The-Ozone Staff Picks: Nebraska at Ohio State

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It may feel like a lifetime ago, but the last time the Buckeyes took the field, they lost 49-20 to Purdue.

Some people called it an upset, but it sure didn’t look like it while we were watching it live.

Up next for Ohio State is a team that can do many of the same things that Purdue did, but they also have a quarterback who has rushed for 100 yards in a game twice this season.

Defensively, Nebraska has given up a ton of big plays, but they have gotten better over the last few weeks. The first part of that description also fits Ohio State. The second part? We’ll find out on Saturday because the Huskers have some playmakers on offense.

Could the Buckeyes be headed for a second-straight loss?

Last week, we had two people pick the Boilersmakers. Chip Minnich had it 49-42 for Purdue and Michael Citro had it 45-42. Interestingly, however, the closest score was Mike Meihls, who had it 52-20. Never mind that he had Ohio State winning. I’m not sure we’ve ever said you have to get the teams correct, just the score.

So is anybody taking the Huskers this week? Let’s find out.

Tom Orr

There is very little that would surprise me on Saturday. OSU could come out focused by the Purdue loss and put together three hours of merciless rage like they did last year against Michigan State.

Or they could struggle out of the gate, allow Nebraska to build confidence, and suffer another ludicrous defeat.

But the most likely scenario is something close to the status quo. The Buckeyes will throw it a bunch, but won’t be able to run it much. Their defense will continue to give up more yards and points than anyone in Columbus is used to.

But they’ll be wearing those spiffy black uniforms while doing it.

Know the old saying “Look good, feel good, play good?”

Look like Texas Tech, feel like Texas Tech, play like Texas Tech.

Ohio State 38, Nebraska 31

Michael Citro

This is the week we get to see if getting curb stomped by an average Purdue team woke Urban Meyer the hell up. It’s easy to be smug and arrogant despite visible flaws when your team is undefeated, but when the Boilermakers dunk on you, you can’t just laugh off 93-yard touchdowns allowed and rushing yardage that Rutgers laughs at.

Did anything get fixed? We will find out in a hurry, because if it didn’t, Nebraska’s offense will run amok. My hunch is that some things got partially fixed during the bye week, but the Buckeyes put forth a response.

Ohio State 42, Nebraska 30

Brandon Zimmerman

For two weeks, we’ve heard nothing but what is wrong with Ohio State. We’ve all come up with our own solutions to magically fix it all. Some of those involved personnel moves and others were just simple scheme fixes. None of that matters though, because on Saturday we get to see what Ohio State did to fix their problems (if they were even convinced they had any outside of missing tackles).

While the offense has their problems, my biggest concern going into this game is solely on the defensive side of the ball. Those are where the most issues are and Nebraska has the playmakers on the offensive side of the ball to hurt them. I’m watching for personnel changes at all three levels, LBs being put in position to utilize their speed/athleticism and not being forced to be defensive linemen, and finally a renewed sence of urgency with tackling. If I see all three of these things, I will be a little more confident how the rest of the year plays out. If I don’t, I’m convinced it could be a long rest of the year for the Buckeyes.

As far as the outcome, regardless of if these things happen or not, the Buckeyes will beat Nebraska. They are not a good team and their defense makes the Buckeyes look at Alabamaian.

OSU 48, Nebraska 20

Caroline Rice

The Buckeyes are coming off of an embarrassing loss and they have had two weeks now to dwell on their mistakes and then focus on fixing them. I think they are anxious to get back on the field and get a big win to show what they are capable of doing.

While Nebraska has a good offense going right now, I honestly don’t think that matters that much. In this game, I think all of the focus is on Ohio State.

There was a lot of talk this week that they figured out how to stop big plays, how to run the ball, and how to score when inside the red zone. I think we will see those improvements on Saturday.

If so, then I think this game should be an easy opportunity for Ohio State to get a big win and get some of their confidence back before a tough game next week.

Ohio State 42, Nebraska 17

Adam Borland

Like candy corn, a disgusting “treat” that should never find its way into any good candy discussion, the Cornhuskers of Nebraska are one of the bottom tier options in their respective categories. Unlike the bland, boring, awful candies, however, the Nebraska football team has recently shown a flashier side and appears to be on a bit of a resurgence.

Nebraska has won their last two games, after going winless in the previous six, by a combined total of 61 points. In those victories, their yards per play average soared as they posted two of their top three averages on the year. In addition, they cut down on penalties, only getting flagged a total of eleven times in the two outings.

The Buckeyes, on the other hand, have given up a ridiculous seven yards per play to their opponents in their last two contests. With Nebraska’s mobile and talented young QB, Adrian Martinez, I see OSU’s defense struggling again. However, a bye week for Urban Meyer is a cheat code that Scott Frost will not be able to crack. The Buckeyes will move the ball with ease on the Cornhusker defense and outpace them, despite giving up more points to a two-win team than any of us feel comfortable with.

Ohio State 48 – Nebraska 27

Chip Minnich

Nebraska is coming into Ohio Stadium, with momentum on their side after two consecutive wins and a general sense of confidence that they can pull off the upset over Ohio State. After all, Nebraska beat Minnesota (53-28) much more convincingly than the Buckeyes did (30-14). Nebraska has enough similarities offensively as Purdue, and the Boilermakers were in complete control over the Buckeyes in their win on October 20th. And we all are familiar with Ohio State’s struggles running the ball, scoring touchdowns while in the red zone, and the overall poor defensive performances that have been plaguing the Buckeyes this season.

In the words of Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes are feeling a sense of “urgency” as the calendar moves to November. While I am cautiously optimistic that the Buckeyes will have figured out some things offensively that will work against the Cornhuskers, I do not have the same sense of optimism as it relates to the defensive side of the ball. I am thinking it will be close until the fourth quarter, and that is where I am hoping the dormant Buckeye running game emerges from its slumber and helps Ohio State put this one away.

Ohio State 45, Nebraska 28

Mike Meihls

Part of me feels bad for fans of the Corn. Their team has gone downhill so fast since firing Bo Pelini. I do believe Scott Frost will get the Huskers back on track, but it takes time to rebuild after three terrible years.

The Husker offense has a lot of talent and playmakers. Adrian Martinez is a dangerous quarterback, he can run as well as he can throw. The Nebraska running backs are very good, and Stanley Morgan Jr. may be the best all-around wide receiver in the Big Ten. And don’t forget JD Spielman, who reminds me of Rondale Moore. Expect B1G Red to move the ball, even if Ohio State really did make big changes to the defense.

However, the Blackshirts this group is not. Nebraska’s linebackers are their best defensive unit, and I doubt they are an upgrade over the LB play OSU has fielded this season. No matter which attack Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson bring, the Huskers won’t stop it.

Look not at the score, but at the improvements to really rate this game for the Buckeyes. Nonetheless, good guys prevail Saturday.

Ohio State 42, Nebraska 21

Tony Gerdeman

I am done predicting blowouts until the Michigan game. I expect the Buckeyes to have a renewed focus on the running game, but since they’ll have the same quarterback handing it off in the same offense and the same offensive line blocking, I don’t suddenly see 300 yards on the ground happening.

With Nebraska’s man coverage defense, however, I do see some big plays happening in the secondary. The deep game has been lacking lately, but I think it returns this week. I do expect a better running game, but still below average for an Ohio State offense. Defensively, the Buckeyes better score on offense.

Nebraska’s offense has all of the tools to make life difficult for the Ohio State defense. If the front four can win more snaps than they lose, however, they can go a long way towards protecting the back end before the ball ever gets there.

Ohio State 38, Nebraska 27

16 Responses

  1. Who knows? I’m ready to enjoy the game and go into the first quarter with a fresh attitude. At least for series or two. No, really I’m glad to go into an honest game without the assumption of a walkover. It shouldn’t be a contest but OSU has been running on 5 cylinders and throwing sparks so with a surging Nebraska it could be a fun game. I’m going with:
    Ohio State 34
    Nebraska 30

    1. Nice call! You edged out Tom for closest spread. I came in 3rd. Still plenty to fix but at least the patient has a pulse now.

  2. 35-34 – not sure who wins. You guys are some effing wind bags.

  3. Like I say……..couldn’t care less about what the coaches say. Especially coaches who wouldn’t know a football if it landed in their lap. BUT, I like the demeanor of the guys taking the field and think they’ll execute a great game in SPITE of the coaches.

    Ohio State 56
    Nebraska 21

  4. This team could win 50-0 or lose 60-13. I’ve never seen such an unpredictable team regarding showing up to play. The game plan is very predictable tho.

  5. In another article on this site about the Buckeyes basketball exhibition game, Coach Holtman lamented the 21 turnovers his team committed and said that he would not give extended playing time to players who continue to commit turnovers. Maybe a statement like that from Coach Meyer about players who miss tackles or continue to commit penalties would motivate this Buckeye football team. Now, the same players seem to start every week no matter how they play.

  6. “smug and arrogant”…ouch. Someone has an axe to grind

    1. Someone may, but not this someone. What I meant by that is that when you question the obvious flaws you get a “we’ll look into that” during press conferences. Or a “noted” when media members point out simple things that can be very easily fixed (like practicing going under center for QB sneaks for 10 minutes every now and again).

      It’s a verbal equivalent of a pat on the head, as if to say “oh, you guys just don’t understand that we’re a shotgun team and no amount of saying we could also be something else if we, you know, tried, is going to make it so!” Every suggestion or question the media brings up that other teams seem to competently do (like Purdue taking snaps under center to pick up short fourth downs when they are also a shotgun team) gets kind of a flippant response.

      Jeff Brohm: “Yeah, we noticed their linebackers play close to the line and we felt like we could exploit that space.”
      Media: “Urban, it seems like the linebackers are up close to the line of scrimmage and it’s leaving big holes in front of the safeties.”
      Urban: “We’ll look into that.”

      Look, I think Meyer is a great coach. He’s one of the all-time greats, in fact, and I don’t think he’s done winning lots of games. But if you think he doesn’t have a stubborn, arrogant side (which is partly what has made him as successful as he is and it’s often a trait among top coaches), then you’re just not paying attention. When he got clobbered by Clemson, he finally made changes and it helped. When he got clobbered by Iowa, he finally made changes and it helped. Now he’s been clobbered by Purdue. Let’s see if he responds the way he has in the past. But let’s also ask why this is becoming a regular thing.

      1. Absolutely agree with that Michael. There’s 2 sides of their comments. On one side, yeah, they’re coaches and they are paid a bushel basket full of money, FOR A REASON,. Help educate the young guys coming through the program……..Takes steps to prepare them for life OFF the football field…..To win games. They’re “mostly” all good coaches and Urban is a GREAT X’s and O’s tactician. If Urban has a flaw in coaching, and it’s just my opinion that brings it to the other side of that coin. Sometimes a coach with everything invested in the program and the guys taking the field & the staff……………HE GETS TOO CLOSE and fails to see the flaws. He’s as loyal to an idea on what and who to play. He has spend a ton of time evaluating his talent so that they mold to his decade old philosophy. I’m not so certain that he puts all that much attention into who he hires for his staff though, and that’s the first stage of tunnel vision, believing that he can orchestrate his philosophy regardless because he’s hand selected every recruit he brings in, but………the details that make his ideals work is lost on the who he hired. He’s pretty open that he doesn’t micromanage.

        I took a ton of crap for calling him CEO but, HE called himself that and THAT was a problem. John Cooper developed that state of mind and it ended up costing him huge. Too comfortable in the position he rose to. Urban for whatever reason thought he had the program on auto pilot. The TALENT he brought in is simply better than some of the staff he’s had, and they aren’t getting the detailed education for their respective positions and in game adjustments. The shock of the whole Zach Smith garbage was a telling sign of his struggle with loyalty to staff over the players. NOW it kinda looks like he’s trying to get his coaching hat back on and his discovering that the lack of BEING the head ball coach is being exposed. His philosophy hasn’t been taught the way it functions best position by position. The guys no longer “hear his voice.” Of course they knows he’s the Head Coach, but the language he’s talking, now that his eyes are better focused again on FOOTBALL as opposed to management, the players don’t understand. The guys KNOW what he wants, but they haven’t been taught the base fundamentals, or the detailed adjustments in real time how to correct and adjust. I think that has a lot to do with his demeanor almost reaching crisis mode on the sidelines during games.

        There’s just no way he can honestly look at the game film and think his offensive line has received a football education that serves his philosophy, or, that the linebackers are being taught worth a piddly pop.

        Look what happened when he was literally forced to fire Smith. Brian Hartline didn’t need to understand philosophy, he just needed to TEACH the trade. Having played it at every level. he knows how to adjust the fundamental route tree to best anticipate and exploit defenses in real time. Day I think is a good prostyle position coach, and, he and Hartline mesh perfectly. Dwayne has Day and the receivers have Hartline and it’s fluid………BUT now that Urban is back, and he MUST be frustrated that his other position coaches don’t have a clue how to adjust THEIR technique. Prior to Purdue the media was rightly asking Urban actual tough questions, but he for whatever reason sided with supposedly good position coaches. Reading the articles after the Purdue debacle, while the staff didn’t come out and call players out, they did in fact put the blame ON the talent rather than where it belonged. Urban HATES admitting his philosophy in the hands of terrible positions coaches without him paying attention to fine details, is a trainwreck. Last year I thought he would learn to be more critical watching the nuances, but, if he was, the whole Smith crisis knocked him off course. He went from a CEO, to a fallen CEO, and then had to put the coaches hat back on and hasn’t been aware of just how awful his team was being under taught and mismanaged.

        WHY did it work when JT (RPO) went down and Cardale (ProStyle) had to come in. More than Herman, it was Ed Warinners teaching skills for the heart of the offense along the offensive line. Greg Studrawa is a one trick pony. If it’s not RPO blocking scheme, forget about it. The guys just isn’t a talented position coach. On the other side, Schiano became the unrestrained Caesar and has completely altered the base defense. That base defense isn’t how the recruits were first vetted. They were vetted based on LUKE’S base fundamentals and nuance education. Davis has been horribly exploited as a guy who doesn’t have the slightest clue how to develop young guys. Like the OLine on offense, when IT’S off the offense struggles because they are the anchor point off everything any offense does. The linebackers are the anchor point for the defense. Both sides of the ball might win on sheer talent, but when matched against programs with decent talent and good coaches they find themselves in deep water. Try as they might to make real time adjustments, the adjustments because of piss poor coaching is a lesson in futility.

        Urban is a great coach. The sooner he realizes that he has on his staff some seriously blown spark plugs trying to teach players who were recruited based on HIS criteria, the sooner the program can move into the next level. STOP settling on staff members because of personal affiliation and bring in the best of the best that can be found. THAT is where Alabama and Saban are a cut above Urban and Ohio State at this point.

        Urbans loyalty is being USED by no talent, incompetent position coaches who simply haven’t been loyal to him.

      2. Noted. The axe of truth has needed sharpening around here. “Flippant” expressed Urban’s dissing of the peanut gallery quite well. Great job, Michael (and Chip) calling the Purdue upset. It took tremendous courage to submit that un-pc prediction. I’m thankful there are a few who can see things for what they are and aren’t afraid to break from the herd. Keep up the good work and anybody who questions your fanhood can find plenty of other Kool-Aid guzzlers to hang with at the fanboy club.

  7. Everyone here is smoking crack!! 2 weeks is not sufficient time to fix the dysfunction of this team. I do believe we will see a “Slightly” better run game and I use the term slightly very loosely.

    It will be the same old, same old for the defense, big plays, poor tackling, out of alignment, bad angles and the list goes on and on…..

    This group of players lack football smarts, lack heart, lack fundamentals and generally are “ME” players that have no concept of how to play as a team. Frankly I’ve never seen an OSU team with this many DUMB players that lack football smarts (not talking overall intelligence). They cant diagnose a play to save their lives and seem to be fooled over and over and over again by the same exact plays…..

    Most of this is not correctable especially in 2 weeks.

    OSU loses 28 to 10

    1. I think they were smoking some of that new synthetic crack before the Purdue game. It’s said to be 10 times as potent as the usual scarlet and gray product that Walt White introduced to Columbus in the mid 2000s. It comes in through the New Jersey connection. The new stuff is very dangerous. I heard one kid raving about wanting to take on Alabama or Clemson. His poor parents

  8. OSU by 28 points easily. I think you’re underestimating this team and how they are going to come out and play.

  9. Defense plays terrible, but also scores.
    Buckeyes 35
    ‘Huskers 28

  10. I think Tom and Tony got it right. The most I see OSU scoring is 38 points. And the defense is bound to give up around 4 TDs. This game will go the distance.

    1. I think the Buckeyes will abuse what IS an even worse defense than their own. They “looked” improved based on beating a couple of already beaten garbage cans. Dwayne will pass all over the so called black shirts and there’s just not a damned thing Nebraska can do about it. At least the receivers and Dwayne can pad the stat sheet and the scoreboard in this one. The Buckeyes SHOULD be at least 40 – 50 points better, but they won’t win by that. They’ll only win by 35. 56 – 21 good guys because of their own poor defense.

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