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Unless Your Name is Rasputin You're as Surprised as Everybody
By John Porentas


A surprise result.

It was a top-10 matchup. Both teams had playoff hopes. The Buckeye offense has not exactly been overwhelming. This should have been a competitive game.

Vegas, somehow, saw the Buckeyes as 17.5-point favorites, but nobody who has been watching the Buckeyes believed it. 

Admit it, you never expected what you saw. Nebraska head coach Mike Riley manned up and admitted it was unexpected.

"This game came out of the blue to me," said Riley.

"It looked very strange to me.

"I thought we were tight early but the fact of the matter is that we really couldn't do a lot offensively and we couldn't get them off the field defensively."

Urban Meyer was just as surprised. 

"I didn't see that one coming," were the first words out his mouth at the post game podium.

Offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said the same thing.

"You never see that coming," said Warinner.  "You're playing a really good team, well coached, highly rated."

The game marked the Buckeyes’ first 50-point game against a Top 10 team since the No. 2 Buckeyes topped No. 4 Michigan, 50-14, Nov. 23, 1968. The 62 points are the most Ohio State has scored against a Top 10 team.

Subtle Message from Meyer

Meyer said he didn't see it coming, but offered somewhat of an explanation, and it didn't have anything to do with the Buckeyes.

"Their only loss is in a hard-fought overtime game last week. One of those back-to-back night game, so those just wear and tear."

It was an excuse for the Huskers, but it also described the Buckeye schedule when they played back-to-back night road games against the Badgers and Nittany Lions. It's almost like Meyer was offering the excuse for his team's loss in Happy Valley by explaining Nebraska's woes.

Sackless Defensive Efforts

OSU quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Joe Burrow combined for 44 passing attempts. Nebraska quarterbacks Ryker Fyfe and Tommy Armstrong combined for 33. In those 77 attempts not one sack was recorded. Some of that has to do with the way defenses played to control the running threat at quarterback, but the offensive lines had something to say about that too. Nebraska safety Nathan Gerry had this to say about J.T. Barrett's 26-for-38 night passing for 290 yards and four touchdowns. 

"He  had some time back there on the passes and we couldn't stop the running game either, so they just started taking advantage of it."

Barrett has now been responsible for 94 career touchdowns, the second-highest mark in the Big Ten dating back to 1996 behind Drew Brees’ 95. 

Fifty-Nine Point Magic

OSU's 62-3 win gave them a 59-point win over a highly-ranked Big 10 west team has a bit of a familiar feel to it. The last time they did that it launched them on to bigger and better things. That was of course in 2014 against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. 

Dominating the Money Down

Ohio State converted 11 of 15 third downs, Nebraska 5 of 16. Three of the Huskers' conversions came on their first drive that resulted in a field goal. They converted just two more the rest of the game. 

Fourth down attempts were more of the same. Nebraska was 0 for 2, Ohio State 1 for 1. 

Aussies on Hand

Following the game OSU punter Cam Johnston tweeted that nine friends from Australia came to the game to see him play. It isn't known if they enjoyed the game, but they didn't get to see Johnston punt because the Buckeyes never punted in the game. They did get to see him hold extra points, however.

A Payoff Game

Sports can be fickle. A player or team can put in all the effort, but victory can still elude them, but when things go as well as they did for the Buckeyes against Nebraska the payoff is there.

"It’s payday. Saturday is payday for us," said defensive end Tyquan Lewis.

"All week fight, come out and compete, that’s the challenge of practice,  to challenge the players. You’ve got to come out and compete every day during the week. You come out (on Saturday) and you get a win like this and it boosts your confidence just a little bit more and you get changed by it. Everyone around you is playing at a high level."

That elation and payoff comes after the game. During the game, it's all about focus no matter what the score. 

"The main feeling is ‘Don’t let up.’  Don’t relax, we can’t ever relax," said Lewis.

"Just keep going. I don’t think we even stopped for a moment to think about it. It was a great win. Everything paid off this week, everything that you worked so hard for. Come back next week and do it again."

Pick Six Success

The Buckeyes had two pick-sixes in the game, one a 36-yard return for a score by Damon Webb on Nebraska's first possession, the other an outrageous 48-yard return by Malik Hooker to make the score 55-3. Hooker is the second Buckeye in program history with two interception returns for a touchdown in a season after Neal Colzie accomplished the feat in 1973. Hooker becomes the ninth Buckeye with two career interception returns for a touchdown, a program record.

"It’s always a beautiful thing when the defense scores," said defensive end Tyquan Lewis. "That’s always the best thing. Scoring on defense gives you that extra swag you need.

"It electrifies everybody around us. Everybody is up off their feet and they’re all so excited. Then everybody wants to get back out there and do more."

McCall Impresses

Freshman running back Demario McCall saw extensive action in the fourth quarter and made the most of his opportunity. He ended up the game's leading rusher with 73 yards on 16 carries and added a 15-yard punt return. OSU assistant coach Tim Beck put McCall in some very good company when he compared him to another Buckeye.

"You saw, he gets to the hole quick," said  Beck.  "He has the ability to take one to the house any time. He’s probably similar to a young Curtis Samuel. Curtis was a little bit like that when he was a freshman, feeing his way through, but he did some really nice things tonight."

Joey Burrow too

McCall wasn't the only young player to catch a few eyes. Redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Burrow came on in the fourth quarter and led the Buckeyes on a long touchdown drive. That pleased his position coach, Tim Beck.

"I thought that was a really impressive drive, we went 96 yards, and Joe Burrow was six of six and ran one in," said Beck.

"I was really pleased with Joe and the way he played. In his backup role he’s done a good job. There doesn’t seem to be any discombobulation, there’s no issues with timings and motions and awful throws. He’s done a very good job." 

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