Nebraska returns to Big Ten action on Saturday to face Ohio State on the road. The Huskers and Buckeyes are meeting for the third straight year. The two will meet each season through 2021.
Saturday's matchup is only the seventh all-time meeting between the two programs. The Huskers and Buckeyes first met in 1955, which has an interesting story to go along with it. Ohio State currently leads the series 5-1. The Huskers one win came in 2011, the Huskers' first season in the Big Ten.
Nebraska-Ohio State football TV channel, time, live stream
TV channel: FOX (Joe Davis, Brady Quinn, Bruce Feldman)
Time: 11 a.m. CT
Date: Saturday, Nov. 3
Live stream: FOX Sports GO
Radio: Huskers fans can listen to the Nebraska vs. Ohio State game on IMG Husker Sports Network, as well as on Sirius Channel 108 and XM 196. Internet radio will be available at Huskers.com.
Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Weather: Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 54 degrees. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Nebraska-Ohio State football picks, odds
The line: Nebraska -19, per OddsShark
Nebraska-Ohio State preview
Nebraska's matchup with Ohio State is the Huskers' third 2018 road game against a ranked opponent this season. That includes a loss at then-No. 19 Michigan on Sept. 22 and a loss at then-No. 16 Wisconsin on Oct. 6.
The Huskers are looking for the third win of the season, and the first win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 22 Oregon in Lincoln in 2016. It's also worth noting that Nebraska's last road win over a ranked opponent came in 2011 against Penn State. The Huskers won that one 17-14.
Nebraska will rely heavily on its surging offense, which is currently averaging 471.3 yards of total offense to rank third in the Big Ten and 18th nationally. To put the Huskers' offense in context, they currently have four 500-yard offensive games this season. The last time Nebraska had five 500-yard total offense games in a season was 2000.
As for Ohio State, let's start on the offensive side of the ball. The Buckeyes are an elite passing team. To be fair, they’re an elite point-scoring team overall. This is a 7-1 team with the highest-scoring offense in the Big Ten.
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins has excelled doing the one thing many critics said JT Barrett wasn’t any good at. The Buckeyes are seventh in the country in passing S&P+ and Haskins is hitting on over 70 percent of his throws (the team’s completion rate is second nationally). Any throw you need a championship quarterback to make, he’s shown the ability to make.
Ohio State is good on throwing downs (10th in S&P+, 10th in marginal efficiency, 16th in marginal explosiveness on passing downs), really good on third down despite facing a ton of third-and-longs and good at protecting the quarterback.
The issue the Buckeyes are running into is sort of the same thing Nebraska fans encountered last season moving from Tommy Armstrong Jr. to Tanner Lee (the first and only time ever Tanner Lee will be compared to Dwayne Haskins). Barrett could take off and pick up 10 yards any time he dropped back to throw the ball. Defenses had to account for that, even when he wasn’t getting the call to run.
And Ohio State’s offense has been built around that dual-threat ability since Meyer took over. It’s a spread RPO attack that is now without the quarterback running threat. Defenses are stacking the box and selling out to stop Dobbins and Weber knowing Haskins won’t beat them with his legs. Purdue took this and executed to a tee. Haskins had a record-breaking passing day, topped 70 attempts and the Boilermakers still won by 29 points.
On the other side, the defense is a mess.
In the secondary, the Buckeyes continue to rely on press-man coverage without the athletes or talent they’ve had in the past that made that strategy work. If you beat your guy, you’ve got green grass in front of you and opposing teams have been beating their guys. The Buckeyes rank 108th in big play rate, giving up 20 yards on nearly 10 percent of opponent plays. But, to be fair to the secondary, the rush defense is giving up chunk plays at a high rate too.
Turns out all those losses up front actually meant something, especially now that Nick Bosa has left the team to prepare for the NFL Draft.
For a full look at Ohio State, visit Derek Peterson's opponent preview on the Buckeyes.