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The perfect game plan led to Ohio State’s rout over Nebraska

Everything clicked against the Cornhuskers.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Finally.

Ed Warinner and Tim Beck put together a balanced game plan that got J.T. Barrett into rhythm early, which then opened up the running game. Not only was Barrett in sync, but they got Curtis Samuel a bunch of touches in a variety of ways and who would have guessed? It led to a 59-point shellacking of the No. 10 team in the country.

Even though the offense scored on every single possession, it wasn’t perfect. It was almost flawless, but there were a few things that Barrett could have done better, which could have be the difference against a better team defense (Michigan). All in all, the offense rolled on all-cylinders though, and showed Ohio State's true potential against a worthy adversary.

Let’s check the tape:

J.T. Barrett passing chart vs Nebraska

Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
5 40 24 12 4 3 6 3
Pressured Sacked Hit Pass Break-Up Batted at LOS Drops Turnovers Defensive PI
4 0 1 1 0 2 0 1

Since the offensive line debacle against Penn State, the o-line has been much improved. After allowing 26 pressures against the Nittany Lions, the line has only allowed eight pressures in Barrett's last 75 dropbacks. The offensive line gave Barrett more than enough time to gain confidence in the pocket, survey the field and make throws. Barrett responded by getting into a comfort zone early and staying in a rhythm. Barrett was only pressured four times, hit once and was not sacked on a whopping 40 dropbacks. Bravo, Slobs.

Curtis Samuel was involved! And he was involved early! On the opening possession, Samuel had the first two touches, which resulted in 25 yards. The offensive brain trust utilized Samuel in a numerous amount of ways: inside zone, outside zone, buck sweeps, jet sweeps, short, intermediate and deep routes, and even as a punt returner. Samuel touched the ball 13 times on the night for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Mike Weber finished with only 72 yards on the day, but he was extremely physical and gained tough yardage after contact. No exaggeration, his 3-yard run might have been the most impressive run of the entire night. People forget Weber is still only a redshirt freshman and is still getting better:

It’s very hard to watch Saturday's near offensive masterpiece and find any huge negatives, but the quarterback has to be better on deep balls. Out of Barrett's 12 incompletions, three were throwaways, two were dropped, one was underthrown (resulting in a pass interference) and six of them were overthrows. The Buckeyes scored on every possession, but can you imagine Barrett’s numbers if he connected on the numerous deep balls that he just missed on? On all six, the receiver had at least one or two steps on the defensive back but were errantly thrown. This isn’t new either, and it could be the difference in a tight game, where the opposing defense is stacking the box and daring Barrett to go deep.

Here’s the underthrow to Samuel. If Barrett leads him, it’s an easy six:

Here’s an overthrow to Parris Campbell that is one of the easier deep throws to complete. It was 35-yards, but the ball was snapped in the middle of the field and the throw was on a line. The worst thing about it, is that they had to settle for a field goal on that drive.

Just two plays after the errant throw intended to Campbell, Barrett found Mike Weber on a wheel route. Unfortunately, this was his worst throw of the day. A wheel route is not an easy throw, but the well-designed play left Weber wide open for a touchdown. As noted above, this drive ended with a field goal and they had three, yes three (Binjimen Victor’s drop) potential touchdowns on the same drive. That is unacceptable.

Here’s another overthrow that should have resulted in Victor’s first touchdown reception. Victor got single coverage and beat the defender inside. If Barrett can throw this on a line to the inside of the field, it’s a sure touchdown. Instead, he got too much air under the ball and it sailed over the freshman’s head.

Even though he missed a bunch on deep throws, Barrett still performed admirably in the pocket, moving around and creating time for his receivers to get open. On this play, Barrett somehow felt the blitz, avoided the rusher, kept his eyes downfield and threaded the needle for a first down. What a play by Barrett.

When Curtis Samuel’s time is up at Ohio State, they should be a-okay at the H-back position with Demario McCall. The future is bright in Columbus.