As Ohio State prepares for its last home game of the season, the upcoming clash with Minnesota holds crucial significance for both teams. While the Buckeyes have their sights set on maintaining their championship aspirations and entering The Game undefeated for the second consecutive year, the Golden Gophers are striving to secure bowl eligibility.
Under head coach P.J. Fleck since 2017, Minnesota has consistently been a formidable opponent, but achieving bowl eligibility in 2023 remains a challenging task. To accomplish this feat, they must win their remaining games, starting with a face-off against Ohio State in Columbus this Saturday.
The last encounter between these two teams took place in the 2021 season-opener, a time when Ohio State was introducing a new starting quarterback and rebuilding its defense. In contrast, Minnesota boasted one of the more experienced teams in the Big Ten. Now, two years later, Ohio State once again introduces a new starting quarterback, Kyle McCord, but with significantly more experience and veteran support on both sides of the ball.
Ohio State has maintained dominance over Minnesota, having not suffered a loss to the Big Ten opponent since 2000. However, the Golden Gophers are determined to end their 11-game losing streak against the Buckeyes, and here are a few key players hoping to make an impact:
Kaliakmanis, QB: The Illinois native, in his third year with the program, faces the challenge of leading the offense against a formidable Ohio State defense. With a completion rate of 52.2%, Kaliakmanis aims to capitalize on his recent career-high 292-yard performance against Purdue.
Jordan Nubin, RB: Stepping in for the injured Darius Taylor, Nubin has taken on the role of the team’s primary running back. With 81 carries for 393 yards, he looks to make an impact alongside backup Zach Evan.
Jah Joyner, DE: Despite modest raw stats, Joyner has been a disruptive force in the passing game, leading the team in pressures. With 4.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, he aims to make life difficult for Ohio State’s offense.
Tyler Nubin, S: The older brother of the starting running back, Tyler Nubin has been a standout on Minnesota’s defense. With a stellar 91.0 grade, he contributes with 49 tackles, a sack, four interceptions, and four pass breakups.
As Ohio State’s Kyle McCord leads from the quarterback position, Minnesota hopes to capitalize on opportunities and break their losing streak, setting the stage for a memorable clash in Columbus.