25 words or fewer: Ohio State drops to No. 2 in AP poll, but Buckeyes, Ezekiel Elliott keep streaking while some others nationally hit wall. The 'W' is the thing.

25 words or fewer

Ohio State drops to No.2 in AP poll, but Buckeyes, Ezekiel Elliott keep streaking while some others nationally hit wall. The 'W' is the thing.

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In the polls and CFP rankings

The Buckeyes were No.3 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the year last week, behind Clemson and Louisiana State and just ahead of Alabama. Whether the committee will move one-loss Alabama, after its win over LSU, ahead of the Buckeyes won't be known until Tuesday night, but OSU did drop behind new No.1 Clemson in the Associated Press media poll on Sunday despite the Buckeyes extending their nation's longest winning streak to 22. They held on to No.1 in the coaches poll ahead of Clemson. OSU has 29 straight wins in conference regular-season play, tying Florida State (1992-95) for the longest such streak in modern history.

Who's hot?

Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who pushed his nation-leading 100 yards-plus rushing streak to 14 games. Just like in the previous win at Rutgers, it took him awhile against Minnesota because it was a slog - his longest carry was for 15 yards. He wound up with 114 on 26 carries, scoring one touchdown. Elliott leads the Big Ten with 1,244 yards and 14 rushing TDs, and he now has 3,384 career rushing yards, stepping over Beanie Wells (3,382) to fourth in OSU history behind Archie Griffin (5,589), Eddie George (3,768) and Tim Spencer (3,553).

What's not hot?

Buying into the Braxton Miller tease. Past J.T. Barrett being cited for OVI, the hottest topic last week was the idea put forth by coaches and players that Miller was the backup quarterback du jour, which naturally brought the assumption that fans might see him throw a real pass again. He did line up a few times at wildcat back - or quarterback if that's what you want to call it - but never did he even hint at flinging a pass. Henceforth, only seeing will be believing.

What went right?

The start by the Ohio State defense, which for three quarters had most of the answers and appeared well on it way to gaining a shutout. The run defense, criticized increasingly in recent games, limited the run-first Golden Gophers to 33 yards in the game. But the pass defense, which had entered second in the nation in terms of yards allowed (149.2 average), let down its guard in the fourth quarter, when Mitch Leidner threw for two touchdowns and finished with 281 yards passing.

Back to the drawing board

The quarterback pecking order. Urban Meyer said after the game that Barrett, coming off a one-game suspension, will be considered immediately for the starting job again, which he had gained just the game before at Rutgers when he put the offense back in high gear. Cardale Jones is now 11-0 as a starter, but his inconsistency on Saturday night in his specialty, the forward pass, left no illusions that he had reclaimed his spot, though his 38-yard run for the clinching touchdown was clutch.

Dinged up

Miller had to be helped off the field in the fourth quarter after being slammed down at the end of a 45-yard pass reception. Meyer said he didn't think Miller suffered any injury that likely would keep him out of action this week.

Catch that?

Michael Thomas did. The junior had a team-leading four catches, running his streak with at least one catch to 25 games, for 39 yards and a touchdown.

Up next

A road game at Illinois, which has been up and down but, at 5-4, is one of the surprise teams in the Big Ten since Bill Cubit stepped in as coach for the fired Tim Beckman in late August. The Illini stopped a three-game losing streak by popping Purdue 48-14 on Saturday, with Josh Ferguson leading a rushing attack that amassed 382 yards. Quarterback Wes Lunt (222.2-yards passing per game) gives Illinois balance, while its defense is eighth overall in the conference.

This week's challenge

Nothing ever seems to come easy for the Buckeyes when they play at Illinois, especially if the wind is blowing - the slightest breeze turns Memorial Stadium into a wind tunnel. But forget the wind: The most important thing for Ohio State at this point is a win by any means - as Meyer asserts, 10-0 is the next goal on the journey.

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports