In the game many Ohio State fans — including this one — anticipated as being one of the biggest challenges for the Buckeyes in 2019, Ohio State travels to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. At 3-1, the Cornhuskers believe that this is the type of game that will help put their program back into the national conversation.
These are the three things I will be keeping an eye on when this game gets underway Saturday night in Memorial Stadium on ABC at 7:30pm EST.
1. Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez vs. Ohio State’s linebackers
Martinez is the best dual-threat quarterback Ohio State has seen in 2019, and probably will see for the remainder of this season. Last week at Illinois, Martinez led the Nebraska 42-38 comeback win with 118 yards on the ground, as well as 327 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air. While Ohio State’s defense has been markedly improved from last season, how the Buckeyes choose to defend Martinez is going to be crucial. Will Ohio State spy on Martinez with Malik Harrison or Baron Browning, two of the faster linebackers on the roster?
Adrian Martinez has been putting up ? numbers this season.
» 321.5 Yards Per Game | No. 1 in B1G
» 1,052 Passing Yards | No. 1 in B1G
» 58.5 Rush Yds Per Game | No. 9 in B1G
— Husker Nation (@HuskerGraphics) September 27, 2019
2. Nebraska WR/KR/PR JD Spielman vs. Ohio State’s special teams
I have only one request of Ohio State special teams coach Matt Barnes, and that is do not punt the ball to JD Spielman. Under no circumstances. Drue Chrisman can punt the ball out of bounds, or possibly bring rain with punts that seem like that they will never fall from the sky, but here is a concern I have whenever Spielman is in the open field after a kickoff or punt return.
— Dustin Schutte (@SchutteCFB) August 31, 2019
3. Nebraska’s defensive line vs. Ohio State’s offensive line
Nebraska’s defense is improving, but still a work in progress. Nebraska is giving up about 117 yards per game on the ground, while Ohio State is rushing for 260 yards per game. If Ohio State can establish a strong running game with J.K. Dobbins, Master Teague III, and Justin Fields, this is where I believe the Buckeyes will be able to begin to pull away midway through the third quarter.