Ohio State-Minnesota position by position matchups


OSU #12 Cartdale Jones heads upfield with the ball in the first half as Wisconsin #47 Vince Biegel misses the tackle at Lucas Oil Field December 6, 2014


QUARTERBACKS

Just when it looked like Ohio State’s quarterback question was finally settled, J.T. Barrett’s one-game suspension made Cardale Jones the starter again this week and maybe beyond. With Jones starting, Braxton Miller could be the No. 2 QB for the Buckeyes on Saturday.

Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,627 yards, 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions and has rushed for 229 yards.

Advantage: Ohio State

RUNNING BACKS

Ezekiel Elliott’s streak of 13 consecutive games of more than 100 yards rushing is the longest at Ohio State since Archie Griffin set the school record of 31 in a row in the 1970s.

Rodney Smith (541 yards, 1 touchdown) leads Minnesota’s ground game.

Advantage: Ohio State

RECEIVERS

Of Ohio State’s top five pass catchers, only Michael Thomas (35 catches, 536 yards, 6 TDs) played receiver in high school. Elliott is second in catches. Jalin Marshall was recruited to play receiver but was a quarterback in high school. Braxton Miller moved to receiver this season and Curtis Samuel plays running back and receiver.

K.J. Maye (39 catches, 408 yards, 3 TDs) and Drew Wolitarsky (27 catches, 319 yars, 1 TD) lead Minnesota’s wide receivers.

Advantage: Ohio State

OFFENSIVE LINE

OSU’s offensive line has played very well in the last four or five games, according to offensive coordinator/line coach Ed Warinner. He pointed to the fact this year’s team averages 5.9 yards per rush and last year’s averaged 5.7 as evidence.

Minnesota’s most experienced offensive lineman, right guard Josh Campion, has missed several games because of an injury and starting center Brian Bobek has also spent time on the injury list. Left guard Joe Bjorklund and left tackle Ben Lauer are two-year starters.

Advantage: Ohio State

DEFENSIVE LINE.

Joey Bosa has put the questions of whether he is having a good season to rest with 8.5 tackles for losses in Ohio State’s last four games, which gives him 11 so far this season.

For Minnesota, defensive end Theiren Cockran, an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season, and defensive tackle Steven Richardson (3.5 sacks, 8 tackles for losses) are the standouts.

Advantage: Ohio State

LINEBACKERS

Ohio State’s Joshua Perry (54 tackles, 5 tackles for losses) should be back to full strength this week after playing at Rutgers on a sprained ankle he suffered against Penn State. Raekwon McMillan leads OSU with 74 tackles. Darron Lee has seven tackles for losses.

For Minnesota, Jack Lynn (6.5 tackles for losses) might be the leader at this position.

Advantage: Ohio State

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Damon Webb will return after having a suspension for an undisclosed reason lifted, which should help OSU’s depth at a position where it was a little thin.

Cornerback Jalen Myrick (3 interceptions) and 2014 second-team All-Big Ten cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (2 interceptions) are the best pass defenders for the Gophers.

Advantage: Ohio State

SPECIAL TEAMS

Place kicking remains a bit of a question mark for Ohio State. Jack Willoughby is 7 of 10 but his longest kick of this season — his only season of being a starting kicker — is from 39 yards.

Minnesota kicker Ryan Santoso is one of the most productive kickers in the Big Ten. He has hit 14 of 17 field goal attempts, has made five kicks from 40 yards or longer and has a long effort of 50 yards.

Advantage: Minnesota

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OSU #12 Cartdale Jones heads upfield with the ball in the first half as Wisconsin #47 Vince Biegel misses the tackle at Lucas Oil Field December 6, 2014
http://galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_NewDale.jpgOSU #12 Cartdale Jones heads upfield with the ball in the first half as Wisconsin #47 Vince Biegel misses the tackle at Lucas Oil Field December 6, 2014

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