Football: No. 4 Ohio State survives first-half scare by Minnesota, wins 45-31

The Lantern
Ohio State freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) waits for the snap during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=06Uzbk_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State stands in the tunnel before the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=37FkAp_0blIIYDp00 The Buckeyes exit the tunnel before taking on the Gophers in 2021 season opener Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4bhKWa_0blIIYDp00 Equipment sits on the sidelines during pregame before the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept.2 Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0D1BfH_0blIIYDp00 The Ohio State Buckeyes run towards each other during pregame before the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0hXtGo_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State graduate defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (92) celebrates on the sidelines during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1SfNBl_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State freshman running back Miyan Williams (28) celebrates with redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) after scoring a touchdown during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2hyHRh_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State freshman running back Miyan Williams (28) rushes 71 yards during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=441Yd3_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State senior safety Josh Proctor (41) and senior linebacker Dallas Gant (19) celebrate on the sidelines during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3UyWg5_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State senior wide receiver Chris Olave (2) celebrates on the sidelines after a touchdown during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0I4Tim_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State huddles up during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2VfHU0_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3HyUrJ_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State graduate defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (92) celebrates a touchdown during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4C8sZz_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State junior wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) celebrates after a touchdown during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0BD16l_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State senior tight end Jeremy Ruckert (88) runs the ball after a catch during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2Tg4W3_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State graduate defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (92) observes from the sidelines during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3bNFSZ_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State graduate defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (92) returns a fumble for a touchdown during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4UAK3C_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State freshman corner back Denzel Burke (29) completes a tackle during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3FLmmD_0blIIYDp00 Ohio State junior linebacker Tommy Eichenberg (35) recovers the ball after a fumble during the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1q5v25_0blIIYDp00 The Ohio State Buckeyes stand together and sing Carmen Ohio after the Ohio State-Minnesota game Sept. 2. Ohio State won 45-31. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4GAYBW_0blIIYDp00

In what was a back-and-forth affair in the middle stages of the game, No. 4 Ohio State emerged victorious 45-31 in its season opener against Minnesota.

Despite entering the locker room down 14-10 at halftime, the Buckeyes found their stride in the third quarter — outscoring the Gophers 21-7 in the frame. The Buckeyes held strong through the fourth quarter, securing a season-opening win in Minneapolis.

Despite a first-half interception, true freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud really found his rhythm in the second half — tossing two touchdowns in the third quarter. Stroud connected with the one-two punch of senior wideout Chris Olave and junior receiver Garrett Wilson for his third quarter scores.

Stroud finished the game 13-22 for 294 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, capped off by a 61-yard touchdown strike to Olave.

Graduate defensive tackle Haskell Garrett added a score in the third quarter, scooping up a junior defensive end Zach Harrison forced fumble and taking it 32 yards to the house.

The Buckeyes’ defense struggled to contain Minnesota redshirt senior running back Mohamed Ibrahim throughout Thursday’s contest.

The 2020 Big Ten Running Back of the Year lived up to the honor, rushing for 163 yards on 30 attempts while finding the end zone two times before exiting late in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury.

Unlike the Gophers, Ohio State relied on a number of running backs to carry their offense, headlined by redshirt freshman Miyan Williams.

Williams opened the scoring Thursday, bouncing free for a 71-yard touchdown on the Buckeyes’ first possession. Williams rushed for 79 yards on his first two carries and continued his dominance throughout the contest — finishing with 125 yards on nine carries.

The Cincinnati native was one of four Ohio State running backs to carry the rock as the Buckeyes’ running backs combined for 188 yards.

While Williams led the Ohio State rushing attack, the duo of Olave and Wilson lifted the Buckeyes in the receiving game.

Wilson led the Buckeyes with five receptions for 80 yards alongside his third-quarter score, while Olave snagged four catches for 117 yards and two scores.

True freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson got in on the receiving action, taking a screen from Stroud 70 yards for his first-career touchdown in the fourth quarter.

On the flip side, Ohio State’s young secondary had a solid outing in the season-opener — holding Minnesota redshirt quarterback Tanner Morgan to 205 yards on 14-of-25 passing.

Morgan found the end zone once on a stellar pitch-and-catch to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Dylan Wright, who hauled in the pass over redshirt freshman safety Lejond Cavazos.

The Buckeyes return to the field for their home-opener Sept. 11 against No. 11 Oregon at noon on FOX.

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