Ohio State’s defense dominated until the fourth quarter, Cardale Jones did just enough to win the game if not enough to win the starting job back from the suspended J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott hit the century mark again in a 28-14 victory Saturday night over Minnesota at Ohio Stadium.
The No. 3 Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0) won their 22nd straight game overall and 29th straight in the Big Ten, matching the NCAA record for consecutive conference victories.
It was far from pretty, however, and with the game seemingly in hand in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes suffered a scare when Wayne High School graduate Braxton Miller had to be helped off the field after catching a deep ball from Jones. Miller suffered an apparent head injury.
“I think he’s going to be fine,” coach Urban Meyer said in a postgame TV interview.
The Golden Gophers (4-5, 1-4) trailed 21-0 after three quarters. Then quarterback Mitch Leidner threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to make things interesting in the final minutes.
Ohio State recovered an onside kick with 2:10 to play after Minnesota cut the deficit to 21-14. Jones secured the victory with a 38-yard touchdown run with 1:53 to play.
Jones completed 12 of 22 passes for 187 yards with one touchdown pass to Michael Thomas. Elliott extended his streak of 100-yard games to 14 with 114 yards on 26 carries with one touchdown.
The Buckeyes got off to a slow start. They gained one first down on their first three possessions.
Late in the second quarter, Leidner made a big mistake. Ohio State safety Vonn Bell picked him off in the middle of the field and returned the interception 16 yards for a touchdown.
After another three-and-out by Minnesota, Ohio State’s offense showed some life at last. Jones connected with Jalin Marshall for a 44-yard pass. One play after that, Elliott scored his 14th touchdown of the season on a 15-yard run.