Buckeyes overcome road woes, run over Gophers
Published: Saturday, October 30, 2010
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 23:06
The unfamiliar setting didn't matter.
Playing at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., for the first time, Ohio State (8-1, 4-1) put an end to its struggles away from home, pummeling Minnesota, 52-10.
In front of a modest crowd with mixed allegiances, OSU extended its supremacy over the Golden Gophers (1-8, 1-4) to eight straight games and wins in 24 of the last 25 meetings between the squads.
OSU opened the game with a 46-yard scoring drive, capped by a 1-yard Terrelle Pryor touchdown plunge. The Gophers answered with a 7-yard scoring run of their own, their only end zone appearance of the game.
OSU exhibited the same lackadaisical road effort Buckeye fans have become accustomed to this year. To start the game, the Silver Bullet defense was gashed for three pass plays of 30 yards or more before finally settling in.
"I think guys were just too hyped to be out there and didn't get settled in right when they needed to," OSU co-captain Brian Rolle said. "We did a good job of just settling in after that first drive and stopping the run game and forcing them to throw the ball, and we got a couple turnovers."
After a 35-yard Minnesota field goal bounced off the left upright to start the second quarter, it was all Buckeyes the rest of the night.
The offense got started early with the opening touchdown and kept on rolling.
"I think the offense played well from the start," Pryor said. "We needed that start, especially from an away standpoint, because we haven't played very well being away from home. So we really needed this game to start off quick and early, and I think we did a good job at that."
Led by 114 first-half rushing yards from junior Dan "Boom" Herron — the first 100-yard performance of his career — OSU put up 325 yards and 31 points in the first half alone.
"That was very meaningful for me," Herron said. "It feels great for me to get that first 100-yard game. I think the offensive line did a great job today."
Despite a Pryor interception nearly halfway through the second quarter, the Buckeyes mounted an offensive onslaught before the half, scoring twice in the last five minutes to more than double their lead.
Herron found the end zone from 10 yards out for his lone touchdown of the evening before a Minnesota muffed punt set up a 38-yard touchdown from Pryor to DeVier Posey.
"We needed a big play, and it was just a good momentum swing going into the half," Posey said. "We were just trying to wait for a good opportunity to expose (one-on-one coverage), and I felt like we took the right opportunity right there."
Posey's game-high 115 yards on six catches, including the 38-yard touchdown grab, marked his highest yardage output of the year. Pryor finished with his seventh 200-plus yard passing performance of the year as he completed 18 of 22 passes for 222 yards, including two touchdowns and one interception.
The Minnesota special teams woes continued in the second half as safety Zach Domicone extended the Buckeye lead to 38-10 halfway through the third quarter, recovering a Jon Newsome blocked punt in the end zone.
Jon Newsome "has been good at it in practice even when the snaps were good," coach Jim Tressel said. "That was huge because we hadn't scored a point" yet in the third quarter.
After having a kickoff return for a touchdown called back in last year's contest with Minnesota, Domicone said the Gophers owed him one.
"The joke on the sideline was that I was kind of owed one against Minnesota," he said. "I actually returned the kickoff last year, and they called it back, so that was a big joke going on, but I was able to get it this time."
The OSU defense flexed its muscles when defensive tackle John Simon took a fumble 30 yards to the end zone for the final score of the game.
"It's always great when you can score points on defense and the offense doesn't have to step on the field," Rolle said. "On that play it was just a great job by John Simon being aware of where the ball was and picking it up and taking it in."
Jordan Hall, Brandon Saine and Jaamal Berry saw the bulk of the load at the running back spot in the second half, when OSU boasted a significant lead.
Overall, the OSU offense racked up more than 500 yards of total offense for the third time this season, with 507.
The Buckeyes will have next week off before welcoming Penn State to the Horseshoe on Nov. 13.