Woody Hayes has to be turning over in his grave. Ohio State and Nebraska just put the finishing touches on a 63-38 defensive struggle Saturday evening. Big Ten schools normally would only rack up 500 yards of offense and score that many points in a single game when playing outside the conference against the “Little Sisters of the Poor.”
Times, they are a-changin’ in college football—even the staid Big Ten is embracing a more open-style offense. Spread offenses plus bigger and faster kids make for more exciting football and lots more scoring.
Woody always advised that only three things could happen when a quarterback dropped back to pass, and two of those were bad. Braxton Miller and Taylor Martinez proved Saturday that Woody may have missed a couple more favorable options.
Martinez and Miller both are exceptional runners. Those skills, in addition to their ability to chuck the football down the field, put a tremendous amount of pressure on opposing defenses to not only guard against the run but to also protect against the pass.
Martinez was 15-of-25 passing and accumulated 214 yards through the air. He did have one pass for a touchdown, but he also threw three interceptions. The Nebraska QB ran for another 40 yards and two touchdowns. The Cornhuskers totaled 437 yards of total offense against a relatively good Ohio State defense.
OSU’s Miller completed seven of 14 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown, plus he added another 14 carries for 119 yards on the ground. The Buckeyes racked up 498 yards of total offense against Big Ten opponent Nebraska.
The biggest statistic of the game was the four turnovers committed by the Nebraska offense. In comparison, OSU had only one fumble lost. A plus-three in the turnover ratio will win nearly every time.
Past Nebraska teams played hard-nosed defense under the likes of Tom Osborne. Current Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini played on some OSU teams back in the day that played stellar defense and ground opposing teams into the Horseshoe turf. His Nebraska defense did not have an answer for OSU and Heisman candidate Braxton Miller.
Last year, Nebraska rallied from 21 points down to beat the Buckeyes at Lincoln after Miller was forced to leave the game with an injury. It was the greatest comeback in school history.
Although the OSU QB took some hard shots during the game, he was always able to return and provide more dazzling runs that confused the Cornhuskers.
OSU improves to 6-0 (2-0 Big Ten). They already know that due to NCAA penalties their season will be over after the Michigan game in November. Crafting a perfect record and enjoying the holidays at home will be the only satisfaction awaiting this Buckeyes team.
First-year Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has a history of producing Heisman Trophy winners.
Will Braxton Miller continue his stellar play and be the seventh Buckeye to win the Heisman?