Ohio State's Football Program Looks Much Different Now Than It Did Last Time It Traveled To Nebraska

By James Grega on October 12, 2017 at 8:35 am
The 2011 Ohio State Buckeyes

The last time Ohio State traveled to Nebraska, the Buckeye football program was a mess. 

The Scarlet and Gray were coming off of a 10-7 home loss to Michigan State, Joe Bauserman led the team in passing and you might also remember a minor issue involving tattoos and sanctions still hovering over the program. To top it all off, Eleven Warriors didn't even get credentials back then. Dark times indeed. 

The Buckeyes went into Lincoln, Neb. as 10-point underdogs and expectations for the program were beginning to hit an all-time low. Then, the unthinkable happened. Jim Bollman's much maligned Ohio State offense exploded. 

Behind a plethora of quarterback keepers from Braxton Miller, a breakout game for Carlos Hyde and some trickery in the form of a tight end screen to Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State jumped out to a 20-6 halftime lead. 

That lead got even bigger after Hyde scored his second touchdown of the game, as Ohio State built a 21-point lead with 10:53 to play in the third quarter. It would be the last points the Buckeyes would score in the game.

Miller left the game with an ankle injury, which forced Bauserman back into action. The redshirt-senior completed just 1-of-10 passes for 13 yards and an interception, which ultimately led to Nebraska's game-winning touchdown in a 34-27 comeback win that still stands as the largest comeback victory in school history. 

Since that game, however, the two programs have been on separate paths. 

More than six years have passed since the Husker victory, and Ohio State is 66-7 with Urban Meyer at the helm (including a Big Ten and national title), while Nebraska hasn't won double-digit games since 2012. 

The Cornhuskers also have a new head coach (for now) and a new athletic director. Bo Pelini was axed after compiling a 67-27 overall record in seven full seasons as the head coach. As his replacement, Mike Riley is 18-15 in his third season. 

Head-to-head, the two programs have met twice since the 2011 season, both times in Columbus. Each contest has been of the blowout variety in Ohio State's favor, with the Buckeyes taking a 63-38 win in 2012 before blasting the Cornhuskers 62-3 last season at Ohio Stadium. 

Overall, Ohio State has lost as many games from 2012 until now as it did the entire 2011 season, and a lot of that comes back to recruiting. 

Ohio State currently has an embarrassment of riches at the quarterback position with J.T. Barrett, Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and Tate Martell all on the roster. What did the Buckeye quarterback room look like six years ago? 

2011 Quarterbacks
From left to right: Braxton Miller, Justin Siems, Joe Bauserman, Kenny Guiton, Taylor Graham.

We all remember what Miller and Guiton accomplished in their respective Ohio State careers, but in 2011, the future didn't look nearly as bright as it turned out to be. Of the five quarterbacks pictured above, only one failed to finish his career in Columbus. Graham transferred to Hawaii after the tumultuous 2011 season and played two seasons, mostly as a backup for the Rainbow Warriors in 2013-14. 

With 2018 commit Emory Jones slated to join perhaps one of the deepest quarterback rooms in the country, it is almost crazy to think how far Ohio State's recruiting has come, especially in that area. 

As bad as the 2011 season was for Ohio State, with the Nebraska game being arguably the low point of the season, there were some positives that came from it. 

Special teams expert Nate Ebner launched a successful NFL career with the playing time he earned on the 2011 squad. He has collected 72 total tackles in six seasons with the New England Patriots as a special teamer and has earned two Super Bowl rings. Oh, and he also was a participant in the 2016 Rio Olympics as a member of the United States Rugby team. 

After entering the 2011 contest as a 10-point underdog, the Buckeyes are favored this season by 24 points. A lot has changed since Ohio State's last trip to Lincoln, Neb., and just about all of it favors the Buckeyes. 

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