Minnesota gave the fourth-ranked Buckeyes all they could handle, but an explosive third quarter and an injury to star Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim fueled Ohio State's 45-31 victory at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Gophers led Ohio State 14-10 at the half, then took a 21-17 lead midway through the third quarter on Ibrahim's second touchdown of the night. But the Buckeyes responded on the first play of the next drive with a 56-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Stroud to Garrett Wilson.
The wheels started to fall off for Minnesota on the next possession when Zach Harrison's strip sack was scooped up by All-American defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, who rumbled to the end zone for Ohio State's second touchdown in just over three minutes for a 31-21 lead.
Ibrahim, one of the best running backs in the country who had 162 yards on 30 carries, was injured on the next series, going down with an apparent left leg injury.
Sports medical analyst Dr. David Chao saw the video and speculated that Ibrahim suffered a torn Achilles, but the severity of the injury has not been confirmed by the Gophers. Ibrahim left the field in a walking boot and did not return to the game.
The slow motion replay of Ibrahim's injury is cringeworthy.
Minnesota got a 46-yard field goal from Matthew Trickett to cut the deficit to 31-24 with 10:39 left in the fourth quarter, but the Buckeyes responded on third-and-five with a screen pass that TreVeyon Henderson took 70 yards to put the Gophers in a 38-24 hole.
The Gophers again got within 7 at 38-31 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Bryce Williams, which followed a strike from Tanner Morgan to Daniel Jackson on a third-and-eight from the Ohio State 24 yard line.
Two plays later Stroud connect with All-American receiver Chris Olave on a 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Ohio State's touchdowns came on plays of 71, 38, 56, 32, 70 and 61 yards.
Up next: Gophers vs. Miami (Ohio), Saturday, Sept. 11 at 11 a.m.