Game 5 Recap: Ohio State 48 – Nebraska 7
Nebraska was supposed to present the biggest challenge for the Buckeyes up to this point in the season. Ohio State had played lesser opponents with Indiana and Cincinnati providing some respect, but those games were never in question who was going to win. Nebraska is part of the 900 wins club, a blue blood and staple of college football. The Buckeyes however had other plans, and with all due respect to Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers, they dominated for their 5th straight game, and left the country impressed with how they have been balanced on all three phases of the game.
Nebraska started with the ball, and were pinned back on their own 9 yard line after a holding penalty on the opening kickoff. A personal foul penalty against Ohio State helped get the Cornhuskers out of the hole, but any relief they had was quickly taken as Jeffrey Okudah intercepted Adrian Martinez to give the Buckeye offense a favorable start near the 50 yard line. It did not take long for the Buckeyes to score, as Justin Fields dropped back to pass, but after seeing his receivers were covered, he scrambled 15 yards into the endzone.
The Silver Bullets held the Cornhuskers to a three and out on their next drive, and with a methodical 10 play drive, Fields connected with KJ Hill for a 2 yard touchdown.
Nebraska then dug deep into their playbook, as in 1990’s deep, and played some I-formation football which gave the Buckeyes some fits, as they were able to drive down the field close to the redzone. Ryan Day expertly called a timeout to help the defense adjust, which turned out to be the difference. After an overthrown pass from Adrian Martinez, Jeffrey Okudah intercepted his second pass of the game on his back. With the Buckeyes then starting on their own 4 yard line, they were able to have another methodical drive but, had to settle for a field goal into the second quarter, holding a 17-0 lead. What was the turning point to deflate the momentum for the Cornhuskers, Adrian Martinex threw his 3rd interception, this time to Jordan Fuller, and the Buckeyes quickly responded with another touchdown, making it 24-0.
The Buckeyes would continue to dominate as they went into halftime with a 38-0 lead, and were able to rest their starters late into the third quarter, and surrendered their only touchdown in the 4th with their back-ups in the game.
Justin Fields finished with 212 yards and 3 touchdowns, and added 72 yards on the ground with the one touchdown. JK Dobbins rushed for 177 yards on 24 caries and touchdown, and has now rushed for over 3000 yards in his career. Master Teague stepped up big again with 77 yards on 12 carries and added 2 touchdowns. The Buckeyes rushed for 368 yards for the day.
Austin Mack had 3 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. KJ Hill had 5 catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. Garrett Wilson had 1 catch for 6 yards and a touchdown.
It was another game where the outcome was not in question, but Ohio State was leading 17-0 after driving 90 yards for a quick field goal. Nebraska had just driving down the field the previous drive, and a 17 point lead could easily drop to 10, but on the second play of the drive, Adrian Martinez threw his 3rd interception as Jordan Fuller picked off his pass after a well defended play almost halfway through the second quarter. Ohio State would score a touchdown 3 plays later, and extend their lead to 24-0, erasing any potential momentum the Cornhuskers still had.
Star of the Game
Jeffrey Okudah. The offense put up another great performance, putting up 580 yards of offense. The defense though came up big on a team that put up 700 yards the previous week, and held them to 231. The biggest star was Jeffrey Okudah, who cam away with 2 interceptions, and 2 tackles. His play helped change the momentum for the Buckeyes to help lead to their 38-0 halftime score, and keep the game out of reach for the Cornhuskers.
Unprompted during GameDay even before the game, Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstret, and David Pollack all agreed that if you were looking at this season alone so far, and looking at who has been the most complete team, they all agreed it was Ohio State. And a 48-7 beat down against a passionate home crowd helped support their case that they are a legitimate team. They will have another test against a ranked opponent this week with Michigan State, and another dominating performance should silence most doubters, and a 6-0 start would be the best you can ask for.
Ohio State (5-0) returns to home to host Michigan State (4-1) at 7:30pm.
Nebraska (3-2) will host Northwestern (1-3) at 4pm
Photo credit: USA Today and BuckeyesWir