Two minutes into the second quarter, the Gophers trailed 14-7 but had a first down on Ohio State's 21-yard line and a confidence borne of their surprising big-play ability against the Buckeyes' defense.
That was to be the high point of the night.
Ohio State sacked Adam Weber on the next play, the drive died without a point when Eric Ellestad's dead-duck of a field goal try struck the left upright, and the Buckeyes scored 17 points in the quarter to take a 31-7 halftime lead.
It was a humbling halftime for Minnesota, which gained more than 30 yard on three of its first six plays. The Gophers never had another big gainer like that, while 10th-ranked Ohio State showed off the offensive ability that makes it a favorite once again to claim a share of its sixth straight Big Ten title.
Adam Weber is 6-of-12 in the first half for 122 yards, and DeLeon Eskridge has 53 rushing yards. But Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is 12-of-14 for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while tailback Dan Herron already has 114 yards on 17 carries.
Eskridge scored Minnesota's only touchdown on a 7-yard run on Minnesota's first possession, tying the game at 7-7. But Ohio State has scored on five of its six first-half possessions, the only exception caused by an interception in the end zone by Ryan Collado.