Ohio State-Nebraska | Ray Stein's Bottom Line

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day celebrates after an interception from Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Jeff Okudah (1) during the first quarter of a NCAA Division I football game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

There’s no way any college football observer can look at Ohio State and not see a powerhouse firing on all cylinders. And yet before folks start booking flights for Phoenix, Atlanta or New Orleans, it may be wise to consider the company the Buckeyes keep. Is OSU strong coffee, or is its opposition weak tea? Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein

Offense (4)

There were mismatches all over the field, but none were more obvious than the gaping expanses that J.K. Dobbins, Master Teague and Justin Fields were able to run through without as much as a finger wave to stop them. Parting of the Red Sea, indeed. OSU’s stout final numbers: 580 yards, scores on eight of its first nine drives.

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Defense (4)

Conventional wisdom suggested the combination of second-year wiz Scott Frost and emerging quarterback Adrian Martinez would give OSU all it could handle. Oh, the Cornhuskers gave, all right: Martinez threw more interceptions (three) than completions (two) in a beatdown of a first half. Double-picker Jeff Okudah was lucky and good.

Special teams (3)

This is how it goes sometimes: A couple games ago, punter Drue Chrisman was Big Ten player of the week; on Saturday, he might as well have been inactive until the fourth quarter. Kicker Blake Haubeil did well twice to get three points even though seven was the preferred number. Jameson Williams’ muffed kick return: a teaching moment.

Coaching (4)

It’s hard to find fault anywhere, really, though surely Ryan Day and his staff will put thumbtacks on his players’ seats in the meeting rooms just to ensure they are, you know, staying sharp. Make no mistake, though: The Buckeyes entered a hostile environment against a decent-enough team and delivered all the important blows.

Fun (3)

Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium is one of the jewels in all of college football: The fans are knowledgeable, the tailgates are massive, and they sell the Runza, a sort of White Castle on a sub bun. The Big Red believers showed up early and loud and had all the makings of a memorable night. All they lacked was a game worth a damn.

Opponent (2)

The Cornhuskers had every reason in the world to wonder what was the model of the Massey Ferguson that plowed them back to oblivion, but they had only themselves — or Martinez — to blame. The three picks killed Nebraska, but the lack of defensive push at the point of attack will make coaches apoplectic in film study.

Officiating (3)

Nebraska fans offered a variety of unprintable words for the officials when Cam Taylor-Britt was flagged for interference on Ohio State’s first possession, and it’s possible the Buckeyes caught a break on that one. Otherwise, the refs’ main job was staying out of the way as OSU players charged through the Huskers secondary.

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