Ohio State Rushing Defense Put Clamps On in Annihilation of Nebraska

By Eric Seger on November 6, 2016 at 9:30 am
Ohio State's rush defense showed its worth on Saturday night.

Media guides allow for football programs to share the information they want the world to see and often the statistics they are most proud of. An example in Nebraska's case under current head coach Mike Riley is the Cornhuskers' ability to run the ball well and how it laid the groundwork for big-time victories.

Neither happened on Saturday night in Ohio State's 62-3 destruction of the No. 10 Cornhuskers. The Buckeyes held Nebraska to just 78 rushing yards on 24 carries, well below its season average of 204 yards per game.

Consider this table as displayed in Nebraska's media guide outlining the last nine games. Above it, it states how the Cornhuskers are 8-0 under Riley when they rush for more than 200 yards, including 4-0 this season. Even further, Nebraska is 9-0 under Riley's team when it outrushes its opponent:

UCLA 62-326 16-67 +259 W, 37-29
FRESNO STATE 51-292 25-31 +261 W, 43-10
WYOMING 43-138 31-131 +7 W, 52-17
OREGON 47-228 47-336 -108 W, 35-32
NORTHWESTERN 47-310 32-137 +173 W, 24-13
ILLINOIS 49-203 21-124 +79 W, 31-16
INDIANA 45-152 30-88 +64 W, 27-22
PURDUE 37-157 22-24 +133 W, 27-14
WISCONSIN 44-152 38-223 -71 L, 23-17 (OT)
OHIO STATE 24-78 42-238 -160 L, 62-3

As you can see, the only times Nebraska failed to gain more yards on the ground than its opposition came against Oregon (a nailbiting victory) and last week at Wisconsin (an overtime loss). It happened again on Saturday.

The Buckeyes ran 42 times for 238 yards and two touchdowns while the Cornhuskers averaged 3.2 yards per carry and didn't even manage 80 yards on the ground. A quick, somewhat significant deficit changed things but not too many holes were evident in Ohio State's front seven.

And, on the other side of the ball, J.T. Barrett and the offense did pretty much whatever it wanted, when it wanted, regardless who was in the lineup. To further illustrate that point, consider Ohio State's leading rusher Demario McCall (73 yards on 16 carries) didn't even enter the game until the third quarter.

Luke Fickell's defensive unit brought the pain on Saturday night.

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