Merely five days after our virtual Ohio State Buckeyes took down the Oregon Ducks 34-21 on the road, the actual team got its actual football season back! I am elated for Justin Fields, Wyatt Davis, Shaun Wade, and the rest of the squad that worked tirelessly in the face of overwhelming uncertainty to get to this point. They deserve whatever success comes their way as they play out the rest of 2020 on the field.
But we started this virtual season with the hopes of replicating as close to an authentic Buckeye football experience as possible, and I intend to see that through. However, there won’t be virtual games all the way through the end of November now. No one, including me, wants to watch a simulated Ohio State/Michigan game while the real one is actually on.
Over these next five weekends before the actual season starts, we’re going to give you the very best of the Buckeyes’ remaining schedule. That means Nebraska this Saturday at noon, with games against Iowa, Penn State, Indiana, and Michigan in the weeks ahead leading up to the start of real Ohio State football on Oct. 23-24.
LandGrantHolyLand will stream all the action on Twitch, so be sure to give us a follow before kickoff on Saturday!
Here’s a quick preview of the upcoming matchup with the Cornhuskers:
What to Watch: Ohio State Offense vs. Oregon Defense
Fields turned it around in a big way last week coming off an underwhelming performance against Buffalo, and there’s no reason to believe the Buckeyes’ QB will reverse course this week. Nebraska’s secondary has more than a couple talented players, but outside of that their talent is somewhat lacking compared to the other side of the ball. Other than senior defensive end Ben Stille, the Cornhuskers don’t boast a reliable pass rush, and the back end of their front seven might be even worse.
Ryan Day has done a good job of getting carries to both Trey Sermon and Master Teague III through two games, but probably wants to run the ball a bit more in this one provided Ohio State jumps out to an early lead. The Buckeyes should be in good shape to do both of those things, provided Fields doesn’t take too many sacks.
Fields may not enjoy the prolific passing success he had in the first half of last week’s game, but as long as Ohio State takes care of the football, there just isn’t enough muscle on Nebraska’s defense to keep them from putting up points.
What to Watch: Nebraska Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
Nebraska’s offense tells a similar story to their defense. They have talented skill players by way of quarterback Adrian Martinez, speedy wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, and senior running back Dedrick Mills. Martinez has much improved as a thrower over the course of the offseason by way of better all-around decision making, and Robinson has the ability to slip behind any defense if regarded as an afterthought.
However, the talent elsewhere is slim. Left tackle Brenden Jaimes actually checks in as tied for the highest rated player on the roster at 88 overall, but the rest of the line leaves much to be desired. Between the talent chasm in the trenches and Martinez’ propensity to go into “happy feet” mode, Buckeye pass rushers such as Zach Harrison could be in for monster games.
Martinez will likely put up some solid numbers with his arm assuming Nebraska has to play from behind, but there’s not a whole lot to be afraid of if you’re an Ohio State fan. The Buckeyes are just too damn talented in the trenches for this game to stay competitive for all four quarters. I expect it will play out very similarly to last season’s meeting.
Other Notes from Around the Virtual College Football Universe:
Two full weeks of the virtual 2020 season have gone by, so here are the biggest stories so far:
- Pittsburgh, a team that began the season 0-2, defeated Penn State in their season opener by an outrageous score of 41-10. James Franklin once again had to be held back by his coaches from fighting Penn State students following the loss.
- Memphis kicked the snot out of Minnesota 34-10, a win that prompted them to move into the Top 25 and tumbled the Golden Gophers down to No. 21 overall. A bad day for the Big Ten.
- Merely a week removed from beating Texas, Chip Kelly’s UCLA team very nearly beat Notre Dame in South Bend, falling just short by a score of 28-24.
- Alabama beat Texas A&M 25-24 in what will go down as one of the greatest finishes to a college football game ever. With only eight seconds left, Mac Jones threw a 17 yard screen pass TD to Najee Harris to take the lead for the first time in the game. The win vaulted Alabama ahead of both Ohio State and Clemson to No. 1 overall.
- Trevor Lawrence continues to walk an absolute warpath across college football, serving Miami a 56-20 loss by way of 250 yards passing and five touchdowns with no picks. Fields is going to have to go on a tear during the Big Ten schedule if he wants to make up ground in this Heisman race.
Follow LandGrantHolyLand on Twitch and Tune In Tomorrow at Noon to watch Ohio State vs. Nebraska!
We’ll get the stream going about 10 minutes before kickoff. Feel free to drop by whenever, crack open a cold beverage of your choosing, and come celebrate the (impending) return of Ohio State football with us!
Go Bucks! We can’t wait to watch with you!