It wasn’t always pretty, but it was certainly fun and exciting.
The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers fought a Shootout in the ‘Shoe to the tune of 14 total touchdowns in the game for a final score of 63-38. Braxton Miller finished the game with 7-14 completions for 127 yards and a touchdown, and added 185 yards on 16 carries for a touchdown. Taylor Martinez couldn’t keep up on the ground with 17 carries for 46 yards, but made up for it through the air on 15-24 completions for 214 yards and a touchdown, but also three picks. Carlos Hyde was a force in this one scoring 4 touchdowns and picking up 138 yards. The 63 points were the most scored by the Buckeyes since a 72-0 victory over Pittsburgh on September 21st 1996.
I’m impressed with the play of the offense tonight. They put in touchdowns on five straight drives, and it could have even been six or seven if not for the unfortunate Carlos Hyde fumble late in the third quarter. That is a testament of what this team can really do on offense. They’re figuring it out slowly but surely. It would be really nice if they could do it starting in the first quarter too, but it’s certainly better late than never. Simply put, these guys are making progress in picking up the system, and they’re making it work.
Despite what many will say about the defense, I want to give props to the unit for doing a fairly solid job all game long. As I’ll mention below, the big plays are still a concern, but the defense on the whole did a good job against a talented offensive team. If not for the offense struggling in the first quarter, Nebraska may never have made it to 30 points in this game. There’s still a long way to go, but I see this defense making progress slowly but surely – and don’t forget, you don’t get to 6-0 without at least some kind of defense.
That’s right, the Buckeyes are now undefeated halfway through the season. I doubt that many of us honestly believed the Buckeyes could find themselves in this position at this point in the season. There’s still a long way to go, but the players on this team have the heart to go the distance. One way or another, it’s going to be a fun ride through the last six games of the season.
1. Bradley Roby is quickly becoming one of my favorite Buckeyes, despite some of his flaws. The pick six during Nebraska’s second drive was a thing of beauty. He later added a second pick to help give the Buckeyes the lead back. He did a fantastic job in coverage, and Martinez simply kept throwing his way.
2. Braxton Miller. He continues to dominate games on the ground, and his passing is coming closer to really connecting on a regular basis. If he works his butt off in the offseason, he’s going to be scary good next year.
3. Crowd noise. The crowd possibly caused several false starts and made life generally difficult for the Cornhuskers. It’s great to hear stories of people returning from the game with their ears bleeding. The crowd also set an attendance record for the stadium with 106,102 at the game.
4. Going for it late in the half. That paid off big time, giving the Buckeyes the 11 point lead going into the locker rooms and allowed them to maintain enough momentum to survive a scoring drive from Nebraska to start the second half and punch one in of their own.
5. Corey Philly Brown should be the punt returner. Philly came in for Devin Smith on the punt returns and immediately made something happen. I’d love to see more of that this season. I would also be remiss if I didn’t give serious props to the blocking on that play – great job guys.
6. Turnovers. The Buckeyes committed three turnovers last week. This week they pick Martinez off three times and forced him to fumble, but handed one back on an unfortunate Carlos Hyde fumble late in the game. The interceptions were particularly timely, especially Orhian Johnson’s which came late in a promising Nebraska drive.
1. The goal-line defense leaves a bit to be desired. Nebraska was able to get three yards with impunity near the endzone. That needs to be cleaned up in the coming weeks, especially before we play Penn State and Wisconsin.
2. First quarters. The Buckeyes only had 17 yards of offense in the first quarter. This has been a continuing problem for this team, generally struggling early in ball games. On the plus side, the offense turned it around in the 2nd with 243 yards of offense and
3. Not falling on fumbles. There’s not a whole lot to say about this. I understand that things were going really well in general, and scoring on that fumble would be huge. However, falling on the fumble is always a better idea. Funny what happens when you don’t – the other team comes up with it!
4. Going for it on 4th and long with the punter run deep in OSU territory. I once taunted Rich Rod for making exactly this same decision. I was appalled to see Urban Meyer make the same call. Even if it almost worked, I don’t like seeing that play unless you’re closer to the 50.
5. Big Plays. This team still gives up too many big plays on defense, particularly in the passing game. If not for the big plays, Nebraska struggles to move the ball against us at all. Admittedly, the first long run by Burkhead was a defensive breakdown partially due to Shazier being hurt.
The Buckeyes next play Indiana in Bloomington next Saturday at 8 PM EST. You’ll be able to see that game on the Big Ten Network.