Well, if you thought things couldn’t get tougher for Nebraska, in comes the #1 offense in the country to Memorial Stadium this Saturday. They are first in both scoring offense with 47 points per game, and yards per game with 552. Nebraska is working on its first win against Ohio State since our first year in the league in 2011. The game Braxton Miller left and they inserted Joe Bauserman who went 1/10 passing.
Unfortunately there is no Bauserman on this Ohio State team, and Saturday could again seal another losing season, making that four straight for this staff and fifth overall.
What will the blackshirts see?
As i’ve said for many years now, Ohio State basically runs what we tried to do with Wandale, only better. The have a QB in CJ Stroud that quite honestly Buckeye fans were not thrilled with the beginning of the year. Justin Fields was with Ohio State in 2020, so Stroud didn’t get a chance to even throw a pass. 2021 comes around and there’s a lot of questions, plays poorly (by Ohio State standards), and he was actually benched for one game, and we actually found out he had been dealing with a shoulder issue. Now that he is healthy, he hasn’t looked back and is absolutely crushing opposing defenses. In his last 4 games, he is completing 75% of his passes and has 15 touchdowns to 0 interceptions.
To make matters worse, their receiving crew is unreal led by this guy:
And he’s not even leading their team in receiving, as Garrett Wilson is third in the B1G for yards and that’s where things can get interesting. Because CTB did a pretty good job following Bell around all last week for Purdue, but he still got yards. What do we do when we have 2 WRs that can give us fits?
And allow me to compound things even further… Tre’Veyon Henderson is a true freshman runningback for the Buckeyes that is second to only Kenneth Walker from Michigan State in rushing within the conference. He is actually averaging close to 8 yards per carry and has 12 touchdowns on the season so far. Luke Reimer and Nick Henrich are 4th and 6th respectively in tackles per game this season, and they will need a big game to have a shot to slow down this offense of Ohio State.
According to Rivals, Ohio State’s starting 11 on defense boast three 5 stars, five 4 stars, and three 3 stars. To make matters worse, one of the 3 stars is Olave who is a complete stud. The blackshirts will have their work cut out for them this week.
But it’s not all bad. As I mentioned, Ohio State basically runs what Nebraska runs. We’ve seen this offense all year going good vs good. The key for Nebraska is going to be getting pressure on Stroud. If you sit back and play coverage, his guys will get open all day. If you remember our game last year and my talk on the other site, what bothered me was our corners played off and we brought no pressure, allowing easy pitch and catches. Stroud is still young and struggles a bit when he’s faced with a rush.
Now, will we be able to get home with 3 like Penn State did there? Not likely. So we are going to need to bring guys like Reimer, Henrich, Nelson to try and get there and force the issue.
And making issues worse is the fact that Ohio State can play with eye discipline. Here is a play that isn’t like your typical crossing route. The TE motions up to the top of the screen, and then Wilson flies across the formation behind the LOS. That is really difficult for the defense to see let alone defend.
Defensively for the Buckeyes
Let’s do the same exercise we did for the offense shall we? Ohio State boasts two 5 stars on their starting defense, six 4 stars, and three 3 stars. That’s a wealth of talent. If Nebraska wants to win this game we need to control the clock and not have quick three and outs putting the nations #1 offense back out there on our defense. We saw what happens when we have the Blackshirts out there for 80+ snaps against Purdue.
Ohio State comes in with a top25 defense in terms of points allowed per game with 19. They are 17th in the country in rushing yards allowed per game with 108, but teams are having some success throwing against them. What burned us against Purdue could be an issue again in the fact that Ohio State is 8th in the country in turnover margin per game. If we turn the ball over like we did against the Boilermakers, it will be an awfully long day.
Ohio State runs mainly an even front, and Nebraska has struggled with that this year. But the Buckeyes lack some experience. They tied Alabama for the most draft picks in 2021 with 10, so that created some voids. Further, their announcer was on 1620 this week speaking about how with last year being a Covid year and not getting those out of conference gimme games, they didn’t get a chance to get up big on teams and get experience. They lost their best DL from last year, their top 4 producing linebackers, and their best defensive back. That created a lag in getting up to speed defensively.
But this game is going to be a long one for our offensive tackles I feel. Take a look at this play, Penn State is not blocking the DE to the bottom side of the screen. Fine. But up top watch Ohio State’s DE going against Penn State’s tackle… this is a run play.
If that’s how it went for Penn State on run plays, how are things going to go for us on runs or even passes where our guys have to protect? Keep in mind that’s a 6.0 four star for Ohio State that wasn’t even included in my starting player stats.
I just think this will be an extremely long game for Nebraska’s offense. We couldn’t get much going with Martinez against Purdue, so relying on our line to move the Ohio State defensive line seems like a losing battle. So we will then be forced to throw which could be a disaster. I expect a lot of QB draw/powers, screens, easy pitches to our TEs. Toure will get loose a bit more than likely, but we just don’t match up on the outside well enough to get anything going in the passing game. And that’s before we talk about not giving up 5 sacks.
45-21 bad guys. Go Big Red!