Three Key Stats: Ohio State Excels on Crucial Downs, Shuts Down Nebraska's Running Game and Sets Memorial Stadium Record

By Dan Hope on October 15, 2017 at 2:22 am
Ohio State's run defense had another strong showing on Saturday night.

Ohio State has had a lot of pretty box scores lately.

That was certainly the case for the Buckeyes on Saturday night, when they dominated Nebraska to earn a 56-14 win at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, giving the Buckeyes momentum entering their bye week with their fifth straight blowout victory.

Ohio State’s final score was record-breaking in itself, and we’ll get to that before the end of this piece, but there’s also plenty of statistics that help show why the Buckeyes ended up winning by such a big margin.

Ohio State goes 12-of-16 on crucial downs

Drue Chrisman didn't punt once in Saturday night’s game, and the reason for that was that the Buckeyes converted nearly every time they needed to make a play to keep their offense on the field.

The Buckeyes went 10-of-13 on third downs and 2-of-3 on fourth downs on Saturday night’s game.

The only time Ohio State wasn’t able to convert on either third or fourth down came on its final possession of the game, when third-string quarterback Joe Burrow threw a pair of incomplete passes on 3rd-and-11 and 4th-and-11.

Ohio State scored on all of its eight possessions before that, finishing the game with 633 total yards of offense.

Nebraska runs for only 44 yards

Ohio State’s passing defense showed its vulnerability on Saturday night, allowing Nebraska quarterbacks Tanner Lee and Patrick O’Brien to combine for 349 passing yards, but the Cornhuskers still found the end zone only twice on 10 possessions.

The reason for that was the strong performance on Ohio State’s rushing defense, which held the Cornhuskers to only 2.8 yards per carry on 16 attempts. That prevented the Cornhuskers from putting together consistent drives, especially in the first half, when they went scoreless.

Eighteen of those yards came on the Cornhuskers’ final possession of the game, when the Buckeyes had taken all their defensive starters out of the game; before that, the Cornhuskers rushed for only 2.2 yards per carry.

Ohio State didn’t make the Cornhuskers go backward on many occasions in Saturday’s game – in fact, the Buckeyes had only one tackle for loss – but they held the Cornhuskers to very short gains on most of their rushing attempts, which kept Nebraska’s offense behind the chains.

Ohio State scores more points than any previous conference opponent at Nebraska

Ohio State did something on Saturday night that had never been done before in a conference game at Memorial Stadium.

Although Nebraska has been playing games at Memorial Stadium since 1923, the Cornhuskers had never allowed more than 52 points in a conference game – that mark was previously set by Missouri in 2008, when both Nebraska and Missouri were still in the Big 12 – until Saturday.

Scoring 56 points isn’t anything novel for Ohio State – the Buckeyes have done that in each of their last three games – but it is novel for a team to go into Nebraska’s home stadium and pour on the points like Ohio State did on Saturday.

Nebraska has only allowed 56 or more points twice dating back to the start of last season, and both of those games have been against Ohio State. Saturday’s game was the first time a team put up 600 or more yards on the Cornhuskers in any game since Wisconsin had 627 in its 59-24 win over the Cornhuskers in Madison in 2014.

View 13 Comments