Ohio State-Nebraska | Scarlet & Gray Matter

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson and Nebraska cornerback Dicaprio Bootle crash into the wall beyond the end zone after Wilson caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Justin Fields during the third quarter. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

Ray Stein’s observations about Saturday’s game:

The game at hand

Short-attention-span synopsis: Saturday night special: creamed corn. Okudah matata. Husker Du, but Huskers Don’t. Buckeyes are ready for prime time players. Stinkin’ in Lincoln.

Pregame buzz: Elevator buttons have been pushed far harder than Ohio State has this season, yet that didn’t stop coach Ryan Day and many fans from talking about a night game against Nebraska as if Bob Devaney were prowling the Cornhuskers’ sideline and Tom Osborne were calling plays designed to spring Johnny Rodgers for ungodly gains. Nebraska 2019 under Scott Frost is a healthier Husker than the wheezers of a couple of years back under Mike Riley, but these animals aren’t ready for the state fair just yet.

Worth the trip? There’s no such thing as a bad trip to Lincoln, where the fans apologize if the Huskers win because it ruined your visit or they apologize if the Huskers lose because their team didn’t put up a better fight. There was a lot of the latter on Saturday. Unlike most other Big Ten haunts, it’s easier to hear than see OSU fans in that stadium.

Spread the wealth? As canines go, Nebraska long-ago past was a snarling, three-headed beast guarding the gates of Hell. Whereas Nebraska recent past was about as docile and unthreatening as Clifford the Big Red Dog. Nebraska present was thought to be somewhere in between, thus the Cornhuskers entering as a 17-point underdog against Ohio State. Huskers fans can take some solace that the spread was 24 points the last time OSU came calling, in 2017. But it’s probably best not to remind them that the Buckeyes easily covered that line, too.

 • This week in vanity plates: SHUCKED

The View

• How the team sees it: Just another Saturday at the office. You set ’em up, we knock ’em down.

How the pollsters will see it: Still not sure you guys have played anyone, but Clemson’s the only team that needs to worry about slippage this week.

How Buckeye Nation sees it: We love these guys, but are they peaking too soon?

Hey, what did Day say?

• What he said: “When we looked at the schedule, we thought this (game) would be hard.”

What it means: “Then, the more we looked at it, the more we realized we were better at every position.”

They said it

Your turn/the channel: ABC’s top broadcasting team of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit were saddled with a blowout, which meant plenty of lovin’ butter for both sides of Buckeyes bread. In fact, Herbstreit went so far as to rank Ohio State No. 1 among his top four (and, no, he’s not on the College Football Playoff committee). He has OSU ahead of, in order, Alabama, Clemson and LSU. Very well, but viewers really wanted to know: What’s with him and Fowler having green hands when they were shown giving stand-up reports inside the booth? Bad lighting, or was Nebraska serving some manner of toxic brew?

This week in GameDay signs: Much, much earlier in the day, ESPN’s “College GameDay” found its way to Lincoln for the first time since 2007 — the first sign that this was a big game for Husker Nation. Other signs displayed in the morning pep rally included some witty putdowns of the opponent, though without the pointed hatred often on display. Nebraska’s offerings included: “Ohio sucks so bad LeBron left twice,” “Ryan Day chews ice cream” and “U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 1, Ohio State 0.” It being Nebraska, the sodbusters also took a shot at their neighbor to the east: “Imagine living in Iowa.”

Numbers for dummies

124: Consecutive points scored by Ohio State after falling behind 5-0 to Miami University last week, until Nebraska scored in the third quarter

5: Consecutive games in which the OSU defense has limited its opponent to fewer than 300 yards

155: Ohio State’s advantage in first-half scoring this season (173-18)

11: OSU players to rush for 3,000 career yards, after J.K. Dobbins cracked the barrier on a 6-yard run in the second quarter

371: Consecutive sellouts at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium

On tap

Ohio State returns to its friendly confines for its first (and only?) home night game of the season, a matchup against Michigan State. The Spartans largely were a burr under Urban Meyer’s saddle, but Day thus far has proved impervious to the same seasonal allergies that made Meyer’s nose itch. Michigan State is 4-1 and will be the first ranked team the Buckeyes play this season. That doesn’t make the Spartans’ offense any more interesting than a stack of rice cakes, but that doesn’t always matter against OSU.


Best responses to the game on Twitter:

@MadHatter313: OSU are men playing with boys again tonight

@kosstar: tOSU is bad. Their players are so lazy they even lay down while intercepting passes.

@EricJSchultz: Can’t decide who looks better, #1, #1 or #2

@brian_bjones: Apparently the Nebraska QB has transferred to Ohio State without telling his coach

@Scarletjersey: Scott Frost called UCF during the timeout and asked for his job back. They told him he is damaged goods.

Horseshoe haiku

Buckeyes expected

a test; instead they’re the ones

teaching the lessons

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