The Huskers are reeling right now having lost five their last six games. It’s a tough time for the sixth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes to be coming to town. The Buckeyes are fresh off a close victory over Penn State. They hope to climb back into the College Football Playoff picture to end the season. Everyone in Lincoln is aware of how potent the Buckeyes’ offense can be. Nebraska has played them in each season under coach Scott Frost. The lowest point total that Nebraska has held the Buckeyes to under Frost is 36 back in 2018.
Defensive end/outside linebacker Garrett Nelson is preparing to face a balanced attack this weekend. Ohio State does like to take shots at big plays down the field. Those plays can take time to develop. That can give pass rushers like Nelson extra time to affect the quarterback.
“Ohio Stats is a good team and they do a good job balancing it,” Nelson said. “We got to earn the right to rush by taking care of first and second down. With their backs and tight ends and their offensive line that will be huge. We’ll have that extra second when we get them on third and medium or long. So that’d be nice but we have to earn the right to rush by taking care of first and second down.”
Nelson says the offensive line for Ohio State is a good one. They are well-coached, big and physical. Executing their assignments will be critical on Saturday. So is being physical at the point of attack. If the Huskers can do that then they’ll have a better chance to slow down the Buckeyes’ speedy running back TreVeyon Henderson. The freshman enters the game as Ohio State’s leading rusher with 845 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s averaging 7.9 yards per rush and is a threat to take any play for a touchdown.
“Fundamental-wise we have to get our hands on him,” Nelson said. “We have to slow him down so he doesn’t take the top off the defense. We have to force him into a physical game. They are physical guys, that’s what they’re coached to do. We have to out tough them.”
The Huskers have faced some outstanding Buckeyes quarterbacks in recent memory. Nelson thinks CJ Stroud is another good one. He is young so making him uncomfortable is going to be key. Nelson says its key the Huskers get their hands up and get hits on the talented signal-caller.
Schematically the Buckeyes do present problems. They do a good job disguising runs and running play action to take shots. As always the team is loaded up with skill position talent for the Huskers to account for. It will be a tall task for the Huskers to slow down this Buckeyes attack. They seem to be hitting a stride late in the season. The Huskers know what they are up against and seemed eager to get the opportunity on Monday.
More news and notes:
>> Kicker Chase Contreraz got his first game action this weekend against Purdue. He handled the extra point and field goal duties for the Huskers after Connor Culp’s struggles. The former Iowa Western standout was blown away by the messages he received after the game.
“It was really crazy to hear from everyone in my hometown just congratulating me on finally getting my start,” Contreraz said. “It’s still surreal, just completing the lifelong dream that I wanted to kick here. It’s unbelievable. People say it all the time, there’s nothing like Nebraska. There really is no place like Nebraska here. But I still got work to do and there’s a job to be done for the rest of season. I’m here to do that.”
>> Monday through Friday is just as important as what we see on Saturday for the Huskers. Defender Garrett Nelson gave us some insight as to how he prepares for games during the week.
“Going through formations and watching film,” Nelson said. “Just training the way I know how to train. Just working hard as I can and the rest takes care of itself. Not just practice but film meetings. How I attack it mentally and just putting things in perspective game wise on what I need to do in my job.”
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.