In his first career start, C.J. Stroud threw for 294 yards and four second-half touchdowns as No. 4 Ohio State rallied to defeat host Minnesota 45-31 on Thursday in the season opener for each team.
Stroud, who had never thrown a collegiate pass, was 13-for-22 with one interception for the Buckeyes, who trailed 14-10 at halftime and 21-17 in the third quarter.
Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 163 yards and two TDs, but 14 unanswered points by Ohio State proved to be the difference.
First, Stroud hit Garrett Wilson for a 56-yard TD. Then Zach Harrison had a strip sack of Tanner Morgan, and nose tackle Haskell Garrett scooped up the ball and went 32 yards for a TD. That gave Ohio State a 31-21 lead with 2:18 left in the third quarter.
A 46-yard field goal by Matthew Trickett early in the fourth pulled Minnesota to within 31-24, but TreVeyon Henderson took a screen pass 70 yards for the Buckeyes to make it 38-24 with 9:43 left.
After the Gophers got a 2-yard TD run from Bryce Williams, Chris Olave scored on a 61-yard catch-and-run to extend the lead to 45-31 with 4:39 left. Olave caught four passes for 117 yards and two TDs.
Minnesota trailed 10-0 before Ibrahim had a 56-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the Minnesota 29. Tanner Morgan (14-for-25, 205 yards, one TD) then threw a 13-yard pass to Dylan Wright to make it 10-7.
Stroud was intercepted by Terrell Smith on Ohio State’s next drive, and Ibrahim capped the 37-yard drive with 1-yard run on third down for a 14-10 lead with 3:32 left before halftime.
Stroud threw a 38-yard TD pass to Olave to open the second half, but the Golden Gophers quickly regained a 21-17 lead.
Morgan had an interception nullified because of a roughing-the-passer penalty and, two plays later, Ibrahim rushed for a 19-yard touchdown.
The Buckeyes’ home opener is Sept. 11 vs. No. 11 Oregon. Minnesota is home the same day against Miami (Ohio).
–Field Level Media
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