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Urban Meyer strolled to the podium following his team’s 59-point victory Saturday night, glanced down at the stat sheet and took a deep breath.
“Wow,” Ohio State’s head coach said. “I didn’t see this one coming.”
Nobody really did.
The Buckeyes routed Nebraska on Saturday night, 62-3, in a battle that featured two top-10 teams.
Well, at least on paper. Ohio State simply overwhelmed the Huskers in every phase of the game, but perhaps the most impressive performance of the evening came from the Buckeyes’ offense which, if you hadn’t heard, had been rather inconsistent in recent weeks.
On Saturday night, it was anything but. Ohio State racked up 590 yards of total offense, J.T. Barrett threw four touchdown passes and the Buckeyes featured Curtis Samuel the way he needed to be featured as the junior swiss army knife had 178 total yards on 13 touches.
“Just an A to Z, very good performance by our guys,” Meyer said.
This is what many expected Ohio State’s offense to look like throughout the season. This is what it looked like during the first month of the year when the Buckeyes rolled through their schedule with relative ease.
This is the type of offense Ohio State needs to beat Michigan.
The Buckeyes won’t score 62 points and record 600 yards of offense every week. That’s a pretty unreasonable expectation. But the creativity, the explosion and the overall quality of play is something that certainly had been lacking the last four weeks.
“We played a good game today, everything was clicking,” Samuel said. “We didn’t really do anything different; it’s about execution. In previous weeks we didn’t execute at the highest level whereas today we did.”
Added Barrett: “I just feel like the preparation was right. We had a great practice Tuesday and Wednesday. … I knew we were on the edge of it to really break through.
Everything certainly worked for the Buckeyes.
The offensive line, which struggled big time in a recent loss to Penn State, gave Barrett plenty of protection to throw for his 290 yards. The wide receivers, which struggled in recent weeks to get open, were running free all night. That missing deep ball threat? Barrett finally connected on one as he hit Samuel for a 75-yard touchdown pass to open the second half.
It was as impressive of a performance as Ohio State had all season.
“We had a good game plan,” left tackle Jamarco Jones said. “We were able to execute and it was a good feeling to go out there and play so well especially against a top-10 opponent. It’s a lot of fun to go and let loose and play with your teammates.”
So, is Ohio State’s offense back?
That’s tough to say right now. It’s easy to overreact after performances — both good and bad.
But while we’ll certainly find out in the next few games if the Buckeyes regained their momentum — especially Nov. 26 against Michigan — it’s clear they took a step in the right direction toward being themselves again.
“It is a little relief to know that right now I saw some explosiveness that we kind of have been lacking in some positions,” Meyer said. “I think relief is probably the correct word and we’ve all been waiting for that to happen.
“No better time than the month of November to get that going.”