Scores

Final

Minnesota 0

(3-6, 0-5 Big Ten)

Ohio State 44

(9-0, 5-0 Big Ten)

3:30 PM ET, October 28, 2006

Ohio Stadium, COLUMBUS, OH

1 2 3 4 T
MINN 0 0 0 00
OSU 10 7 13 1444

Top Performers

Passing: T. Smith (OSU) - 183 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: A. Pittman (OSU) - 21 CAR, 116 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: B. Hartline (OSU) - 4 REC, 69 YDS

Ohio State manhandles Minnesota behind Pittman's 2 TDs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State's defense is proving that experience is overrated.

The best offense is a…
 Ohio State Buckeyes
The names you know are on offense. Troy Smith. Antonio Pittman. Ted Ginn, Jr. But the real reason that Ohio State is 9-0 and has been the consensus No. 1 team in the country for all of the '06 season? Defense. Jim Tressel's D is allowing less than 10 points per game, less than 300 yards of total offense, and snatching up interceptions like they're on the sale rack at Macy's. Here's a look at the Buckeyes' defensive stats from the past two years. Anyone else getting excited for Nov. 18?
2005 2006* Saturday
PPG 15.2 8.2 0
Pass YPG 207 173.6 135
Rush YPG 73 97.2 47
Total defense 281 270.9 182
Interceptions 6 15 3
* -- Does not include Saturday's stats

While quarterback Troy Smith buffed up his Heisman Trophy numbers by running for one touchdown and throwing for another, top-ranked Ohio State's defense dominated in a 44-0 victory over Minnesota on Saturday.

"Everybody anticipated a drop-off with the caliber of players they lost last year," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said of the Buckeyes, who had to replace nine starters. "I don't see any drop-off, nor have the other people who have played them. They're a fine defensive team."

Antonio Pittman rushed for two scores for the Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten), who have won every game this season by at least 17 points. They play lowly Illinois and Northwestern, both 2-7, the next two weeks while tuning up for the regular-season finale against No. 2 Michigan on Nov. 18 at Ohio Stadium.

"Putting points on the board is cool but I guess the way you do it, how you do it, is the most important thing," Smith said. "We've just got to keep rolling."

Jack Nicklaus, a former Ohio State golfer who grew up in the Columbus area, received a thunderous standing ovation at halftime when he "dotted the "i" in the band's signature maneuver, Script Ohio.

The Buckeyes, for the most part, were substantially under par on this day. It was another impressive performance by a defense that came in tied for the national lead in fewest points allowed (8.2 per game). Only two teams have scored more than seven against Ohio State this season.

Ohio State intercepted Minnesota's Bryan Cupito three times -- Malcolm Jenkins, Antonio Smith and Jamario O'Neal each had one -- and never faced a serious threat from the Golden Gophers (3-6, 0-5), despite playing without stellar defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock, who was out with a concussion.

The offense piled up 484 yards, though three lost fumbles kept the score from being more one-sided before a homecoming crowd of 105,443.

Smith's Heisman moment came with Ohio State in command early in the third quarter.

He kept the ball on a run off left tackle and then cut back against the grain and outran the defense to score on a 21-yard touchdown run to make it 24-0.

"He's gone next year, right?" Minnesota cornerback Dominic Jones said hopefully. "You get good coverage -- and then there he goes. That's what a running quarterback can do for you and a Heisman candidate can do."

Smith also tossed an 18-yard scoring pass to Brian Robiskie, completing 14-of-21 passes for 183 yards with no interceptions while rushing for 43 yards on six attempts. Smith has 22 TD pass and only two interceptions this season.

Pittman gained 116 yards on 21 carries and scored on runs of 10 and 13 yards. Chris Wells and Justin Zwick added short touchdown runs.

It was a stunning turnaround for Ohio State's defense. A year ago, Cupito passed for 396 yards and helped the Golden Gophers (3-6, 0-5) pile up 578 yards -- the second-most against Ohio State in 117 years of football. The Buckeyes still won, 45-31.

This time the Gophers never got going and finished with 182 yards -- they had four more yards in punting than in offense.

"Our defense did a great job of handling the tempo of the game," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said.

The Buckeyes' defense lost three first-round NFL picks and three others who went in the top four rounds of last year's draft. The fill-ins and unknowns have been terrific.

"Even though we won last year it was like a loss because they ran and threw so well on us," lineman Jay Richardson said. "We took it as a challenge."

The Gophers punted the ball away the first three times they had it before getting stopped on a fourth-and-1 run at the Ohio State 29 and then turned the ball over on an interception.

The Buckeyes scored on their first two possessions and then toyed with the Golden Gophers the rest of the day.

"We started the second half with a turnover and a lack of field position," Mason said. "And then the bottom fell out."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MINN
OSU
1st Downs1029
Total Yards182484
Passing135218
Rushing47266
Penalties4-203-40
3rd Down Conversions4-147-10
4th Down Conversions1-31-1
Turnovers33
Possession27:1932:41

Passing Leaders

MinnesotaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Mortense...2/3155.000-
Cupito13/251204.803-
Ohio StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Zwick3/4358.800-
Smith14/211838.710-

Rushing Leaders

MinnesotaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Pinnix14463.3010
Jones681.306
Ohio StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Pittman211165.5213
Wells15906.0115

Receiving Leaders

MinnesotaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Simmons5489.6014
Decker33110.3012
Ohio StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Hartline46917.3032
Gonzalez33010.0011

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINNOSU
TD10:59ANTONIO PITTMAN 10 YD RUN (AARON PETTREY KICK)
Drive info: 8 plays, 57 yards.
07
FG5:49AARON PETTREY 42 YD FG
Drive info: 7 plays, 48 yards.
010
SECOND QUARTERMINNOSU
TD3:49BRIAN ROBISKIE 18 YD PASS FROM TROY SMITH (AARON PETTREY KICK)
Drive info: 10 plays, 71 yards.
017
THIRD QUARTERMINNOSU
TD12:41TROY SMITH 21 YD RUN (AARON PETTREY KICK)
Drive info: 3 plays, 23 yards.
024
TD6:53ANTONIO PITTMAN 13 YD RUN (BLOCKED XP)
Drive info: 5 plays, 41 yards.
030
FOURTH QUARTERMINNOSU
TD13:33CHRIS WELLS 3 YD RUN (AARON PETTREY KICK)
Drive info: 10 plays, 74 yards.
037
TD2:56JUSTIN ZWICK 1 YD RUN (AARON PETTREY KICK)
Drive info: 14 plays, 85 yards.
044