Ohio State: 5 things I'd like to see from Buckeyes vs. Golden Gophers
Ohio State begins the second half of the season in Ohio Stadium on Saturday for another Big Ten home game. This time the Buckeyes face Minnesota (noon ET Saturday, Fox Sports 1) in the first meeting between the teams since 2015.
The Golden Gophers have not defeated the Buckeyes since 2000. OSU has won 10 straight, 26 of the past 27 and 38 of the past 40 meetings.
For Ohio State to keep up that dominance over Minnesota, here are 5 things I’d like to see from the Buckeyes against the Golden Gophers:
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No, not more cowbell. More Campbell, as in Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell. The Buckeyes have a lot of explosive weapons on offense but to me the most fun one to watch is Campbell. The 6-foot-1, 208-pound senior is already close to his career high for most receiving yards in a season. He has 501, just 83 fewer than all of last season. And the more he gets the ball, the more he creates havoc for opposing teams in open space.
Watch for Tyler Johnson
Minnesota’s star receiver is second in the B1G in touchdown receptions, behind only OSU’s Campbell and tied with the Buckeyes’ Terry McLaurin. Johnson is also fourth in the league in receiving yards (402) and sixth in catches (28). He’s the weapon that Ohio State has to watch for the most on Minnesota’s offense.
Block Carter Coughlin
The Golden Gophers’ junior pass rusher has five sacks this season. That’s atop the Big Ten along with Iowa’s Anthony Nelson and Coughlin’s average of 1.0 sacks per game is tied for 10th in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Minnesota only has eight sacks as a team, so if the Buckeyes can stop Coughlin they will give Dwayne Haskins plenty of time to do some damage in the passing game. Coughlin has the Golden Gophers in his blood: His father, grandfather and an uncle played football at Minnesota and his mother was an excellent tennis player there.
Get Haskins going quickly
Minnesota is fourth in the Big Ten in pass defense and fifth against the run and third overall, allowing just 324.2 yards per game. And the Golden Gophers allow opponents just 15 first downs per game, the fewest in the B1G and sixth fewest in FBS. The key for Ohio State is for the offensive line to hold up and for Haskins to hit a few targets early. That has rarely been a problem this season but the Buckeyes need to keep it up in this one.
No scares for Meyer
The Ohio State coach was seen kneeling on the sideline during last week’s game against Indiana. The sight of Meyer on his knees as the network went to a commercial was a bit frightening considering his previous health problems. Meyer was OK and continued with the game but could be seen rubbing the side of his head from time to time. Initial reports said he collided with someone on the sideline but Meyer said after the game that he had a headache and he said there was no collision.