Ohio State pulls away for 45-31 victory over Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – Ohio State's opener didn't figure to be a breeze.

No. 4 Ohio State hadn't lost a Big Ten game since 2018, but Minnesota had the experience to pose a real test against a Buckeye team breaking in quarterback C.J. Stroud and relying on inexperienced players on defense.

The Golden Gophers did just that.

But the Buckeyes survived the scare in a 45-31 victory Thursday night in front of a sellout crowd of 50,805 at rainy Huntington Bank Stadium.

"To say that I'm surprised with the way it played out, I'm not," said Ohio State coach Ryan Day. "We played a lot of young guys, on the road, conference game, first time playing with fans in a long time, a quarterback who hadn't thrown a college pass before. But the way we rallied and played in the second half, we have a lot to build on here, and I'm very excited coming out of that locker room." 

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Stroud threw four touchdown passes, all in the second half, including a 56-yarder to Garrett Wilson to put the Buckeyes ahead for good, a swing pass that true freshman TreVeyon Henderson turbo-charged into a 70-yard score, and a 61-yarder to Chris Olave that clinched the win.

Stroud finished with 294 passing yards on 13-of-22 passing, but his debut was not flawless, especially in the first half. He threw an interception to set up Minnesota's second touchdown and acknowledged feeling first-start jitters. Stroud threw for only 58 yards in the first two quarters as Minnesota controlled time of possession and took a 14-10 lead into halftime.

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