Ohio State will begin a new era in their program history Thursday night when the Buckeyes start rookie CJ Stroud against Minnesota.

Stroud is expected to take the reins from Justin Fields, who had been the starting quarterback for the past two seasons before jumping into the NFL. Fields and Ohio State lost to Clemson at the Fiesta Bowl in the 2019 season and lost the National Championship to Alabama last season.

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The Buckeyes are ranked No.4 in the first Associated Press poll of the year and have high expectations behind Stroud who has yet to throw a pass in his college career.

In this April 5, 2021 file photo, Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud performs a workout during NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio.

In this April 5, 2021 file photo, Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud performs a workout during NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio.
(AP Photo / Paul Vernon, file)

Nonetheless, Stroud received support from his teammates.

“We’re just really happy to have him as a quarterback right now. He’s taken this job to the full, ”Ohio State offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere said Wednesday.

“There are some guys who reach for the creme de la creme and succeed in these great times and kind of inspire the team to keep moving forward even in the tough times. CJ has done it almost every time. times, “he added.

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Stroud was a five-star prospect entering Ohio state in 2020. He was the nation’s No.2 pro-style quarterback in high school and one of the top 50 players overall. He was also the MVP of the Elite 11 camp.

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“He has an advantage. He wants to be really good. He’s very competitive, ”Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said. “Now it’s time to go put it on the pitch.”

Stroud won’t go into a cake Thursday night. Minnesota is not left out of a team.

Tanner Morgan is entering his senior season in Minnesota and looking to put the Golden Gophers in the conversation for a Big Ten title. He totaled 1,374 passing yards and seven touchdown passes in the shortened 2020 season. In 2019, he led Minnesota to an 11-2 season.

In this file photo from Nov. 7, 2020, Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan returns to pitch during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois in Champaign, Illinois.  (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

In this file photo from Nov. 7, 2020, Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan returns to pitch during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

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“The guys are coming back for something bigger than them. When they do that I think it’s a good sign of things to come,” said Minnesota coach PJ Fleck.

The game is scheduled for Minneapolis at 8 p.m. ET and can be seen on FOX.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.