Preview: #10 Nebraska (7-1, 4-1) vs #6 Ohio State (7-1, 4-1)

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I cannot stress to you, the sheer importance of this game at this stage of the aging College Football Season. I guarantee you that Coach Meyer and his staff are addressing the importance of this game and they are establishing and setting the tone early and often to get their players ready for gameday.  Reestablishing and reawakening that killer instinct that has laid dormant after their visit to Norman Oklahoma.  I want to see this occur once again and I am certain that the Buckeyes would love to reawaken the beast within.  This, by no means, will be another easy win.  This will be a fight!  Both teams will fight tooth and nail until one of the two buckles under the bright lights of The Shoe.  Both Ohio State and Nebraska have identical records so far this season and the loser of the two will surely hurt their College Football Playoffs chances afterward. If I were to choose out of the two, I would say that it would definitely hurt the Buckeyes more so than the Cornhuskers.  Judging by the two-team race in the West Division between Wisconsin and Nebraska, their odds split at 50-50 with Minnesota and Iowa nipping at their heels and jockeying for position.  Ohio State, on the other hand, suffered a loss to a division foe in Penn State and TTUN is currently at the top of the East Division food chain at this point of the season.  The loss certainly doesn’t harm our chances and we cannot be counted out just yet, but if chaos happens (and in College Football, as long as I’ve been watching, it happens frequently a la Penn State!) and tie-breakers and stuff like that need to be used, we need to stay atop our game for the rest of the season.

images-7The Buckeyes will play host once again and they will welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers into The Shoe and it has been four years since the Buckeyes and the Cornhuskers met on the gridiron and with the stakes being as high as ever, both teams will look for any edge that is out there at this point of this season.  Both teams will look the stay in the Playoff conversation as the first official list was released yesterday and both teams are within striking distance of making the big dance IF they keep improving and flat out, winning. This game will be different and it is almost as exciting as the dark night at the shoe.  This game will feature two things that will look to give the Buckeyes more of an edge, to add to their advantage of being the home team during the game.  This game will dazzle and amaze, and with the first Scarlet Out of the season, the Buckeyes will look to turn the tide and bring the pain.  Not only will the Buckeyes unleash the Scarlet Out, they will also honor a former Buckeye Alum, Chick Harley, with a new alternate uniform and they look to honor the undefeated 1916 Ohio State team of old.  I, for one initially thought that this was a drop off from the black alternates, but the helmet altered my former thoughts and I love them now!

imagesJ.T. Barrett will be faced with another tough, hard-nosed BIG 10 defense and the Nebraska Defense is another stout defense that has been held 5 out of their last 7 opponents to less than 20 points per game which resulted in wins.  The two that scored more than 20 points in a game against Nebraska? They went 1-1 in those games.  A win against Oregon and a loss to Wisconsin, not too bad.  I was stationed in Nebraska for 8 long years and man they love their team.  I hate their team just as much, but not even close to the scorn and hatred to TTUN, but their Blackshirts are pretty good. They always manage to field good, if not great defenses.  Look at the past games against the Buckeyes during their first years in the conference.  The Cornhusker upset the rebuilding Buckeyes after Coach Tressel left that was coached by Luke Fickell.  The Buckeyes lost by a touchdown to the new kids on the block.  34-27 was the final and I hope that Coach Fickell remembers every second of that horrid season. We should thank them though cause it brought Coach Meyer in and five years later, he has only lost one hand worth of games and has a National Championship to add to his repertoire.  His first year he handed the Cornhuskers a 63-38 whooping to extend the series to 3-1 all-time against the Cornhuskers.

images-12This will be a battle of the Blackshirts against the Scarlet Curtain.  Flat out.  Two Top-15 Defenses will go toe to toe in what could be another epic battle and defensive struggle.  The Buckeyes field a team that is ranked #6 in the nation in both playoff standings and in scoring defense surrendering 121 points this season.  The Cornhuskers are ranked #10 in the playoffs standings and 15th in scoring defense giving up 147 points total.  Ohio State is #6 in total defense averaging 295.5 yards per game and Nebraska comes in at #20 with 342.1 yards per game.  Ohio State ranks #4 in the NCAA with a +10 in the turnover margin and Nebraska is #24 with +5 in the turnover margin.  Both defenses are even at #24 with 16 turnovers gained so far this season.  Both teams have stout Defensive Lines, but opposing teams get the ball out quickly as both teams are in the middle of the pack in the sack department with Nebraska at #51 with 19 sacks for the season and the Rushmen are #63 with 17.  The Buckeyes edge the Cornhuskers in the defensive touchdown category.  They are ranked #2 in the nation in defensive touchdowns with 4 and Nebraska is #19 with 2.  This will be a battle and a test of wills and this will likely be the focus of the game.  Ohio State is allowing 15.1 points per game to Nebraska’s 18.4.  This will be a fierce and intense battle.

images-4Both offenses will certainly have their hands full with the defenses that will oppose them.  This will be a battle, but both offenses can create huge splash plays from time to time.  The Buckeyes field a formidable offense with playmakers such as Curtis Samuel, Dontre Wilson, Noah Brown, Mike Weber and J.T. Barrett.  On the other side, the Cornhuskers have Quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Running Back Terrell Newby and Stanley Morgan Jr at Wideout.  Both teams are averaging a ton of points per game.  Ohio State is averaging 42.6 per game, while Nebraska is averaging 32 points per game.  That is #10 and #49 in the nation in scoring offense that will test each the opposing defenses to secure a win.  The edge in offense goes to Nebraska because of their Offensive Line has allowed just 6 sacks total this season which is good for #5 in the nation.  The Buckeyes are #27 in the nation with 12 QB sacks allowed which is telling and a key concern for the Buckeyes moving forward.  Hopefully, they can scheme around the Blackshirts and rebound from the scare against Northwestern and you have to expect that the loss in Happy Valley still remains in the back of their minds, but they won’t outright say it aloud.  I think they will have the added motivation because of the Scarlet Out and the sweet new unis.  It is all about execution and poise during duress.  This will be a battle throughout and with another Top-10 duel, they will look to shake off the cobwebs and dust.

Prediction:

I am certainly way off with my predictions, never coming close to the final in most instances.  Sometimes I hope and pray, but it is one of the things that makes College Football special.  This will be a defensive battle throughout.  The offenses will make key and timely play when they need it and a key defensive stop will fuel the Buckeyes late in the game to secure another Top-10 win to keep them in the College Football Playoff conversation.

Buckeyes over Nebraska 38-27

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