Ohio State Note and Quotebook - Nebraska Edition
By Tony Gerdeman
Crowded House: It was an Ohio Stadium record crowd of 106,102 Saturday night, and everybody in attendance brought with them the necessary electricity to make this game against Nebraska a very memorable outing.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"It was crazy," said tight end Jeff Heuerman.
"It was definitely the most fun game I've had since I've been here. They said they broke the record for attendance, so just to be able to play in that game is an honor.
The great thing for the Buckeyes is that the crowd actually served a purpose. They made it difficult for the opposing offense to hear, and they fired up their own team in the process.
"It was crazy," said cornerback Bradley Roby, echoing the sentiment of Heuerman.
"The whole atmosphere was electric. The crowd was crazy."
"They were very loud," said defensive end John Simon.
"They get us very fired up. So any time that crowd makes some noise, we play a whole lot better. It was nice to see that tonight. They were really into the game and it showed on the scoreboard.
"It was packed," Roby said.
"I feel like when we play at night, we're unstoppable. It's just indescribable. There's just so much joy and happiness with a win like this. It's something that I'm never forgetting."
Dream Theater: You likely saw Bradley Roby's interception return Saturday night when it happened, but others actually saw it before it happened.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"I had a dream earlier this week that I was gonna have a pick six," Roby said.
"I was telling everybody that this was my game that I was gonna get a pick six. My dad texted me this morning and said, 'I had a dream you had a pick six', and I was like, 'I had the same dream.' It's just crazy how things work out like that."
Even before he dreamed about his interception, however, he saw the possibilities on film as he prepared during the week.
"Both of them were routes that I had seen on film," he explained of his two interceptions.
"They don't really throw that much, so I wanted to capitalize on my opportunities. So when I saw it, I just played the ball and made the plays."
The importance of the first interception was not lost on his teammates.
"We just had to stay calm, we gave up some big plays early and they were able to get on the board," Simon said.
"But we knew we just had to keep fighting. Roby was able to get a pick, and take it to the house. That was a big spark for the whole team. It's always that one guy starting a riot, and Roby was that guy tonight."
Nirvana: With nine minutes to play in the second quarter, Jeff Heuerman ran a drag route behind the offensive line that found him spill out into the flats with nobody around him. Braxton Miller hit him with a pass from 18 yards out and Heuerman walked into the endzone, scoring his first career touchdown.
"It was awesome," said Heuerman, who led the team with 53 yards receiving.
"It was my first touchdown as a Buckeye. I was ecstatic. It was almost like a dream when I first got in there. It took me a second to realize.
"When I first caught it, I turned around and there was no one there except for the endzone. It was just crazy. I saw the endzone and I was going straight for it."
Heuerman wasn't the only tight end to find himself running free, as Nick Vannett caught a 32-yard pass while open down the middle. According to Heuerman, this type of use of the tight ends has always been intended.
"It's always been in the plan," he said.
"Sometimes it works in your favor and sometimes it works in other guys' favor. Nick had a big catch also. It worked out great. We just practice hard every day and if the ball comes our way, make a play."
As for Heuerman, his first touchdown will be something that he remembers forever, especially given the game that it came in.
"I don't even have words for it," he explained.
"I was just happy to play in the game, to be a part of the team with 106,000 people out there. It was insane. The craziest game I've ever been a part of. I think this one will definitely go down in the record books."
Taylor Swift: Nebraska came into this game with the Big Ten's most efficient passer in Taylor Martinez. But the Buckeye defense couldn't just focus on stopping the pass, because Martinez is also capable of taking it to the house by himself on the ground. Ohio State bottled him up pretty well on Saturday night, and it was no easy task.
belts Taylor Martinez
Photo by Jim Davidson
"He's a playmaker, he really is," said Simon.
"It's extremely hard [to defend him]. Everyone can do their job to a “T”, and he's still going to make something happen. He was tough for us to stop. Fortunately we were able to hold them enough and our offense got a spark and went off. So that was a big win for us."
Despite the difficulty in containing him, Simon actually did a pretty good job, even notching a couple of blindside sacks and a forced fumble.
"That's why I tried to get him from the back where he couldn't see me," he laughed. 2567i/'
"He's a very elusive guy. You're probably not going to catch him if he sees you. We were able to get some good pressure on him today. That was everyone, team effort. Good coverage, great games up front and we were able to get into the backfield at times.
"He's obviously fast. He's a fast quarterback. We just wanted to contain him as much as possible, and I felt that we did a decent job of that."
Sunny Day Real Estate: Urban Meyer likes for his players to visualize certain things. One of those things is the struggle to get to the top of the mountain, and then the momentum that you build after you reach the summit and begin to descend down the other side.
Obviously, in this case, the mountain is Ohio State's schedule. The season is half over, and the Buckeyes have made it through perfectly, but have they reached the top of the mountain yet?
"It's just like Coach Meyer described it, it's like you're pushing a ball up a hill," Roby explained.
"You're pushing a ball up the hill, you're pushing a ball up the hill, at first you can't really see much. It's cloudy, you can't really see. But then you break through it, and you see the sun and you're like, 'We're almost there, keep pushing, keep pushing.'
"I feel like that was a component of tonight. We saw the sun and we just kept pushing, and now we're going downhill. There's nothing stopping us now."
Being banned from postseason play, however, means that other than the win-loss record, the Buckeyes really only have the AP Poll to let others know how good they are. For this reason, they are taking the rankings semi seriously this year.
"We're trying to go 12-0 and win every single game," Roby said.
"Trying to get that AP number one and win a national championship. That's our goal. We want to win every single game, but we're taking it one play at a time, one game at a time. We definitely want to go undefeated and hopefully that's going to be in our future."
Young MC: With a sophomore quarterback in charge of the Ohio State offense, it would be acceptable if at times somebody else needed to be called upon to bail the offense out of trouble.
However, when asked this year, Braxton Miller has always obliged. Despite his youth, he is producing like a veteran, and sometimes you just find yourself forgetting your surroundings and simply watching Miller do what he does.
"All the time," Heuerman said when asked if he ever finds himself just watching Miller.
"I think everyone does. He's a great athlete, makes great plays and is a great kid. We're lucky to have him."
What Heuerman saw on Saturday was a quarterback who rushed for a career-high 186 yards, and capped a crazy second quarter with a 31-yard touchdown run that gave the Buckeyes a double-digit lead.
"It was huge," Heuerman said of that touchdown.
"Getting the momentum shift on our side. That kid can make some plays, I'll tell you that much, so that's what he did. It definitely boosted us up and got us going."
That boost would lead to four more touchdowns in the second half, and ultimately a 25-point win over what some considered the Big Ten's best team.
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