Ohio State and Nebraska wanted football this fall, so Ohio State and Nebraska are getting football.
The first game of the year in the Big Ten Conference will be between the teams that fought for it most. For that, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said he will root for Ohio State in every game except this one. He said he is “grateful” to Ohio State for helping to bring back football.
“I gotta give most of the credit for this to Ohio State,” Frost said on Monday. “We might have been one of the sounding gongs in this, we’re saying we want to play, but I don’t think it would have got done without their doctor taking the lead, figuring out a way to present it to the presidents to get football back.”
Frost may be grateful, but he’s also 0-2 against Ohio State. He will try to break that losing streak in Columbus on Saturday. But overcoming a 26-point spread is easier said than done.
Ohio State vs. Nebraska Preview
Most Ohio State fans will remember last year’s matchup. The game was billed as Ohio State’s first true test of the year. The Buckeyes blew out Florida Atlantic, Cincinnati, Indiana, and Miami University. Did the Buckeyes look good because the competition was so inferior?
Nebraska was 3-1 coming into the game. This would be Ohio State’s first competitive game.
Then, as Frost admitted, ” I think we did a really good job of keeping the game close, last year … for about five minutes.”
Just as Frost recalls, Justin Fields scored the games’ first touchdown with 10:35 left in the first quarter. Those were the first of Ohio State’s 48 unanswered points in that game. The final score was 48-7.
The good news for Nebraska this year is that Ohio State will be without some of their NFL talent.
J.K. Dobbins ran for 177 yards in last years’ game, but won’t be there this year. Jeffrey Okudah had two interceptions, but is in the NFL now. Chase Young and Malik Harrison both had a sack, but won’t contribute this year. Austin Mack and K.J. Hill were the leading receivers for the Buckeyes in last years’ game, but are pros now.
The bad news for Nebraska is that they are losing players too. They are not losing them to the NFL, though, but to the transfer portal.
The difference is, Ohio State can reload. Master Teague and Garrett Wilson played well against Nebraska last year and are returning. Joining them is a loaded freshman class and transfer running back Trey Sermon. The Buckeyes lost three out of four members of their secondary, but are returning Shaun Wade. Sevyn Banks, Cameron Brown, and Marcus Hooker are among the next batch of elite Buckeye defensive backs.
Nebraska is in their third year of the Frost rebuild. Ohio State is reloading. It’s hard to see this game being close.
Nebraska will probably try to do two things to keep up with Ohio State.
One of the few efficient things Nebraska does against Ohio State is run quarterback Adrian Martinez. The Cornhuskers should take advantage of that and come up with some classic Nebraska wishbone plays.
Secondly, Nebraska landed some great wide receivers in this years’ recruiting class. Frost should try to take advantage of Ohio State’s inexperience in the secondary and put the ball in the air. The pass went horribly for the Cornhuskers last year against the Buckeyes. But this year, Ohio State is down on elite pass rusher and two first-round draft picks at cornerback.
Even if they draw up a winning game plan, they will have to execute it perfectly if they want a chance. In all likelihood, this won’t be a close game.