Ohio State doesn’t want to play games with Nebraska. It didn’t in 2016 when it drubbed the Huskers in Columbus 62-3 for what was then the second-worst loss in program history. And it didn’t again on Saturday night when it handed Nebraska one of its worst home losses in program history, a 56-14 thrashing.
The ninth-ranked Buckeyes (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten) built up a 35-0 halftime lead, that emptied half of Memorial Stadium during the intermission, and scored touchdowns on each of their first eight drives of the game. The only drive they didn’t score? Their final drive, when head coach Urban Meyer elected to go for it on fourth-and-11 at the Nebraska 20-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
The 42-point margin marked the third-worst loss the Huskers (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten) have suffered at home. They lost by 54 to Minnesota back in 1945 and by 48 to Oklahoma in 1949.
The Buckeyes also set a Nebraska opponent record for first downs in a game with 41 and their 633 total yards (fourth-most the Huskers have ever surrendered) approached the yardage record (656 total yards) Oklahoma set against Nebraska back in 1959. The Buckeyes’ offense didn’t turn the ball over once, was a near-perfect 6-for-7 in the red zone, converted 10 of its 13 third downs and averaged almost 8 yards a play.
Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett was flawless, completing 27 of his 33 passes for 325 yards and five scores, complimented by a running game that gashed Nebraska for 279 yards and three more touchdowns on 47 carries – the second-straight week the Blackshirts have allowed an opponent to rush for more than 200 yards.
Nebraska’s running game was non-existent (44 yards on 15 carries) and Tanner Lee did about everything he could (two touchdowns against no interceptions) given the collapsed pocket he operated out of almost all night long.
Ohio State was simply the better team. It topped 50 points for the fourth-consecutive game – a program record – and though the Huskers outgained the 66 yards Maryland mustered against the Buckeyes a week earlier, they were rendered just as ineffective.
If there was a bright spot, it was in the continued play of redshirt freshman JD Spielman. The receiver hauled in a career-high 11 catches for a career-high 200 yards, breaking former Husker Matt Davison’s school record for yards in a single game (167).
For head coach Mike Riley, it’s the third time in the last calendar year that his Huskers have lost by 30 or more. Questions about his status as the head coach moving forward are sure to arise during the Huskers upcoming bye week.
Nebraska will return to action on Oct. 28 for a road matchup with Purdue (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten).
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.