Despite supposedly being in a rebuilding year, the Ohio State football team remains undefeated through their first five games and appears to be among the best teams in the nation. The most recent win came against ranked conference opponent Michigan State.
Now, the Buckeyes turn their attention to another ranked conference rival: Nebraska. If the Buckeyes are to take out the Cornhuskers, they will need to come out and execute. As is the case with every major game, there are certain keys to the game the team must pay attention to in order to hope to come away with the victory.
As long as Braxton Miller is on the Ohio State roster, he will be a key to every game. The sophomore quarterback leads the team in both passing and rushing yards and is simply irreplaceable in the offense.
He has completed 62.8 percent of his passes so far, has thrown eight touchdowns and run for seven, all while throwing only three picks. Miller is among the most dynamic players in college football, and Ohio State needs to get him started to hope for a win.
Specifically, Miller needs to get enough time and space from his offensive line in order to do what he does best: make the smart decision and use his feet to threaten.
Who will win this showdown?
Against Michigan State, the Ohio State defense was unable to recover any fumbles. Considering they were facing Le'Veon Bell, that's not so bad. However, when it is combined with a lack of interceptions off of the inexperienced Andrew Maxwell, it becomes a concern.
Taylor Martinez has only thrown one interception this season, but the Buckeye defense simply needs to get to him. The lack of turnovers against Michigan State put the offense in difficulty.
Big plays change games.
This is an immovable key, and the defense needs to step up. Miller can't do it alone.
Stop Rex Burkhead
Rex Burkhead is back, and that should scare Urban Meyer. Taylor Martinez is already a quarterback capable of making plays with his feet, so stopping the running game will be key to keeping the ball in Miller's hands.
Burkhead is strong and fast. His 18 carries last week confirm that he is completely back from injury, so he will get much attention from the Buckeye defense. Stopping Burkhead on first contact is crucial as he can power through and create space very quickly.