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No. 4 Ohio State Outlasts Minnesota 45-31 In Stroud's Debut

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) passes against Minnesota in the first quarter of the Buckeyes' season opener on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Minneapolis.
Bruce Kluckhohn
/
AP
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) passes against Minnesota in the first quarter of the Buckeyes' season opener on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Minneapolis.

C.J. Stroud passed for 294 yards and four touchdowns in his debut as the Ohio State starter in a 45-31 victory on a rainy night at Minnesota on Thursday.

The fourth-ranked Buckeyes kept coach Ryan Day unbeaten in Big Ten play to start his third full season.

They flashed their five-star speed with two 70-plus-yard scores, one early and one late.

The Buckeyes struck quickly on their first drive of the game with a 71-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Miyan Williams.

However, after the fast-start, Ohio State struggled in the second quarter and trailed 14-10 at halftime.

After the break, the Ohio State offense settled down to score 21 points in the third quarter.

Stroud, who had never thrown a pass in a college game, in the quarter threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Olave and then a 56-yard scoring pass to receiver Garrett Wilson. Minnesota star-running back Mohamed Ibrahim scored a touchdown in between to keep the Gophers in the game.

Following the Wilson touchdown, the Ohio State defense found the endzone as well when defensive lineman Haskell Garrett scored on a 32-yard fumble return after Powell's Zack Harrison stripped the ball on a sack of Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan. That gave the Buckeyes a 31-21 lead at the end of the third quarter and they never trailed again.

In the fourth quarter, TreVeyon Henderson took a short screen pass from Stroud and then went 70 yards for the touchdown. Olave sealed the win on a 61-yard touchdown pass with 4:39 left in the game.

Most painful for the Gophers was the loss of Ibrahim to an apparent injury to his lower right leg on the final play of the third quarter. He had 30 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

Ohio State will return to Ohio Stadium on September 11 for a big non-conference match-up against Oregon.