Ohio State traveled to Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers over the weekend, looking to prolong their win streak to seven-straight games. Early in the game, Nebraska’s offense was unable to push the ball down the field and had to punt the ball. C.J. Stroud came into this matchup flexing his muscles, as opposing defenses have been unsuccessful with a solid game plan to stop him. Stroud and the offense moved the ball in Nebraska territory when Stroud rolled out to his right and threw a pass towards the sidelines which was intercepted by JoJo Domann. Ohio State’s defense applied plenty of pressure as they sacked Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez multiple times. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 0-0.
In the second quarter, Ohio State had the ball inside the Nebraska 10-yard line, and on a third-down play, were stopped in their tracks. Ohio State had to settle for a field goal, kicker Noah Ruggles connected on a 26-yard field goal. Ohio State took a 3-0 lead and it appeared that this might turn out to be C.J. Stroud was more effective in the game, as he threw short passes and allowed his talented receivers to extend the play.
In the red zone, C.J. Stroud was in the shotgun formation and rolled out to his left and found Chris Olave for a three-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 10-0 Buckeyes.
In their next drive, Nebraska would respond by draining a 39- yard field goal by kicker Chase Contreraz to cut Ohio State’s lead to 10-3. Less than three minutes into the second quarter, C.J. Stroud threw a short pass to Jaxson Smith-Njigba who juked two defenders and cruised down the sidelines and scored for a 75-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead 17-3 Ohio State. Adrian Martinez faked the handoff to his running back and threw a dart to wide receiver Samori Toure for a 72-yard touchdown pass. You could hear the roar of the crowd, as a three-win team was sticking around against a top team in the country. The score was 17-10 Ohio State headed into halftime, which definitely sent shockwaves around the college football community as Nebraska has been a weak team thus far.
Nebraska neutralized the run game of the Buckeyes earlier in the third quarter, as TreVeyon Henderson was tackled for a loss twice in one drive. The drive concluded with Ohio State collecting three points, as Noah Ruggles connected on a 46- yard field goal which put Ohio State up 20-10.
Ohio State was forced to punt on their next possession, why is this important?
Punter Jesse Mirco pinned the Cornhuskers inside their five-yard line, as special teams have great value as it makes a huge difference in a game. Later in the game, Ohio State increased their lead as Noah Ruggles connected on a 39-yard field goal which pushed the lead to 23-10.
Ohio State was not out of the woods yet, as Adrian Martinez threw a pass to wide receiver Samori Toure who made three Buckeyes defenders miss and was taken down at the one-yard line. It was pathetic that Ohio State defenders were unable to take down Toure, as they were in close proximity. Adrian Martinez scored on a one- yard quarterback keeper, the lead dwindled down to 23-17. In the fourth quarter, the Nebraska defense pressured Stroud who moved up in the pocket and forced a deep pass down the field which resulted in another interception. Nebraska was able to effectively move the ball as they ran the ball with their tailback and then Martinez on a run option galloped to a first down.
Nebraska came up empty on both possessions, Ohio State got a jolt of energy thanks in part to a nice gain by running back TreVeyon Henderson. Nebraska almost spoiled Ohio State’s drive, as Stroud was hit hard and lost the football. It was ultimately recovered by an Ohio State offensive lineman, thus it set up a 46-yard field goal by Noah Ruggles to push the lead to 26-17. Ohio State had a late interception, as the ball hit off of a Nebraska wide receiver and into the arms of Steele Chambers to put the game on ice.
The Ohio State defense came up big, as they registered five sacks and at times looked to be extremely dominant and other times left fans scratching their heads. In the postgame press conference, Ohio State coach Ryan Day stated “I think it is great to see our guys win like this.”
Really good teams have to learn how to finish off close games especially since they have a young team in that locker room. Players tend to lose focus and when they are smoking teams left and right.
Regardless, a win is a win no matter what the score is. It is so important as they added another win in conference play. Up next, the 5th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will host the Purdue Boilermakers next weekend.