The Buckeyes Run Away from Nebraska

Down 17-7 with 11:59 left in the first half and the offense looking anemic, Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde decided to take the game over.The two did not take their foot off the gas until the clock hit 0:00. The Buckeyes offense exploded, finishing with 63 points, including a four touchdown effort by Hyde.

The defense came out flying the first couple of drives and the game had the look of a classic, B1G defensive battle. But that quickly changed. The silver bullets picked off Taylor Martinez three times, including two by Bradley Roby. Roby’s first of the game came on an interception returned for a touchdown, where he broke on a sloppy 10 yard out route on 3rd&10 to take an early 7-0 lead.

Miller made the big plays once again, rushing for 186 on only 16 carries and a touchdown. Hyde complimented him by rushing for 140 well earned yards on 28 carries. Although Miller’s passing statistics were not impressive (7-14, 1 touchdown,) it seemed as though he made a couple of big plays through the air to keep drives going. Miller only threw the ball three times in the entire second half, but they scored 28 points in doing so. Urban Meyer lined up Miller and Hyde in the shotgun and ran them right down Nebraska’s throat from the 2nd quarter on and the ‘Huskers had no answer for it.

With two of their toughest games behind them, the Buckeyes can take advantage of a down B1G conference and try to finish out a perfect season. Also, with the way Miller is playing, expect him to be a Heisman Trophy finalist and represent the Buckeyes in New York City.

Positives:

  • Although they let up 38 points, the defense made big plays to change the momentum of the game. They picked off Martinez three times and forced two fumbles, recovering one on John Simon’s strip sack.
  • Simon was a beast. He sacked Martinez twice and wreaked havoc in the backfield the entire night with 5 tackles for loss. For his efforts, he was named the Ronnie Lott IMPACT player of the week.
  • After five weeks of the special teams not making a huge, game changing play, Philly Brown changed that by going 76 yards to the house on a punt return. The touchdown gave the Buckeyes an 18 point lead late in the 3rd quarter and put the nail in Nebraska’s coffin.
  • Braxton Miller’s decision making is improving every week when it comes to the read option. It seemed in the beginning of the year that he predetermined whether to hand the ball off or run it himself. He is not Cam Newton yet, but expect his reads to get better each week, and that is a very scary thought.
  • Rod Smith had an amazing 33 yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter. He  showed a mix of power and speed, breaking four tackles en route to the end zone. It would be great to see Smith emerge as another option if Jordan Hall remains out for a long period of time.

What to Work on:

  • After Roby’s pick 6 that added more early momentum for the Buckeyes, they allowed a 7 play, 92 yard touchdown drive that took the crowd out of it for time being. Rex Burkhead somehow broke through the defense for a 73 yard gain, but the defense limited him to only 46 yards the rest of the way on 13 carries.
  • This offense makes you rip your hair out at times. For another game, they started off very slow, not getting a first down until Miller broke through for a 72 yard run a few minutes into the second quarter. Nebraska’s defense swarmed to the ball and did not give Miller anything until his long run. The offense looked unstoppable after Miller’s run, but it would be nice to see the offense run on all cylinders for all four quarters. The offensive line could not protect against the Cornhuskers run blitz scheme in the first quarter, but adjustments were made.
  • Loved the fake punt play call, just not where it happened on the field. The play would have gotten the Buckeyes the first down if a player on the back side held his block for another 2 seconds. With the call coming in their own end, you have to wonder if Meyer will run something similar later on in the year considering that he had confidence in his team to execute the play.
  • You have to wonder when defenses will successfully game plan against the Buckeyes one dimensional offense. Even a high powered offense like Oregon has been slowed down at times when playing against a fast defense. Meyer does not have to worry about that this year, but for the future, the passing game needs to get on point. They were able to get away with running the ball 48 times compared to only passing the ball 14 times against Nebraska but the offense needs to balance out at some point.

It’s hard to nitpick when the team scores 63 points against a Nebraska Cornhuskers defense. But it is still only week 6 and the Buckeyes have a lot to work on for the rest of the season. Also, Urban is not here to make friends, he is here to dominate each and every time his team takes the field. You have to love that about the guy.

What are some of your positives and negatives regarding last weekend’s big victory over the Cornhuskers?

Also, big thanks to jwinslow.com for the pictures.

Comments

  1. Good stuff Chris….

    I just want to comment on one thing.

    Last years team was the epitome of a one dimensional offense. This years is not. Sure we ran a lot during the Nebraska game because they couldn’t stop it. The passing game is coming along a lot better this year and is improving by the week. A few more play makers making plays and I would venture to say the passing game is close to elite status.

  2. Thanks for the comment,
    I know it’s still early and Braxton and his teammates are still learning Urban’s offense, but the difference between this year and last is that last year was just an example of a very POOR one dimensional offense. I do agree that Braxton is improving every week, but it seems when the offense lines up, you know what is coming its just that the opposing defenses are not good enough to stop it.
    I tried to use Oregon as an example, their O is basically the model of the spread offense and without a true pass/run threat at qb they have been suspect against good defenses (ex. OSU, Wisconsin, Auburn, LSU in the past.) They seem to shred the PAC12 defenses, but once they face a big, fast defense their scoring gets cut in half. I do believe that Braxton is better than what Daniel Thomas was or Jeremiah Masoli, but I don’t believe that he is at the level of the best read option QB’s of all time, Cam Newton or Vince Young. Both were not known for passing the ball, but they could both lead their team to victory throwing the ball. Braxton has not had to do that yet. It is Braxton’s first year in the offense and his weekly improvements, whether it be passing the ball or decision making that is most important right now without a bowl game this year.
    After a full season and another offseason under Miller’s belt in this offense, next year could be scary.

  3. Another aspect of the special teams I’d point out is bottling up their return game. Re-watching this game, they were defniitely angling the kick-off to a specific spot and actually had the entire coverage unit running down 2/3rds of the field. I liked that.

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