If you haven’t already, Braxton Miller, you might want to get yourself familiar with the story of Wally Pipp.
Continuing to play the role of Lou Gehrig Saturday afternoon is J.T. Barrett, the redshirt freshman sensation who is forcefully pushing himself into the thick of the Heisman conversation. In the first half of a key Big Ten tilt, Barrett accounted for both touchdowns and nearly 90 percent of Ohio State’s total offense as OSU took a scant 17-14 lead on Minnesota into the halftime locker room.
The first of Barrett’s scores was a historic one. His 86-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter set a school record for a quarterback, breaking the record of 81 yards set by, you guessed it, Miller in 2011. It was also the third-longest scoring run in the team’s history, behind only an 88-yarder by Morris Bradshaw in 1971 and an 87-yarder by Eddie George in 1995.
The second came on a 57-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall late in the opening quarter. That scoring toss gave Barrett 36 total touchdowns on the season, tying the school record set last year by, you guessed it again, Miller.
Of the Buckeyes’ 352 yards of offense, Barrett accounted for 310 of them — 168 rushing, 142 passing. That means Barrett was responsible for an eye-opening 88 percent of OSU’s first-half offense. The Buckeyes nearly tripled the Gophers’ offensive output, with the home team mustering just 133.
Turnovers, though, played a key role in Minnesota’s second-quarter comeback.
While the Buckeyes jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, the Gophers, in the thick of the Big Ten West hunt, didn’t roll over in the snow and cold (15 degrees at kickoff). A touchdown early in the second quarter — which came after a Barrett interception, his eighth of the season — cut the lead in half. Following another Ohio State turnover, this one as the Buckeyes were mere yards away from a touchdown that would’ve pushed the lead to 21-7, Minnesota converted it into the second of running back David Cobb‘s two first-half touchdown runs.
Cobb totaled 96 yards in the first two quarters on 16 carries. The Gophers were only able to muster 15 passing yards on a pair of Mitch Leidner completions.
A 22-yard field goal off the foot of Sean Nuernberger with no time left in the second quarter accounted for the current score.
The Gophers, incidentally, will receive the second-half kickoff.