Okudah gets 2 more interceptions in first half

Bill Rabinowitz,Joey Kaufman
Ohio State's Jeff Okudah makes the first of his two first-half interceptions on a pass intended for Nebraska's Wan'Dale Robinson. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

LINCOLN, Neb. — It took more than two seasons before Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah corralled his first interception. He picked off a pass last week in the second quarter against Miami University.

More followed at Nebraska on Saturday night. Okudah intercepted Adrian Martinez twice in the first half, becoming the first Ohio State player to have more than one interception in a game since Marshon Lattimore. In a 2016 blowout of Tulsa, Lattimore had two picks.

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Both from Okudah against Nebraska were significant for the Buckeyes as they built a 38-0 lead at halftime.

On the Cornhuskers' opening series, Okudah undercut a route by freshman receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and dived to pick off the pass. That set the Buckeyes offense up at midfield, and they found the end zone two minutes later when quarterback Justin Fields scrambled for a 15-yard run.

Okudah’s second interception ended a promising drive by Nebraska. Moving near the red zone late in the first quarter, with possession at the Buckeyes’ 26-yard line, Martinez lofted a pass toward Robinson near the goal line.

However, the pass was slightly overthrown, bounced off Robinson’s left hand and landed in the grasp of Okudah, who had slipped onto the turf nearby.

Before the interception, the Cornhuskers had driven 49 yards, their best first-half drive in one of their offense's more successful stretches, but they were kept from logging points.

Safety Jordan Fuller also intercepted Martinez in the second quarter

This TD catch stands for Mack

Senior receiver Austin Mack had a potential touchdown wiped away against Miami last week because of penalty.

He got on the scoreboard against the Huskers, however. Mack caught an 18-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter, snagging the ball over a draped cornerback in a corner of the end zone.

The grab gave the Buckeyes a 37-0 lead before the extra point.

Alabi starts at right tackle

Ohio State’s offensive line had its first change of the season when Joshua Alabi started instead of Branden Bowen at right tackle.

Bowen was listed in Friday’s status report as a game-time decision. The senior was in uniform and participated in pregame warmups, but Alabi got the start over him and redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere. Bowen and Petit-Frere, a five-star signee in 2019, had a close competition in training camp for the job.

Alabi, a fifth-year senior, started last season’s Rose Bowl victory in place of the injured Thayer Munford at left tackle. Alabi began his college career as a defensive lineman.

The nature of Bowen’s injury is unknown. Under new coach Ryan Day, Ohio State does not specify injuries. Bowen started at right guard in 2017 until he suffered a broken fibula and tibia against Maryland. He did not play last year after he had setbacks in his recovery.

The Buckeyes didn’t miss a beat with Alabi. They often ran to his side in rolling up 378 yards of total offense in the first half.

Dobbins tops 3,000 yards

Junior running back J.K. Dobbins became the 11th Buckeye to surpass 3,000 career rushing yards when he picked up 6 yards on a second-quarter run.

He joins Archie Griffin, Ezekiel Elliott, Eddie George, Tim Spencer, Beanie Wells, Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, Keith Byars, Carlos Hyde and Pepe Pearson in that club.

Dobbins ran for 114 yards in 17 carries in the first half.

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