In a game that was perhaps expected to be an opportunity for Ohio State to be able to bring in some more of its players off the bench, the Buckeyes ended up playing their second-lowest total of players of the entire season in their ninth game of the year on Saturday against Nebraska.
As the Buckeyes didn’t ice the game until the final minute and won the contest by a score of only 36-31 over the 2-7 Cornhuskers, Ohio State used only 58 players against Nebraska, the fewest amount of players to see the field in a game for the Buckeyes since their third game of the season against TCU.
Those lower numbers were partially because of the close nature of the game, but also because several players who typically see playing time were sidelined by injuries, including cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, safety Isaiah Pryor, wide receivers C.J. Saunders and Austin Mack and defensive end Tyler Friday.
The Buckeyes did have one player make his season debut against the Cornhuskers, as true freshman cornerback Sevyn Banks saw playing time on the punt return unit.
Overall, though, the game action was starter-heavy for the Buckeyes once again, as Dwayne Haskins and all five starting offensive linemen played every snap on offense, while Malik Harrison, Damon Arnette, Kendall Sheffield and Shaun Wade all played every snap on defense.
Several Buckeyes played season-high snap counts as a result, including wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, defensive linemen Jonathon Cooper and Robert Landers, linebackers Harrison and Tuf Borland, cornerbacks Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield and safeties Wade and Brendon White.
We take a look at everyone who played against the Cornhuskers, in what roles and how much in this week’s edition of Snap Counts.
All snap counts listed were compiled by Eleven Warriors data analyst Matt Gutridge and should be considered unofficial, as Ohio State does not make its official snap counts public. It is not always possible to see all 11 players on the field from TV broadcast angles (especially when the Buckeyes are wearing alternate uniforms with difficult-to-read numbers), particularly on special teams plays, so exact special teams snap counts are not included and offensive and defensive snap counts could potentially differ from those tracked by Ohio State’s coaches.
Dwayne Haskins: 75
For the fifth game in a row, Haskins played every one of Ohio State’s snaps at quarterback as the Buckeyes never led by more than 12 points. Saturday’s game was the sixth game this season, including each of the last five, that Haskins has played at least 75 snaps.
J.K. Dobbins: 49
Mike Weber: 26
Demario McCall: 3
Dobbins ended up playing nearly twice as many snaps as Weber in Ohio State’s two-man primary running back rotation on Nebraska, in part because he played the entirety of the Buckeyes’ final two series, a decision Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said after the game was made because of ball security after Weber fumbled twice earlier in the game.
McCall also saw a trio of snaps at running back for his first playing time on offense since the Buckeyes’ fourth game of the season against Tulane. He had passes thrown his way on two of those three snaps, catching one of those passes for a 12-yard gain.
Johnnie Dixon: 51
Terry McLaurin: 46
Parris Campbell: 39
K.J. Hill: 36
Binjimen Victor: 26
Chris Olave: 12
Ellijah Gardiner: Special teams only
L’Christian “Blue” Smith: Special teams only
While Victor started at X receiver in place of Austin Mack, who is sidelined for the remainder of the regular season after undergoing foot surgery, McLaurin ended up playing the majority of snaps at the position. With McLaurin shifted over to the X position, Dixon played most of the snaps at Z receiver, with Olave also mixing in for his first playing time with the first-team offense.
Campbell and Hill, meanwhile, each played about half of the Buckeyes’ offensive snaps as slot receivers.
C.J. Saunders, who had seen playing time in each of Ohio State’s first eight games – primarily as a secondary slot receiver in four-receiver sets – did not play against Nebraska due to injury.
Luke Farrell: 58
Rashod Berry: 16
Jeremy Ruckert: 10
Jake Hausmann: Special teams only
After rotating fairly evenly with Berry in Ohio State’s first seven games of the season, Farrell appears to have separated himself as the Buckeyes’ No. 1 tight end, playing more than three times as many snaps as Berry for the second game in a row. Of the 16 snaps that Berry played against Nebraska, he was the only tight end on the field for only 10 of them.
All 10 of Ruckert’s snaps, tied for his highest total of offensive snaps in the last five games, came in multi-tight end sets with Farrell.
Thayer Munford: 75
Malcolm Pridgeon: 75
Michael Jordan: 75
Demetrius Knox: 75
Isaiah Prince: 75
Wyatt Davis: 3
Joshua Alabi: Special teams only
Gavin Cupp: Special teams only
Josh Myers: Special teams only
Kevin Woidke: Special teams only
Ohio State stuck with the lineup it’s used all season on the offensive line against Nebraska. Munford at left tackle, Pridgeon at left guard, Jordan at center, Knox at right guard and Prince at right tackle played all 75 snaps of Saturday’s game.
The Buckeyes did add a wrinkle to their offense, however, by inserting Davis for three plays as a sixth offensive lineman, in which he lined up as a tight end alongside right tackle Isaiah Prince. Ohio State ran the ball on all three of those plays – it wasn’t successful the first time, as Dobbins was stopped for a gain of only one yard on 4th-and-2, but it was successful on the other two plays, as Davis helped lead the way for Dobbins to run for a 2nd-and-3 conversion followed by a 3-yard touchdown run.
Jonathon Cooper: 68
Chase Young: 68
Jashon Cornell: 21
Tyreke Smith: 12
Ohio State’s two starting defensive ends, Cooper and Young, each played exactly 81 percent of the Buckeyes’ 84 defensive snaps in Saturday’s game. Cornell checked in for 19 snaps in the defensive end rotation, as well as two snaps at defensive tackle, while Smith – who has played mostly as a defensive tackle in nickel packages in previous games – was only in the defensive end rotation against Nebraska, but did not play any snaps inside.
Tyler Friday, who saw playing time at defensive end in seven of Ohio State’s first eight games, did not play against the Cornhuskers due to an undisclosed injury.
Dre’Mont Jones: 64
Robert Landers: 41
Davon Hamilton: 37
Haskell Garrett: 10
Tommy Togiai: 7
Taron Vincent: 6
Jones continued to play the majority of the Buckeyes’ defensive snaps at the 3-technique defensive tackle position, but not quite as large of a share as he had in the Buckeyes’ previous four games, as Garrett and Vincent each rotated in with Jones to play their highest snap counts since the Buckeyes’ fourth game of the season against Tulane.
At nose tackle, Landers returned to the starting lineup and played the most snaps at that spot for the first time in three games, but continued to rotate regularly throughout the game with Hamilton, while Togiai – playing in his eighth game out of nine this year – also saw another small share of snaps in the rotation.
Malik Harrison: 84
Pete Werner: 79
Tuf Borland: 64
Baron Browning: 15
Dante Booker: 5
Dallas Gant: Special teams only
Justin Hilliard: Special teams only
Keandre Jones: Special teams only
Teradja Mitchell: Special teams only
K’Vaughan Pope: Special teams only
Harrison played every one of Ohio State’s defensive snaps in Saturday’s game at outside linebacker, marking the second time this season that he has been on the field for every defensive play in a game for the Buckeyes.
Booker replaced Werner in the lineup for Ohio State’s third defensive series of the game and the start of its fourth, but after a couple of missed plays by Booker, Werner returned to the game and played every other snap at outside linebacker opposite Harrison.
Borland’s 64 snaps, meanwhile, were a substantial season-high for him at middle linebacker, as Browning only substituted in for two defensive series in the second quarter as well as a pair of plays when the Buckeyes deployed their 3-3-5 nickel defense.
Damon Arnette: 84
Kendall Sheffield: 84
Sevyn Banks: Special teams only
With Jeffrey Okudah sidelined for Saturday’s game by a groin injury, Arnette and Sheffield were both on the field for every one of Ohio State’s defensive snaps for the first time this season, as the Buckeyes did not rotate their two outside cornerbacks.
Shaun Wade: 84
Brendon White: 58
Jordan Fuller: 28
Amir Riep: 5
Josh Proctor: Special teams only
Jahsen Wint: Special teams only
Wade started in place of Isaiah Pryor, who missed Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury, and played every one of the Buckeyes’ defensive snaps – including seven snaps at slot cornerback in nickel packages, but the rest at safety.
Fuller played every defensive snap until he was ejected for targeting in the second quarter, at which point he was replaced in the lineup for the rest of the game by White.
White initially played the role of checking in at safety for nickel packages when Wade moved to slot cornerback, but Riep took over that role after Fuller’s ejection.
Blake Haubeil (kicker)
Drue Chrisman (holder)
Liam McCullough (long snapper)
Luke Farrell (blocker)
Joshua Alabi (blocker)
Wyatt Davis (blocker)
Josh Myers (blocker)
Davon Hamilton (blocker)
Gavin Cupp (blocker)
Kevin Woidke (blocker)
Rashod Berry (blocker)
With Haubeil still on place kicking duty and Sean Nuernberger still sidelined by a groin injury, Ohio State made no changes to this unit – which took the field for four extra points but no field goal attempts against Nebraska – from the previous two weeks.
Blake Haubeil (kicker)
Teradja Mitchell (gunner)
Amir Riep (gunner)
K.J. Hill or Josh Proctor or Ellijah Gardiner (gunner)
Dallas Gant (gunner)
Keandre Jones (gunner)
K'Vaughan Pope (gunner)
Justin Hilliard (gunner)
Jahsen Wint (gunner)
Brendon White (gunner)
Chris Olave (gunner)
Olave was elevated to full-time duty on the kickoff unit for the first time this season on Saturday, while Mitchell also returned to the kickoff unit for the first time in three games, replacing fellow true freshman Marcus Hooker. Everyone who saw playing time on the kickoff unit on Saturday had played on the unit previously this season.
Johnnie Dixon or K.J. Hill (returner)
Demario McCall (returner/blocker)
Teradja Mitchell (blocker)
Keandre Jones (blocker)
Dallas Gant (blocker)
Jahsen Wint (blocker)
Brendon White or Ellijah Gardiner (blocker)
Josh Proctor (blocker)
Justin Hilliard (blocker)
Jake Hausmann (blocker)
L’Christian “Blue” Smith (blocker)
Dixon was on the field as Ohio State’s lead returner for each of Nebraska’s six traditional kickoffs, but Hill took his place for the free kick after the Buckeyes scored a first-quarter safety on a punt block by Jones. McCall lined up as the Buckeyes’ secondary returner against Nebraska, but did not return any kickoffs.
Mitchell, Proctor and Smith were new additions to the kickoff return team for Saturday’s game, replacing Jeremy Ruckert, Master Teague and Binjimen Victor from the Purdue game.
Drue Chrisman (punter)
Liam McCullough (long snapper)
Teradja Mitchell (upback)
Tuf Borland (upback)
Pete Werner (upback)
Malik Harrison (guard)
Justin Hilliard (guard)
Dante Booker (tackle)
Jahsen Wint (tackle)
Terry McLaurin (gunner)
Chris Olave (gunner)
Olave filled in for Jeffrey Okudah as one of the Buckeyes’ punt gunners on Saturday and took advantage of the opportunity, making an excellent tackle at the 11-yard line. Wint was a new addition to the punt team in place of Parris Campbell. The rest of this unit remained the same from the Purdue game.
K.J. Hill (returner)
Chris Olave (rusher/blocker)
Sevyn Banks (rusher/blocker)
Teradja Mitchell (rusher/blocker)
Amir Riep (rusher/blocker)
Keandre Jones (rusher/blocker)
Dallas Gant (rusher/blocker)
Jahsen Wint (rusher/blocker)
Shaun Wade (rusher/blocker)
Brendon White (rusher/blocker)
Justin Hilliard (rusher/blocker)
Banks saw his first playing time of the season as a member of the punt return team on Saturday, while Mitchell and Wade were also added to the unit, replacing Isaiah Pryor, Jaylen Harris and Josh Proctor. Hill and the rest of the players on this unit reprised their roles from the Purdue game.
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