Another week, another record-breaking performance by Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and the Buckeye offense.
Ohio State tied a school record in its 56-14 win by hitting 50 points for the fourth game in a row, and set a new OSU mark by topping 500 yards in total offense for the fifth consecutive game. It was the most points Nebraska has ever allowed at Memorial Stadium in a conference game. However, those numbers only hint at how dominating the Buckeye attack was.
OSU scored touchdowns on each of its first eight possessions and never punted. They averaged 5.9 yards per rush and 9.1 yards per pass attempt. It was as thorough a beatdown as the Buckeyes have dished out all season, and came against a Nebraska defense that came into the game well-regarded by a lot of advanced metrics.
Even the man who usually serves as his team’s harshest critic had nothing but praise after the game.
“I’m very proud of those guys,” said OSU head coach Urban Meyer. “J.T. (Barrett) played exceptional, but when you have protection and guys are making plays for him, that’s a very good performance on offense.”
That performance started from the Buckeyes’ first snap. They took control of the ball at their own 4 and methodically moved it near midfield, converting a couple third downs in the process.
From there, freshman RB J.K. Dobbins took a handoff, raced through a gaping hole and outran the Husker defense down the sideline for a 52-yard touchdown.
Barrett said that drive was the key to the whole game.
“It settled us down a little bit, settled the crowd down a little bit because it was definitely rocking at the beginning of the game,” said Barrett. “Offensive line did a great job.”
In addition to the solid play from the line, the Buckeye receiving corps also continued its string of breakout performances. Eleven different OSU players caught a pass, led by K.J. Hill’s seven grabs for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
“I just feel like there’s a very good chemistry on offense,” said Meyer. “Receivers and quarterbacks are playing at a very high level, very efficient. J.T.’s efficiency tonight was elite. And guys are making plays for him and they’re protecting him.”
The Buckeyes were able to use a fast tempo to keep the Nebraska defense on its heels all night long.
“I think that’s something you’re always trying to push, trying to catch the defense off guard,” said Barrett. “I think we go them a couple times with that and I think we just have to keep pressing the issue when it comes to that so we have an advantage playing fast.”
In addition to tempo, the Buckeyes were also able to capitalize on what the Husker defense was – and wasn’t – willing to give them.
“They challenged us early in the game. They were determined to stop the run,” said Meyer. “There were times there were nine guys up at the line of scrimmage, which is not the style of defense they have played in the past. So they were going to stop the run and force us to be a throwing team and (Barrett) had one of his better days he’s had as a Buckeye.”
By giving so many of his teammates a chance to make plays with the ball in their hands, Barrett ended up preventing another Buckeye from leaving his mark on the game.
“I did talk to (OSU freshman punter) Drue (Chrisman) toward the end of the game and he was like, ‘it’s cold out here on the sideline, huh?’ And I said, ‘yeah, you’re right.’ And he was like, ‘yeah, I didn’t punt tonight.’ I almost wanted to say ‘I apologize.’ But I didn’t,” Barrett said.