to continue this week.

I said it last week and I'll say it again since it fell upon deaf ears:

It's no secret that Ohio State's offense has sputtered and looked rather anemic the bulk of the season. Coach Tressel and the staff have to make calls more conducive to Pryor's capabilities and subsequently, Pryor must make better, and faster decisions, protect the ball, and play within himself.

10/24/2009—Game Eight—12:00PM Kickoff
TV/Online: ESPN /


Ohio State-Minnesota History and Tidbits:

• Ohio State leads the all-time head-to-head series (41-7-0).

• Ohio State is 19-1 vs. Minnesota in the last 20 meetings (dating back to 1985).

• Ohio State is 9-1 vs. Minnesota in the last 10 meetings at home (dating back to 1986).

• The last Ohio State loss to Minnesota at home was in 2000 by a score of 29-17 (That year, Minnesota was 6-6 and Ohio State was 8-4).

• Jim Tressel is 6-0 overall (3-0 at home, 3-0 on the road) vs. Minnesota, outscoring the Golden Gophers 218-90, or by an average game score of 36-15.

• The Buckeyes have only lost back to back games one time under Jim Tressel, back in 2004 (It was actually three in a row to Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Iowa).

• This is Tim Brewster's third year as Minnesota Head Coach—He is 0-2 versus Ohio State.

• Minnesota's last Big Ten title was in 1967.

All eyes are on Terrelle Pryor this week, and rightfully so. He must perform well to redeem himself if he wishes to quiet his critics that suggest he is not a capable quarterback.

If he is less tentative, runs a bit more, and plays smart and confidently, Ohio State should be able to win comfortably, and all will be right in Buckeye Nation, for now.

Next week, the Bucks host New Mexico State which shouldn't pose much of a challenge, but after that, three games loom large to wrap up the 2009 regular season—at Penn State, home vs. Iowa, and the season finale at Michigan.

Those final three games will truly show us what Terrelle Pryor, and this team are made of.

Final score prediction:

Ohio State 41, Minnesota 17

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