Here come the Buckeyes, out for blood and clicking at a time when it matters the most.
Ninth ranked Ohio State defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 56-14 Saturday night in Lincoln. It was a complete beat down from opening kickoff to final horn.
Here are my biggest takeaways from their matchup with Nebraska.
* Barrett starts hot, stays hot.
J.T. might as well stand for Just Touchdowns. Barrett was 8 of 10 for 72 yards in the first quarter, connecting with six different receivers. He finished the game with 27 completions on 33 attempts for 325 yards and 5 touchdowns, connecting with 10 different receivers. He also rushed 10 times for 48 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those seven touchdowns he accounted for tied a school record for most responsible in a game in Buckeye history.
The young receiving core has finally gained his trust and he’s showing it by letting it rip. Two of his attempts down field drew pass interference penalties. Even if they’re not connecting on them, the threat of going deep with the speed at receiver is enough to get defenses off-balance, opening up more room to be exploited in the run game.
J.T. is looking like the guy from 2014. The one Buckeye Nation believed in whole-heartedly. He is sneakily getting his name back into the Heisman Trophy conversation.
* Offensive line doesn’t miss a beat, dominates.
Eight consecutive possessions to start the game end all in touchdowns.
Even with the shake up in the trenches with the injury to Branden Bowens, the line kept things together and kept Barrett clean. They only allowed one sack and that was pretty much a coverage sack. On 3rd and 4th down conversions they were 12 of 16 and gained 41 total first downs. The “Slobs” led the way for 633 total yards of offense with earned them a school record of five consecutive games with 500+ yards of offense.
* The Silver Bullets are firing on all cylinders, but the pass defense still needs work.
Nebraska managed 393 total yards, but it wasn’t as impressive as the box score would lead you to believe. For the game the Cornhuskers gained 15 first downs, and were 5 for 15 on 3rd downs and 2 of 4 on 4th down.
The disappointment for the Silver Bullets were the two big pass plays they gave up to J.D. Spielman, one a 77-yard touchdown for the ‘Huskers first score of the game. The nephew of Buckeye legend Chris Spielman caught 11 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown.
The Pass defense had bounced back to allow less than 100 passing yards in the previous four games after struggling against Indian and Oklahoma to start the season. Nebraska gained 349 yards through the air.
* J.K. Dobbins sets the tone.
Nebraska was giving up 147 rushing yards per game coming into the match up with the Buckeyes. So it was their weakness versus the Buckeyes strength. Ohio State took advantage to the tune of 279 yards for an average of 5.9 yards per carry.
The young freshman Dobbins set the tempo when he raced for a 52-yard touchdown run on first possession. He had 3 carries for 67 yards and one catch for 11 receiving yards on the first drive. He finished the game with 106 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
* Not-so-Special Teams and penalties.
The opening kickoff was kicked out of bounds giving the Cornhuskers the ball at their 35-yard line. That was the only miscue on Special Teams, but coming off of last week’s debacle, the last thing you wanted to do was start the game this week with such a flub. That and the penalties (7 for 53 yards) should be enough to give Coach Meyer the ammunition to stay on these guys during the weeks to come.
Next up… the highly anticipated match-up with Penn State in The ‘Shoe after the Bye week.
With the victory, the Buckeyes got their 500th B1G conference win. It took them six fewer seasons than “That Team Up North” who got their 500th victory Saturday as well with their 27-20 overtime win over Indiana. The win also tied the Buckeyes with Nebraska for 4th most wins in NCAA history at 892.
Game balls go to J.T. Barrett and K.J. Hill Junior. Hill caught 7 passes for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns.