Ohio State Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Nebraska Game
Who would've thought that a team that had a losing record last season would start this season off going 6-0? That's just what the Buckeyes did Saturday night after putting up 63 points against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The newest members of the B1G had the biggest comeback of the program's history against the Buckeyes in Lincoln, Nebraska, last season, so the Bucks were determined to get their revenge. They didn't disappoint whatsoever.
With Saturday night's win, the Bucks remain the only B1G team that got through the first six weeks of the 2012 season unblemished. That's impressive when you consider that the Bucks only outscored their opponents by 3.5 points per game and went just 6-7 last season.
Urban Meyer has undoubtedly revitalized the program. So, without further ado, here are 10 things we learned from Saturday's contest under the lights in "The Shoe."
10. This Offense Can Be Special
When everything you do on offense starts with an electrifying quarterback like Braxton Miller, things can be very exciting. When the offense is clicking on all cylinders, defenses beware.
The Bucks sure seemed to be clicking on all cylinders in Saturday nights game, as the Nebraska defense seemed to forget the “beware” part.
9. The Defensive Line Is Finally Playing Up to Its Potential
Led by senior defensive end John Simon, the defensive line is improving more and more as the season progresses.
Recording four sacks against a speedy quarterback like Taylor Martinez is no easy task. But that's just what the defensive line did in Saturday's matchup. It will be interesting to see how the line plays throughout the rest of its schedule.
8. Corey 'Philly' Brown Is a Game-Changer
There hasn't been a guy like Philly Brown at Ohio State since Ted Ginn Jr. suited up for Jim Tressel.
Not including punt and kickoff returns, Brown has touched the ball 41 times, racking up 401 yards on offense.
His speed and explosion set him apart from everyone on Ohio State's roster, as he demonstrated on a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown on Saturday. Talk about an exciting play waiting to happen!
We now know why Urban Meyer likes to get this kid the ball.
7. This Offensive Line Can Flat-Out Play
Even though the offensive line got off to a slow start Saturday, it picked things up by the second quarter, opening up running lanes for both Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes running backs.
The line's bullying of Nebraska's defensive line helped the Bucks average 7.7 yards per carry against the Cornhuskers, and it also does an excellent job of protecting young Miller.
6. Tackling Problems Remain an Issue on Defense
Must I elaborate on the title of this side? Not really, but I will anyway.
While Ohio State has some of the best players in the conference, the Buckeyes continue to blow assignments on the defensive side of the ball. It's highly unacceptable.
It's a good thing the offense was productive, because usually, when a defense allows a team to score 38 points in the B1G, it doesn't come away with a win.
5. Tight Ends Can Play a Significant Role in This Offense
While only one wide receiver (Philly Brown) was involved in Ohio State's passing game during Saturday night's action, the tight ends stepped up tremendously.
Jeff Heuerman hauled in two catches for 53 yards and a touchdown, while Nick Vannett had a nice third-down grab for a whopping 32 yards.
It's nice to see tight ends implemented in the pass game for once.
4. Sophomore Linebacker Ryan Shazier Is Unstoppable
In a recent article, I compared Ryan Shazier to former OSU great James Laurinaitis. During the Nebraska game, Shazier looked very Laurinaitis-like.
The Florida native had 11 tackles and a sack in the Buckeyes' win this Saturday, piling on more All-American numbers.
3. John Simon Is a Freak of Nature
While John Simon didn't do much through the first five games of the season, he showed why he is the team captain in Saturday night's matchup versus the Cornhuskers.
The senior out of Youngstown, Ohio, motored his way into the backfield to record two sacks, put pressure on Taylor Martinez and simply make his presence felt. The 6'2”, 260-pound monster had seven tackles on the night.
2. The Role of the Running Backs Is Becoming More and More Important
Though Braxton Miller is the focal point of the Ohio State offense, he isn't Superman. We've all cringed in fear of a potential injury when Miller has gone down at times this season. That's why it's important for the Buckeyes to get production out of their backs.
Not only does a productive backfield open up running lanes for Braxton Miller, but it also sets up a productive passing game—especially on play-action passes.
1. There's a New Swagger in Town
With Urban Meyer's aggressive approach toward things, there is a new swagger in Buckeye nation. After beating two of the best B1G teams in back-to-back weeks, the Ohio State football team is slowly separating itself as the best team in the conference.
Despite a postseason ban, many people are now predicting that the Buckeyes will go 12-0 on the year. And if they play like they did versus Nebraska, this is very much a possibility.
God bless and GO BUCKS!
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