One-handed catch in first half followed by game-clinching TD in fourth quarter
K.J. Hill made the play of the game Saturday for the Ohio State Buckeyes, catching a pass across the middle from Dwayne Haskins with one hand and then acting as if the ball was stuck to his hand as he celebrated in the end zone.
The third-ranked Buckeyes didn't play anything close to their best offensive game, but Hill did. He finished with nine catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns. His 27-yard touchdown catch with 2:15 to play in the game sealed a 30-14 victory against Minnesota at Ohio Stadium.
“I wanted him to get his head around,” said Haskins of Hill’s one-handed touchdown. “So when he looked, the ball was already there, and it was a little behind him. He made a crazy play. Of course, K.J. is a little character. He was pretty hyped up. He had a career day today.”
Hill has caught at least one pass in 27 straight games. He has had at least four receptions in every game this season.
As for the one-handed grab, Hill said, “It just shows more trust in the quarterback. If I can catch it with one hand, I can definitely catch it with two hands. I felt it gave us momentum. I just tried to make a play and give us a spark.”
New kicker: Sophomore Blake Haubeil filled in for starting kicker Sean Nuernberger, who was sidelined with a minor muscle strain, and kicked field goals of 47 yards and 27 yards in the second half.
“Going out there for the first time and hitting that first field goal, a little bit of nerves but full confidence,” Haubeil said.
Opposing viewpoint: Minnesota freshman quarterback Zack Annexstad completed 13 of 23 passes for 218 yards with two interceptions. He kept the Golden Gophers into the game into the fourth quarter.
“I thought he played outstanding,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. “To do what he did in this environment as a true freshman, forget it. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but everybody else picked us 12th out of 14 in the Big Ten, and they played outstanding. We had plenty of opportunities.”
Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas one of the former #Buckeyes on the sidelines today. Here he's celebrating Ohio State's final touchdown of the day. pic.twitter.com/NygO4AChWx
Perfect start: Ohio State improved to 7-0 for the first time since 2015 and for the third time Urban Meyer's seven seasons.
“The saying right now that I’m using is enhance our strengths and let’s fix our weaknesses,” Meyer said. “We’re going to have to get some things fixed. What we’re going to do is enjoy our win. Not many teams are 7-0. Get some things fixed and get ready for the trip to Purdue.”
Looking ahead: The Buckeyes play at Purdue (2-3, 1-1) at 7:30 p.m. next Saturday. The Boilermakers played at Illinois on Saturday. They beat Iowa 28-17 and Nebraska 41-24 in their last two games.
Odds and ends: Ohio State free safety Jordan Fuller set a career high with 12 tackles. Strong safety Isaiah Pryor (five tackles) and linebacker Pete Werner (eight tackles) also set career bests. Pryor also had his first career interception. … Terry McLaurin caught his seventh touchdown pass. He's tied with Parris Campbell for the team lead.