Nebraska Preview

The Essentials
What: Ohio State vs. Nebraska
Where: Memorial Stadium
When: 8:00 PM, Oct. 8th, 2011
The Line: Nebraska -11
Television: ABC
Weather: Mid-60s to low-70s, possible showers

Finally, the time has arrived.  After all of the off-season tumult and subsequent suspensions, the Nebraska game is here and we can now welcome back QB phenom Terrelle Pryor, dynamic RB Daniel “Boom” Herron, speedy and sure-handed WR DeVier Posey, and impenetrable LT Mike Adams to reclaim the reins from their his surprisingly effective replacements and continue the march to a perfect  completed season and, if everything falls right, the national championship Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Well, crap.

In the aftermath of last week’s offensive “performance” that failed to budge the scoreboard until there were just 10 seconds left in the game, you may be thinking that there is no hope for Ohio State this weekend, playing on the road against a 4-1 opponent that in recent years has competed for titles in their old conference.  You may be worried that our inexperienced roster will be intimidated by a large and hostile crowd enjoying their first Big Ten home game (on homecoming weekend, no less).  You may be considering tuning into A&E’s Storage Wars marathon or The Last of the Mohicans on CMT (Wait, what does the “CM” stand for again?)

And you may be right, but I actually think the Buckeyes can pull this one off.  No, the skill position game-changers we were all waiting for aren’t riding in to the rescue, but Ohio State gets something back this week that it’s had in every win so far: a poor defense to play against.

And before you Husker fans go corns**t in the comments section, let’s do a little comparison, shall we?

When Ohio State Has The Ball

Expect average (150+ yards) numbers running the ball and slightly above average (170+) in the passing game, although Adams’ impact could improve those numbers (it’s doubtful that his return could hurt production, even if he literally falls asleep for a quarter or two).  The Nebraska defense gives up far more yards through the air than Ohio State typically gains, but someone is going to have to take advantage of that.  If that person exists–and if Jim Bollman can correctly identify him–then it could be a very successful night for the offense.

The Buckeyes average 23.8 points per game (I know; seems high to me too) while the Huskers give up 27.2.  That puts Nebraska right with Toledo (27 papg) statistically among Ohio State’s previous opponents.  This already bodes well for OSU since we actually managed to hit that number against the Rockets despite some pretty poor offensive play and playcalling.  I don’t expect either of those things to change drastically this week, although Adams’ return should help with production and maybe even get us into some manageable 3rd downs (imagine!).  The two teams Ohio State lost to also happen to give up 20 points or fewer on average.  The other three are well over that mark, and the Buckeyes have performed accordingly against those teams.  Despite Nebraska’s defensive tradition and reputation, they have landed themselves in the second group so far this year.  Expect Ohio State to score in the mid-to-high 20s.

When Nebraska Has The Ball

The Huskers tend to be very productive on the ground, something that could lead to trouble for Ohio State.  So far, Nebraska has run for nearly twice what their opponents usually give up.  Fortunately for the stout Buckeye D, this would still come out to under 200 rushing yards.  I don’t think they’ll get that much, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see 160-170.

On the other hand, the Huskers tend to underproduce through the air, a major advantage if Ohio State can stop the run effectively.  Look for 120-140 yards passing for Nebraska.

Nebraska has played just one team with a solid defense this year and that didn’t turn out so well for them.  The good news for the Huskers is that their 17 points was more than what Wisconsin typically allows (10.2)  and they score more than any offense the Buckeyes have played so far.  The bad news is that the Ohio State defense is almost as stingy (14.6) as the Badgers and no one has matched their average production against the Silver Bullets yet, averaging just over half of their ppg when they play Ohio State.  Look for Nebraska to score in the 17-21 range.

Ultimately, a lot hinges on Adams’ ability to help the offense improve and the coaching staff’s ability to learn from last week’s disaster of game management and playcalling.  If Nebraska finds success blitzing like Michigan State did, it’s probably all over.  (Walrusball has no use for in-game adjustments, except to Bollman’s belt after his halftime snack.)  Still, the opportunities will be there for the offense if they can execute, and the defense will be lights out again.

My final score prediction:  Buckeyes 27, Huskers 20.  Yours?

Comments

  1. So you think Ohio State that essentially scored nothing on Michigan State at home will put up 27 points against Nebraska… Do I think Nebraska D is better than MSU? No, but do I think we can capitalize? No. We lose by 20.

    • Yes, that is what I think. And I didn’t think that before I started researching for this preview, which was originally just going to be a picture of a mushroom cloud. Nebraska can be had, and Ohio State has done it’s fair share of having against similar defenses this year.

  2. I respect Nebraska but I dont fear them. This team is not back yet. Their defense doesnt deserve the Blackshirts yet. We have seen their offense each of the last 3 years against scUM. The game will be tough in Lincoln. That said this is a very winnable game.

    OSU- 19
    Neb- 11

  3. If the offensive unit (including coaches) that played last Saturday shows up again tomorrow night, this game is going to set B1G football back ten years and will be painful to watch.
    Final Score: OSU 6 Nebraska 5

    If a decent offensive gameplan replaces the crayon scribbles on a Macaroni Grill table cloth tomorrow night, I think we can score a few points on Nebraska.
    Final Score: OSU 17 Nebraska 14

  4. Nebraska is UM from past few yrs with a slightly better defense. Seriously – they’re offense is exactly UM’s offense. Which bodes well because OSU has had zero problems with that type of offense.

    I’m certain that Haecock will keep Nebraska to a winnable number of points. I’m also certain that Bollman is still involved with the program. So I’m going with an el Kaiser-like approach:

    What should it be, considering on-paper comparisons and talent matchup: OSU 35, Neb 17.

    What will it be if Bollman hasn’t readied the QBs with blitz package preparation: Nebraska 17, OSU 13 .

  5. TedSheckler says

    35-17?/ lol NEb has the same offense as UM?? lol yeah you can handle the UM offense when your paying players but as you have seen this year,its not so easy to win when your not cheating.

  6. Is Bollman still still running the offense?

    Yes

    Is the team once again dealing with off the field BS?

    Yes

    Is the team still starting a true freshman at QB who is getting poorly coached?

    Yes

    Nebraska: 34
    OSU: 13

  7. 35-6

    C’mon, the offense is terrible and definitely won’t be much better this week, and the defense will likely be on the field all game again. The Nebraska coaches are probably up all night wondering if it could really be this easy.

  8. @Kade – all of those things (except for Miller starting) were true in the 3 games we’ve won too. So why didn’t we lose to Akron, Toledo, and Colorado? And how is Nebraska significantly different from those teams?

  9. Nebraska is ranked 14th in the country and will be playing at home with a 4-1 record.

    Akron is one of the worst teams in the country with a 1-4

    Toledo is a decent MAC team with a 2-3 record.

    Colorado is a bad PAC 10 team with a 1-4 record.

    3 of these things is unlike the 1.

  10. Ohio State was ranked that high once too. Why isn’t the Wisconsin game a harbinger of terrible offensive play to come from Nebraska?

  11. Do you really not see the difference between Nebraska and Akron?

  12. Do you really not see the difference between 27-20 and 42-0?

  13. I guess I don’t…

    Care to elaborate?

  14. I did elaborate. It’s called “Nebraska Preview.” You’re commenting on it.

  15. That SIO having a chance against Nebraska? – HA, HA, HA, HA! Maybe if you lined up against Rockbridge or Sugar Grove.

  16. Jason….you predicted 27-20 victory for OSU….not sure where the 42-0 comes into play or why you are asking me what the difference is…

    And I’m not sure what that has to do with you comparing bad Akron, Toledo and Colorado teams to Nebraska…

  17. sportsMonkey says

    In Jason’s defense, I believe the “27-20 vs 42-0” statement referred to his acknowledgement that Nebraska is obviously better than Akron (in response to Kade asking him if he saw the difference). In other words, yes he sees the difference which is why he’s saying 27 instead of 42.

    However, browsing cfbstats.com shows that Neb’s D is worse than Akron’s and Colorado’s, and on par with Toledo, teams that even the anemic OSU offense was able to drive against.

    However however, I can’t get past the rebounding-from-a-tough-loss thing that Nebraska might benefit from, plus it’s at night, at Lincoln, on their homecoming. I’m hopeful but realistic. Honestly, I think I’d be fairly satisfied if they played a solid game, win or lose at this point. If Nebraska’s better, so be it; I just hope the Bucks don’t continue to embarrass themselves.

  18. SM – Thanks for beating me to it, my thumbs are numb.

    Ohio State is also rebounding from a tough loss & I’m not sure that a Nebraska crowd is necessarily more hostile than an OSU crowd at this point.

    I’m surprised that no one seems to be giving our defense any credit. They’ve played remarkably well, regardless of how long they’re on the field. Nebraska may win, but they’re not scoring 30 unless they get D or ST points.

    To me it seems that there is a pretty well-defined type of team that OSU can beat (at this point) & it revolves around the opponent’s defense. Nebraska is a team we CAN beat, and I am never going to pick us to lose against teams I think we can beat.

  19. Jason, the only mitigating factor in any analysis of Brasky’s D is that the rankings include a game against Wisco, which may artificially deflate their ranking. Conversely; the Toledos, Colorados, and Akrons et al haven’t played against anyone with an offense (including OSU), which may _inflate_ their ranking.

    I think at this point Imay be overanalyzing a tad though. 🙂

  20. Wait, there’s an OVERanalyze? Nebraska also has a game against Chattanooga, so there’s that.

    Also, the other side of the Wisconsin game is that Nebraska scored far under their average, which is something opponents have done against us all year too. So I don’t really understand where the blowout predictions are coming from, aside from the obvious frustration that we all share.

    Our defense is going to keep us in pretty much every game this year. We will have a chance to win against the teams that are weak on D. Nebraska is one of those teams.

  21. Yeah….I’d take Akron and Colorado’s defense over Nebraska’s too…

Trackbacks

  1. […] 11:35 remaining in the game and a 27-20 lead, Jim Bollman called a drive in which Bauserman (who was 1-5 for 13 yards at that point) threw […]

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