MINNEAPOLIS -- No. 8 Ohio State had to battle a ranked team on the road with snowy conditions Saturday. Winter is coming, but the Buckeyes aren't cooling off yet. They won their eighth straight game by surviving at No. 25 Minnesota 31-24, and that kept their College Football Playoff hopes flickering.
Here is a quick look at how it happened:
How the game was won: Ohio State simply had too much speed and offensive weaponry for the Gophers to handle most of the day. Minnesota stuck around, however, thanks to three costly Buckeyes turnovers. Jerry Kill chose to kick a field goal on second down with 1:23 left to get within a touchdown. But Ohio State recovered the ensuing onside kick and was able to get into the victory formation. A missed 52-yard Gophers field goal early in the third quarter -- it had enough distance but clanked off the left upright -- loomed large late in the game, as well.
Game ball goes to: Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett. Just as he did against Michigan State last week, the redshirt freshman carved up a strong defense on the road. He eclipsed predecessor Braxton Miller for three school records: most touchdowns in a season (38), most rushing yards by a quarterback in a game (189) and longest run by a quarterback (86 yards). Barrett came close to the first-ever 200-200 day by a Buckeye, as he finished with an even 200 yards passing and had four total touchdowns.
What it means: Ohio State is now just one win (or a Michigan State loss) away from clinching a spot in the Big Ten title game. The Gophers control their own destiny in the West Division and could force a rematch with the Buckeyes in Indianapolis by winning their final two games. But both are on the road against ranked teams -- Nebraska and Wisconsin -- so it won't be easy.
Playoff implication: The Buckeyes won their second straight against a ranked opponent and have to hope the close final score doesn't hurt their standing with the selection committee. For comparison's sake, No. 4 TCU beat Minnesota 30-7 this season. At home, with no snow. Ohio State will be heavy favorites in its next two games -- both at home -- and shouldn’t get another test until the Big Ten title game. Urban Meyer's team still needs help to move into the field of four, but it is lurking.
Best play: Barrett showed off his underrated speed on Ohio State’s second series, breaking free on a quarterback keeper and racing past the entire Minnesota defense for an 86-yard score. It was the longest run ever by a Buckeyes’ quarterback, eclipsing Miller’s 81-yard dash in 2011.
What's next: Minnesota goes to No. 16 Nebraska next week in a key West Division showdown. Ohio State hosts a struggling Indiana team at the Horseshoe.