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Ohio State rights its recent wrongs, delivers bushwhacking of Nebraska

J.T. Barrett, pick-sixes highlight the Buckeyes’ dominant two-way effort.

Nebraska v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Mistakes are a part of life. As human beings, we commit errors of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis. We attempt to right those wrongs, learn from our mistakes, and move on with our lives. Life is short, after all.

But there are some goofs that, for one reason or another, will live on forever—like declaring Thomas Dewey the next president of the United States.

The Chicago Tribune has endured despite its infamous gaffe, but the blunder spawned one of the most recognizable photographs in the history of American politics, one of an elated Harry Truman showing off the incorrect headline highlighting the first edition of the Nov. 3, 1948, issue of the Tribune.

The Tribune was misled by inaccurate polling leading up to the election, and because of a printers’ strike, managing editor J. Loy Maloney was forced to make a final decision on the first edition’s headline hours earlier than normal.

In the end, Truman won the Electoral College vote by a comfortable 303 to 189 margin, and now the Tribune typically has to eat some crow every four years.

After gliding through the first month of the season, lately Ohio State has found itself fraught with the sort of inconsistency to be expected of an extremely green unit. Above all else, the Buckeyes appeared focused on fixing their wrongs in recent weeks rather than overhauling what they do on either side of the ball.

Saturday night, Ohio State sorted out its issues while also incorporating a few fun wrinkles in a 62-3, Truman-esque beat down of Nebraska, its second straight home demolition of the Cornhuskers. (The Buckeyes prevailed 63-38 in 2012.) Ohio State cobbled together its best all-round effort since its stunningly easy win in Norman in September. J.T. Barrett (and Joe Burrow in relief) conducted an outstanding offensive effort (590 yards, 11-of-15 on third downs) and the Silver Bullets limited Nebraska to 204 yards, with the unit recording pick-sixes No. 5 and No. 6 of the season (a new school record) in the process.

On to the rankings!

1. A flawless offensive performance

Mirroring the relaxed intensity their head coach had exhibited during the week—an act that turned out to be just that—the Buckeyes ambushed the Cornhuskers in the first half, starting off with Damon Webb’s pick-six on Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s first throw of the game and ending the first two quarters with landslide advantages in first downs (plus-10), point differential (plus-28), and yardage (plus-114).

Barrett was magical, working behind an improving offensive line that provided him with plenty of airspace. And even when Barrett was pressured, he calmly evaded the impending duress and completed passes down the field. The redshirt junior quarterback directed touchdown drives of 57, 83, and 85 yards en route to a 14-of-23 first-half showing that featured a pair of TD tosses. Barrett did misfire on at least a pair of sure TD passes (one an intermediate touch pass to Mike Weber, another a deep slant to Curtis Samuel), but the mistakes only delayed inevitable scores by Ohio State, which converted seven of its eight third downs in the first half.

The coaching staff also displayed more exotic ways and a more fervent desire to involve Samuel, who tallied 103 yards on 12 rushes+catches.

And even as the game ventured into blowout territory early in the second half, the Buckeyes continued to work on their maligned passing game—Ohio State dialed up a pass on to convert a 4th-and-1, for example—and Barrett (playing in front of his high school coach for the first time) finished with 290 yards and four TDs through the air.

2. Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s quick recovery

Good vibrations all around after Armstrong Jr. shockingly returned to the Nebraska sideline in the third quarter after he had to be taken off the field in an ambulance following a scary first half injury. Hopefully Armstrong Jr. can get back to the field sooner rather than later for a team that still has plenty to play for this season despite back-to-back road losses under the lights.

3. Jump pass!

A savvy connection from Barrett to Samuel just before the second quarter clock expired. The jump pass is like the friend you randomly see once or twice and year, and afterwards you’re left wondering why you don’t spend more time together.

4. Deep pass!

No weenie arm here on the other Barrett-to-Samuel connection that resulted in a touchdown. This was a very nice throw from Barrett following his aforementioned shortcomings throwing downfield in the first half.

5. Vegas

EVERYONE thought Ohio State being a 17-point favorite was crazy talk. These Vegas people are ridiculously good at their jobs.

6. Michigan State

Wisconsin v Michigan State Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

After winning at least 11 games from 2013-15, the Spartans (2-7, 0-6 in Big Ten) are officially bowl-ineligible. Less than a year ago this team went into Ohio Stadium and beat the No. 1 team in the country and ended up in the College Football Playoff.

What a collapse.

However, count me in the group that maintains Ohio State will still receive a stiff test (at least for a half) from Michigan State in two weeks up in East Lansing.