Another week, another conference win. Nobody expected the Nebraska Cornhuskers to be a pushover when they were accepted to the Big Ten in 2010, but it turns out that J.T. Barrett guy is pretty special and it’s hard to rebound from 35-0 halftime deficits. Some notes from Ohio State’s fifth-consecutive win:
- We knew the secondary’s ability to limit big plays would be a huge factor going into this game — and it was. Ohio State allowed just one pass over 20 yards before climbing to an insurmountable 42-0 lead. Cornhuskers quarterback Tanner Lee rebounded in the third quarter and ended up with 303 yards and two touchdowns, but it was the Silver Bulletts’ ability to limit chunk plays in the first half that helped put this one away early.
- Once again, the Buckeyes forced their opponent to become one dimensional. Nebraska totaled just 44 rushing yards on 16 attempts, an average of just 2.8 yards per attempt. The Cornhuskers didn’t break a run longer than 11 yards, and their low average is even more absurd after considering the Buckeyes didn’t register any sacks.
- A typical Buckeye beat down, has usually consisted of numerous defensive splash plays, but Ohio State only registered one tackle for a loss, no sacks, and just one interception (on the last play of the game). A defense as talented as Ohio State’s is always capable of creating a game-changing play, but their ability to play sound football and hold an opponent to just 14 points without the benefit of numerous turnovers points to the improvement in tackling and steady play from the secondary.
Even without the benefit of negative plays and turnovers, there were plenty of stars on the defensive side of the ball for the Buckeyes. Here are a few notable standouts.
Damon Arnette continues to blanket the opposition
Arnette was suspended for the first half of the game due to a targeting penalty during the second half of the Maryland game, but continued to make his presence felt once on the field. Overall, he led the team with two pass deflections and showed why he’s joined Denzel Ward and Kendall Sheffield as the defense’s top-three corners:
Arnette demonstrates both his ability to play outside corner and get his head around when the ball is under thrown on the first play in the above video; while he blankets the slot receiver on following snaps to help force a fourth down after. Slot corners aren’t afforded a sideline for assistance and it’s been an exploitable position on recent Buckeye defenses. Still, Arnette has displayed sticky-coverage technique and is helping make the middle of the field just as dangerous as the the outside.
Nick Bosa: Still very good
Bosa has established himself as the most-feared edge rusher on a defense with plenty to spare. He didn’t add to his team-high 4.0 sacks Saturday night, but this didn’t stop him from reminding the Cornhuskers linemen they didn’t have a chance at stopping him:
Bosa is humiliating tackles on a weekly basis, but there’s simply too much talent across the defensive line to routinely double him. Remember: he is just a true sophomore. We likely haven’t even seen the best version of Bosa yet, but the current state is already pretty damn frightening.
Jerome Baker continues to make plays
MOUTH PIECES WERE FLYING IN LINCOLN, NEBRASKA LAST SATURDAY NIGHT:
Baker demonstrates his insane versatility during two huge plays in the second quarter. First, he set the edge on a 3rd-and-1 run directly at him before sifting his way through traffic and ultimately standing the running back up for no gain at the line of scrimmage. Having fast linebackers that can cover are great, but they’re useless without the ability to hold up against the run. Later, Baker shoots past the over-matched receiver assigned to block him and makes the second-best hit of the season. Chris Worley and Dante Booker had nice days at the office as well, and this Buckeyes front seven is all that much scarier when both levels of the interior are clicking.
After losing to Virginia Tech in 2014, nobody took Ohio State seriously until they took down then-eighth-ranked Michigan State in East Lansing. With a bye week to prepare, the Buckeyes will have a chance to again stake their claim as the Big Ten’s premier contender on October 28th against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
The final: 56-14, Ohio State
Defensive player of the game: Jerome Baker (3 tackles, 1 TFLs, 1 QB hurry)
Defensive play of the game: Jerome Baker briefly ending a Nebraska running back’s life.
Next Victim: Penn State. Keep it classy, Columbus.