Nebraska Football: Comeback Win Proves They Can Hang in Big Ten
No. 14 Nebraska's 34-27 win over Ohio State was historic on two accounts.
First, it was the biggest comeback in school history. Secondly, the Cornhuskers won their first Big Ten contest ever.
Not only was the win historic, but it showed Nebraska could hang well in the Big Ten despite losing 48-17 to No. 4 Wisconsin.
As the Cornhuskers prepare for Minnesota, the team has four reasons to know why they should continue to be successful in conference play.
Nebraska's Offense Is Explosive
Being down 27-6 in the third quarter is not fun.
That's the position Nebraska's offense was in Saturday.
However, the Cornhuskers rallied back by scoring four touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez scrambled untouched for an 18-yard score. Later in the third, Martinez hit sophomore wide receiver Quincy Enunwa for a 36-yard strike to make it a one-possession game.
In the fourth, junior running back Rex Burkhead took over. He caught a career-long 30-yard pass in the end zone and later scored the winning tally on a 17-yard run. On both plays, he made Ohio State sophomore safety Christian Bryant miss.
The Cornhuskers offense did not panic and methodically overtook the Buckeyes defense.
With Martinez (293 total yards) and Burkhead (119 yards) pacing the unit, Nebraska will be a tough team to slow down.
Nebraska's Defense Can Make Big Plays
While it's true Nebraska's defense gave up 27 points in 31 minutes of football, it also prevented Ohio State from scoring the rest of the way.
In six possessions, Nebraska's defense gave up 57 net yards on 25 plays. The unit had two sacks, two turnovers and two three-and-outs.
Senior linebacker Lavonte David (13 tackles) started the comeback by forcing Ohio State freshman quarterback Braxton Miller to fumble at OSU's 23-yard line. The fumble set up a Nebraska score.
The next possession, Miller was injured on a sack. Senior quarterback Joe Bauserman came in and was extremely ineffective, including throwing a fourth-quarter pick to sophomore cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste in a tie game.
While it's true Nebraska allows 27 points and 372.6 yards a game, the Cornhuskers' second-half performance against Ohio State will give the unit confidence.
For his efforts, David won the Lott Trophy National Impact Player of the Week.
Nebraska Has a Good Coaching Staff
Nebraska can hang in the Big Ten because it has a solid coaching staff.
Head coach Bo Pelini has reinvigorated Nebraska after the program had four poor seasons under Bill Callahan (27-22). Pelini is 35-13 and 18-8 in conference play with two bowl victories (he won the 2003 Alamo Bowl as the interim coach).
While in the Big 12, Pelini led his squad to first in the North Division twice. His players made All-Conference First Team 16 times and All-Conference Second Team 18 times.
Defensive coordinator Carl Pelini developed Prince Amukamara and Ndamukong Suh, two players who won Conference Player of the Year.
Running backs coach Ron Brown coached Roy Helu Jr. for four years, helping the back gain 3,404 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. Helu was drafted by the Washington Redskins.
Nebraska also had 24 players drafted by the NFL during Pelini's tenure, including standouts like Amukamara (2011) and Suh (2010).
This season, Pelini stuck with Taylor Martinez as his starting quarterback even after the sophomore threw three interceptions against Wisconsin. The coach's instincts paid off as Martinez helped lead the Cornhuskers to a historic win.
After beating Ohio State, Pelini will have his team ready for Minnesota.
Nebraska Has Confidence
Nebraska will be riding high after its historic win.
Many thought the game was over when Nebraska trailed 27-6, but the players kept believing and manufactured a solid victory.
The win reaffirms that Taylor Martinez should be the starting quarterback. The defense had its best showing of the year in the second half and will look to take advantage of a struggling Minnesota offense.
Pelini coaches his team well and will lead the Cornhuskers to many more.