NCAA Football: Ohio State vs Minnesota Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/02/2021

by James Q

NCAA Football:  Ohio State vs Minnesota Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/02/2021

Game Time: 8:00 EDT, Thursday, September 2nd, 2021
Venue:  TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Where to Watch:  Fox

Opening MLB Odds at USA Sportsbooks

Moneyline:  OSU: -700, Minn +470
Spread: OSU -13.5 (-114), MINN +13.5 (-106)
Total: 65.5, Over -110, Under -110

Season Record

Ohio State:  0-0, First Game of The Season!! Defending Big-Ten Champs
Minnesota:  0-0, First game of the Season!! Big Ten

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Ohio State vs Minnesota Preview and Analysis

Ohio State was 7-1 in 2020.  The season shortened by Covid was the fourth in a row they won the Big-Ten conference.  They won the Sugar Bowl then lost the College Football Championship to Alabama 52-24.  The Ohio State Buckeyes are a team at the top of college football.  They win and win and win 13-1 in 2019, 13-1 in 2018, 12-2 in 2017… regardless what is happening with conference realignment we know Ohio State should be and expects to be good.  The only bump that might hit them this year is  the change at Quarterback.  Will it work out with CJ as it did with Justin or will the world be shocked by an early loss?
The Minnesota Golden Gophers were 3-4 last year as they spun out in a topsy turvy, shortened season.  The year before (2019) they went 11-2 and contended.  They got a 2019 invite to the Outback Steakhouse Bowl where they beat Auburn 31-24.  Minnesota last beat Ohio State Oct 13th, 2000.  That was 12 games ago and that Minnesota win was a surprise upset. 


Offensive Analysis

Fresh off a National Championship Game loss.  The Buckeyes will install CJ Stroud a 6’2 194 lb, Sophomore from Rancho Cucamonga Ca.  He is an all around athlete having been a star in high school in both football and basketball.  Last season they posted 41 points per game and a staggering 519.4 yards per game.  Even if CJ stumbles a bit the team as a whole is way too talented.
Minnesota news to show a lot of improvement over last season.  The Gophers scored 27.3 points a game and an underwhelming 391 yards per game last season and are returning the same quarterback.  They are betting on a year older a year better since they are returning so many starters in key positions… but c’mon a lot of teams can say that after the eligibility extension given for everyone because of Covid.  They may have some 6th year guys but so will everyone.

Defensive Analysis

Ohio State had the best total Defense in 2019 and then dropped to 60th in 2020.  They still went to the National Championship game though… so it was a drop that didn’t affect the win column any.  Still, they have to improve on those numbers if the offense without Justin Fields doesn’t score at the same rate as the offense with.  The 2021 draft seems to have gutted the Ohio State defense losing all 4 of their top rated linebackers.  The number one defense from 2019 has now contributed every single one of it’s starters to the NFL.  Pretty impressive.  However this is a top flight program and there are of course new studs coming.  Defensive Coordinator Kerry Coombs will spin this re-mix with top flight recruits that have been waiting in the wings.
Minnesota’s run defense was a problem last year.  They will need to fix that quickly before Ohio State comes to town.  PJ Fleck is known for his team’s scoring prowess… not necessarily their run defense.  Their overall plan seems to be to improve the guys they had last year instead of searching out some guys through the transfer portal.  This is a mistake.  


Ohio State vs Minnesota Prediction

Ohio State is still Ohio State no matter how much shine we give Minnesota in predicting they recover to 2019 form.  The only hope of Minnesota getting an upset in this one is if Minn starting quarterback Tanner Morgan outplays CJ Stroud greatly because of experience.  Tanner had a very disappointing 2020.  Morgan regressed in every statistical category in 2020 completing just 57% of his passes and dropping the Gophers to 92nd in the country in passing offense.  That won’t work against Ohio State’s Defense.  
The Prediction for Ohio State Vs Minnesota Thursday, Sept 2nd, 2021 :  
      Ohio State 54 Minnesota 12 

NCAAF Betting Trends

The Gophers have lost 11 straight games to Ohio State (counting the vacated 2010 game)
Minnesota is 4-1 in their last 5 games against the spread.
Ohio State is 2-3 in their last five games against the spread
Ohio State is 9-0 in their last 9 games on the road. (regular season)
Minnesota is 2-4 in their last 6 games played on a Thursday

Key Injuries


Players to Watch

Ohio State:  CJ Stroud, The young man, has won the starting job as the Buckeyes QB.  He has to try and fill Justin Fields' shoes.  Justin Fields was perhaps the best quarterback to ever play for the Buckeyes and he has moved on to the pros.  OSU fans will be watching Justin play for the Chicago Bears on Sundays hoping he gets some wins… They’ll be watching C.J. Stroud on Saturdays (in this case Thursday) expecting him to win every game.  Such are the expectations.

Minnesota:  Running Back Mohamed Ibrahim returns for a redshirt Senior season.  He averaged 153.7 yards per game last season and finished third team all-American. And he’ll be rushing behind an offensive line that has FIVE returning starters. Mohamed had 15 touchdowns in 7 games last season.  Imagine his output with a full 2021.  Although it is odd that he didn’t make himself available for the NFL draft.

Notable Quotes

“I tell the guys all the time that we have to (meet those expectations). That’s the desperation we have to wake up with every day as a coaching staff, as players. I tell the guys all the time I wake up scared that people want what we have.”  - Ryan Day,  Ohio State head coach.
“Well, we're in year five. When you reflect back on what we've done in the last four years, hopefully everything we said we were going to do, well, not everything that we said we're going to do, but everything we said we wanted. I hope it's very clear that everybody sees that.”  - PJ Fleck, Minnesota head coach.

Starting Lineups

Ohio State
QB  CJ Stroud
RB  Master Teague III
WR  Garrett Wilson 
WR Chris Olave
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
LT  Thayer Munford
LG  Harry Miller
C  Luke Wypler
RG Paris Johnson Jr
RT  Nicholas Petit-Frere
TE  Jeremy Ruckert

QB Tanner Morgan
RB  Mohamed Ibrahim
WR Dylan Wright
WR Chris Autumn-Bell
WR Daniel Jackson
LT  Sam Schlueter
LG  Blaise Andries
C  John Michael Schmitz
RG Conner Olson
RT Daniel  Faalele
TE  Ko Kieft

Statistical Leaders

Ohio State (2020)
Justin Fields , Passing 2,100 yards, 70% completion, 22 TD 6 INT
Trey Sermon, Rushing, 870 yards, 7.5 per carry, 4 TD
Chris Olave,  Receiving, 729 yards, 14.6 yards per catch, 7 TD
Tanner Morgan, Passing 1,374 yards, 57% completion, 7 TD 5 INT
Mohamed Ibrahim,  Rushing 1,076, 5.4 per carry, 15 TD
Rashod Bateman, Receiving 472 yards, 13 yards per, 2 TD
Ohio State: Ryan Day,  3rd season
Minnesota: PJ Fleck, 5th season
    * These coaches shared the Big Ten’s Coach of the Year Award in 2019*

Weather Forecast

40% chance of precipitation, high of 74 degrees, wind of 10-15 mph.

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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