Ohio State will head into one of the more hostile road environments in all of college football on Saturday afternoon when the Buckeyes roll into Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska’s 3-6 record is a little bit deceiving. All six of the Cornhuskers’ losses have come by eight points or less, including to top 10 opponents in Michigan, Michigan State, and Oklahoma.
Are the Buckeyes on upset alert here?
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As Ryan Day stated in his press conference this week, Nebraska is in fact a much better team than their record shows. Sitting at 24 overall in SP+, the Cornhuskers have a solid defense led by their defensive line. But Nebraska likes playing its base personnel, and the Buckeyes should have opportunities to get their wide receivers in space to create yards after the catch. Look for Ohio State to test Nebraska horizontally before taking shots downfield against the Cornhuskers’ cover 4 safeties.
Scott Frost does a nice job with play design and sequencing to put linebackers in conflict. Nebraska’s use of read and option concepts will test Ohio State’s linebackers and safeties. It will be a good game for the Buckeyes to use their split safety concepts so that their safeties can come downhill as run defenders. If Ohio State can put Nebraska behind schedule they can force Adrian Martinez into mistakes.
Ohio State 37 Nebraska 22
FULTON ANALYSIS: Zone Pressurin’
Nebraska has yet to be a pushover this season despite their six losses. As long as teams simply don’t lose the game, the Huskers will oblige and do it for them.
It is probably safe to assume the best version of this Nebraska team will be on the field Saturday and they will be ready for the Buckeyes. But can they handle everything that Ohio State will throw at them. The Huskers have a decent defense, but the Buckeyes have more than a decent offense. TreVeyon Henderson can only be contained for so long and if CJ Stroud isn’t being pressured, the Nebraska secondary is going to give up some yards.
I think the Huskers will be able to move the ball, but they’re going to need Adrian Martinez to play a perfect game to win. He has yet to do that in his career. He should be productive, but how efficient will he be in the red zone? Of course, the same question could be asked of the Buckeyes.
As for me and my house, we’re siding with Henderson and the Ohio State passing game. If the OSU defense can change the picture from snap to snap for Martinez, they should be able to force him into some turnovers as well.
Ohio State 41 Nebraska 24
Last week was one of those great wins where the Buckeyes were able to pick up an important victory over a ranked opponent but still had a lot of things to improve on, which should have resulted in a focused week of practice. Even when Nebraska is down, going into Lincoln is tough and so this will be the toughest atmosphere the Buckeyes have played in in quite some time.
On paper, however, this is a talent mismatch and it’s hard to see many spots where Nebraska has an advantage. Furthermore, that Ohio State defensive line is starting to play really well and Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez has a propensity to turn the football over.
I think the Ohio State defensive line continues to get pressure, Martinez makes a few mistakes, and C.J. Stroud continues to play really good football for the Buckeyes. That line of -15 seems fishy, but maybe that’s just me as Nebraska has been right in the mix in all six of its losses so far. This feels like a game where the Buckeyes are ahead by a comfortable margin for most of it but Nebraska gets a backdoor cover with a late touchdown because #VegasKnows.
Ohio State 38 Nebraska 24
Nebraska has a 3-6 record so you would think Ohio State is going to come into Lincoln and whoop the Huskers the same way they did Rutgers, Maryland, and Indiana. But Scott Frost’s program is not your average 3-6 team—NU has lost their 6 games by a total of 33 points, or 5.5 points per game.
Does that mean this one will be close? Of course not. I think Ohio State is more talented than Nebraska in all three phases of the game. I think the Huskers are limited offensively, particularly in the passing game. And their defense has been stout, but nothing spectacular.
But, for some reason, I do think this will be a closer game than what OSU fans want to see. I don’t think it will be as nail biting as last week’s win over Penn State, but I could see it playing out somewhat like Minnesota, where the first half is close and the Bucks struggle, before the Scarlet and Gray pull away and close things out in the second half.
I don’t have a great feel for this one, but I do think the Vegas spread of 14.5 with an over/under of 65 is going to be close. Using those numbers, Vegas thinks this game will be something along the lines of 40-25. I concur.
Ohio State 38 Nebraska 24
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I expect Nebraska to put up a mighty effort this week and they do a lot of the little things that give Ohio State issues (ie run the QB etc). OSU needs to stay clean on offense and that may be a bit of a challenge against an aggressive defense that will take chances. I’ve got Ohio State prevailing 42-28 in a game that’s way too close for comfort.
Ohio State 42 Nebraska 28
Ohio State has owned this series and honestly the one loss is so far out of my memory bank, it doesn’t even exist.
Don’t say Joe Bauserman.
When we look at the 2021 match-up, we see a hard-luck Nebraska team against an Ohio State team that faced a fair amount of adversity last week, only to come out the other side with a nine-point win.
It is well-documented that Nebraska has six losses of eight points or fewer. Strangely enough, Nebraska is 3-6, meaning that nobody has been able to put the Huskers away. Until this week.
Adrian Martinez has accomplished many things in his time with the Huskers, beating Ohio State is not one of them as generally wins this game going away, outside of the obvious loss in 2011 and a five-point Ohio State win in 2018 that was much more decisive than what the final score reads.
The Huskers are a better running team than either Indiana or Penn State but so much of that run comes from Martinez and the Buckeyes have played the guy three times in the past, there are no surprises, they will be ready for the quarterback run.
Take that away? There is not much else on offense.
Nebraska will score some points, but not nearly enough. Ohio State will score some points, but maybe not as many as people would like to see, coming off just 33 against Penn State and one of those scores being on the defensive side.
It will be a good win but not a great one as Ohio State does enough to keep people off the ledge but leaves some more room for improvement.
Ohio State 35 Nebraska 14
Nebraska is the worst kind of bad team, which is a secretly-decent bad team. Yes, Ohio State should beat them somewhat comfortably, but the Huskers have made each of the six teams that already beat them this fall kind of sweat it out.
The Huskers have lost to a dreadful Illinois team, decent Minnesota and Purdue squads, and three teams in the top-10 of the College Football Playoff rankings. But they’ve lost all of them by single-score margins.
With his job on the line, look for Scott Frost to throw the kitchen sink at the Buckeyes in a desperate attempt to pick up a signature win. It won’t work, but it won’t be fun Ohio State, either.
Ohio State 38 Nebraska 24
Nebraska is coming off of what seems to be the norm, a competitive loss. But make no mistake about it, Nebraska will be up for this game. While their defense isn’t as good as Penn State’s, they play hard and they play fast. I think they will take a swing at Ohio State and hope that they can connect.
However, Ohio State didn’t play its best game last Saturday. It was their first real test since Oregon, and it was what the doctor ordered. They needed to learn how to win when things aren’t going your way, and they needed to be punched in the mouth to be brought back to reality. One offensive player graded out as a champion, which is unheard of, but it was a message that had to be sent and received. That’s a scary thought for the rest of the country. I think the offense will execute far better than they did against Penn State, and I think Adrian Martinez will give the ball to Ohio State at least once.
Ohio State 45 Nebraska 21
Ohio State has toyed with Nebraska in recent years, beating them decisively, and I suppose there is a thought that it will happen again this year. Somehow, I think Nebraska may actually make this game more competitive than most Ohio State fans anticipate. Perhaps I will be wrong.
Something about how Penn State was able to continually convert third downs is troubling as I look forward to this game, as I anticipate Scott Frost pulling out all the stops offensively in this home contest for the Cornhuskers. Yes, Adrian Martinez has a knack for turning the ball over at the most inopportune times for Nebraska, but his mobility has me thinking there may be times where he will be able to convert third downs, leading to frustration.
Ohio State has too much depth offensively for Nebraska to keep pace. Adrian Martinez is basically the whole offense for Nebraska, and while I believe he will play valiantly, it may be too much for the Cornhuskers to make this a close one, like so many of their losses have been this season. I have it Ohio State 38, Nebraska 17.
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In case of a tie, there will be a tie-breaker each week. This week’s tie-breaker: How many SACKS will the Ohio State defense record against Nebraska on Saturday afternoon?