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Minnesota Golden Gophers 2014 opponent profile: Ohio State

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers conclude their home schedule against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes are the favorites to win the East Division and most expect them to win the conference.

2013 Record: 12-2 (8-0 Big Ten)

2013 Offensive Statistics: 45.5 points scored per game, 511.9 total offensive yards per game, 308.6 rushing yards per game, 203.3 passing yards per game, 19 turnovers, 22 sacks allowed

2013 Defensive Statistics: 22.6 points allowed per game, 377.4 total offensive yards allowed per game, 109.4 rushing yards allowed per game, 268.0 passing yards allowed per game, 24 turnovers forced, 42 sacks

Head Coach: Urban Meyer (128-25 in 13 seasons as a head coach, 24-2 in two seasons at Ohio State)

Key Returning Offensive Players: OT Taylor Decker, TE Jeff Heuerman, QB Braxton Miller, WR Devin Smith, WR Evan Spencer

Key Returning Defensive Players: DL Michael Bennett, DE Joey Bosa, LB Curtis Grant, LB Joshua Perry, S Tyvis Powell, CB Armani Reeves, DE Noah Spence, DL Adolphus Washington

Outlook: The Buckeyes are the most talented team in the Big Ten Conference on paper. As last season proved, on paper does not guarantee a championship. The Buckeyes were likely disappointed with finishing last season with back-to-back losses. The first to Michigan State in the Big 10 title game and the second in the Orange Bowl to the Clemson Tigers.

The Buckeyes lost a lot of talent from last season, but Urban Meyer has the depth on the roster to live by the “next man up” policy.

The Buckeyes are setting themselves up well for the new four-team playoff with non-conference games against Navy, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati and no Football Championship Subdivision teams. Despite a tougher schedule than usual, the Buckeyes will have one game in East Lansing, Mich. that likely will decide whether they win the East Division and a playoff spot or fall into one of the Big Ten’s top-tiered bowl games (Capital One, Outback and Holiday).

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