Favorite Stat of the Game: Four three-and-outs, and three interceptions by the Buckeyes ended seven Cornhusker drives. By the time Nebraska got together a drive that didn’t end in a punt after three plays or a turnover they were in a 48-0 hole that they couldn’t hope to climb out of. The Buckeye defense is second in the country of touchdowns allowed with four (the offense is first with 36) and have improved their ratio of 1.7 touchdowns scored to 1.0 allowed in 2018 to 9 scored for every 1 allowed so far in 2019. The only word that does that justice is ‘wow!’
The Brooklyn Dagger Award: Okudah’s interception from his back. It was 14-0, Buckeyes and Nebraska had a drive going that had covered 49 yards, when Ryan Day called a time out to try and stem the Husker onslaught. The first play back from it and a deflected pass came the way of Jeff Okudah who had fallen to his back; he caught it for a big RedZone turnover. It broke not only that Husker drive but ended any legitimate threat Nebraska would make to Ohio State for the rest of the game.
Dwayne Haskins Award: J.K. Dobbins. Once again, Dobbins ran all over Nebraska. Dobbins had 24 carries for 177 yards, averaging a whopping 7.4 yards per carry. Dobbins has 446 yards on 59 carries, and four touchdowns, 7.5 yards per carry. Needless to say, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are hoping Dobbins declares for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Wilhelm-Boren (Defensive Player of the Game) Award: Jeff Okudah. Okudah totaled only two tackles but had two big interceptions, both of which stifled early Nebraska possessions. That’s not to mention that he had a ridiculous interception of being at the right place at the right time, snagging a pick from his back. Okudah, who has been a stalwart this season, had his game that put him on the map in the Rose Bowl, now he’s looking to be another Buckeye defensive back to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Overlook him at your peril, Big Ten offenses.
Ryan Shazier-Devin Smith Award: Garrett Wilson once again made the difficult look easy and did it like a veteran. He had only one catch for only six yards, but for touchdown in a tiny corner of the endzone that would have been good on Sundays. Wilson is grabbing the headlines as the Buckeye newcomer of 2019 to this point, but Zach Harrison isn’t far behind. Harrison only totaled a pair of tackles in this game but they were both for a loss of yards, and while it may have been during the garbage time of a blowout, it was against Nebraska’s first teamers who were fighting for some pride and for the future of their 2019 season. Harrison is just as important to watch as Wilson.
Dane Sanzenbacher Award: Thayer Munford. I may be a bit biased, because Munford is a Queen City guy like myself, but he’s been the best lineman on a group that has been contributed largely to the Buckeye success, and against Nebraska he looked like his number 75 sake Orlando Pace. Munford will have his work cut out for him and will have a chance to shine this coming Saturday night against Kenny Willekes and an elite and tough Spartan defense.
Taylor Decker Award: Blake Haubeil. Haubeil had only attempted two field goals going into the game in Lincoln, and he had made one and missed one. He had an opportunity to get important real game experience and confidence in their victory against the Huskers and split the uprights twice. In a future game this season where points become a rare commodity, Haubeil could be a winning factor for the Buckeyes.
Fedora Award: Justin Fields. Another week and another multi touchdown performance for Fields. 284 yards and four touchdowns are becoming nearly the weekly norm for this guy who hasn’t even started half a dozen college football games in his career. On the year he has 1,314 yards and 23 touchdowns. If you don’t have him in the Heisman running, you have no business making a list.
Sweater Vest Award: Drue Chrisman only had to kick the ball once and as usual flipped the field in the process. A 59-yarder that went for a touchback. Chrisman had maybe the biggest game of his career last year against the Spartans when they forced the Buckeyes to play their conservative field position and rely on special teams style of game. Hopefully that doesn’t happen on Saturday, but it’s an ace up their sleeve for the Bucks, knowing they can rely on Chrisman to help them if they fall into that trap again.
Archie Award: Zone 6. The Ohio State wide receiving corps has been handling this season extremely well. There is only one ball, and receivers are considered the divas of football, but the likes of Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson, Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, K.J. Hill, Chris Olave, and any other Buckeye wideout I’ve forgotten have been about the success of their unit and their team first. Brian Hartline has a group playing at an elite level and are showing an equally high level of class and selflessness for their team.
Horned Rimmed Glasses Award: Some history from this series; Ohio State has never scored less than 27 points against the Cornhuskers. The two programs are titans of college football with each having over 900 wins. The Buckeyes are 7-1 against Nebraska including winning the last five in a row. They’ve outscored the Huskers in the series in 354-154, an average of 44-19.
Urban Meyer Coaching Moments of the Game: Let’s get the bad ones out of the way. It’s never good to run a draw on 3rd and 12, even when up 48-7, late in the fourth quarter. It’s a give up call that drives me crazy and should never be done. The good thing is it’s the only gripe I could really find in this game. Ryan Day’s timeout call before Okudah’s second pick was something I really loved. The defense was not playing well on that drive, and Ryan Day called a timeout to try to rally the troops, they didn’t rally necessarily the way he wanted them to (no one could predict Okudah to get a pick from his back), but it showed a savvy that is often times overlooked. Day knew he had three timeouts that he couldn’t take with him to the second half, so he did what he could to try to right the ship. The Huskers had something going, and Day did what he could to stop it, and by a little bit of luck it worked.
Glass Half Empty: Because Nebraska lost to Colorado, and because it’s still so early in the season, we still can’t glean a whole lot from this game and win. We’ll learn more from the month of September by the end of October. It’s just the way it is in college football. All of the talk about Ohio State passing the silly ‘eye test’ and the argument that the Buckeyes should be number one because they’ve looked sharp in every facet of the game doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the big picture of this college football season. It’s noise that I hope the Buckeyes tune out, because as Clemson is showing this season, and the Buckeyes did in 2015, hype can be another brick in an already heavy load.
Glass Half Full: I’ve said it probably at nauseum, but Ohio State is doing what they should be doing. They’re stomping teams they should stomp, and they’re looking very sharp in doing so. They aren’t having many hiccups in these wins and that is something that should give the team and the fans a measure of confidence as they take on the Spartans this weekend and heavyweights like Wisconsin, Penn State, and that team up north as the schedule unfolds. By Halloween this win will have aged well. By November I expect the Huskers to be 6-2 and will make noise in the Big Ten West race, being a team that both Iowa and Wisconsin need to watch out for. A Husker upset of one or both and they will be making noise about who gets to Indianapolis from the West in December.
2014 Moment: Justin Fields score that opened the day for the Buckeyes was a scramble up the middle and it was very similar to some J.T. Barrett touchdowns from five years ago. It was a touchdown up the middle, liked J.T. used to do, and he dove for the goal line for an important score just like J.T. This far in his young Buckeye career, Fields is looking poised to be one of the best Ohio State signal callers ever, like Barrett did in his inaugural season as a Buckeye starter.
2002 Moment: Jordan Fuller had an interception from his safety position that made me think of a pair of Buckeye greats from that ’02 squad, Mike Doss and Will Allen. Couple that with Jeff Okudah and his two picks doing a Chris Gamble impression and the secondary made the defensive plays of the game. This defense is on a pace and at a level that hasn’t been seen since those guys took them to a title that season, 17 years ago.
1968 Moment: It was the way the Buckeyes kept their foot on the gas when they started pulling the starters, although to be fair, Master Teague who was largely responsible for keeping the ball moving would be a starter just about anywhere else in the country. The depth of this team is something that has them poised to and will contribute to a championship run.
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