COLUMBUS, Ohio - Third-ranked Ohio State is midway through a possible undefeated regular season and quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. is halfway to a 50-touchdown campaign as the Buckeyes enter Saturday's home game against Minnesota. The Buckeyes are scoring an average of 49 points behind Haskins, who has won conference player of the week honors after each of the past three games and has 25 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
TV: Noon ET, FS1. LINE: Ohio State -29.5
Haskins matched the school record of six touchdown passes and had 455 yards -- three short of the mark set by Art Schlichter (1981) -- while continuing his stunning performance in his first season as a starter. "I think you guys are witnessing a legend in the making," senior receiver Parris Campbell told reporters. "The things that he can do throwing the ball, the leader he's becoming, he's just really developing into a great leader, and obviously the stats speak for themselves." Minnesota will be hard-pressed to slow the Buckeyes after allowing an average of 45 points while losing its past two games to Maryland and Iowa. Standout sophomore safety Antoine Winfield Jr. suffered a season-ending foot injury on the first drive of the Maryland contest, a major blow for the unit.
ABOUT MINNESOTA (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten)
Zack Annexstad is one of the few true freshmen walk-ons to open a college season as a starting quarterback and has eight touchdowns against five interceptions while completing just 52.1 percent of his passes. Junior receiver Tyler Johnson is having a strong season with team-leading figures of 28 catches for 402 yards and six scores, and his 14 career receiving touchdowns tie for ninth in program history. Junior linebacker Carter Coughlin is tied for first in the Big Ten with five sacks and has recorded nine in his past 11 games dating back to last season.
ABOUT OHIO STATE (6-0, 3-0)
Haskins has completed 71.7 percent of his passes for 1,919 yards and Campbell has been the biggest recipient as he leads the team with 35 receptions for 501 yards and seven touchdowns. The running back duo of sophomore J.K. Dobbins (462) and junior Mike Weber (420) continue to click as the Buckeyes average 201 yards on the ground per game. The defense certainly misses junior defense end Nick Bosa (abdominal surgery) as the unit has allowed 26 or more points on four occasions overall, but junior defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones (4.5 sacks) and sophomore defensive end Chase Young (four) are having strong campaigns.
1. Ohio State has won the past nine meetings and holds a 44-7 edge in the series.
2. The Golden Gophers have been flagged for just 20 penalties this season.
3. The Buckeyes have topped 500 yards in five of their six contests.
PREDICTION: Ohio State 52, Minnesota 21
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