Three Key Stats: Possession Efficiency, Turnover Battle, and Trouble for Adrian Martinez

By Jake Anderson on September 29, 2019 at 8:00 am
Chase Young chases Adrian Martinez
Bruce Thorson – USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was fun.

Ohio State thoroughly dominated Nebraska, winning 48-7. It was the second-ever matchup between two programs with over 900 wins (the first was last year's Ohio State-Michigan game). 

In today's Three Key Stats, we'll look at Ohio State's possession-to-possession efficiency, the turnover battle, and how keeping Martinez in check decided the game early. 

The Buckeyes scored on eight of their eleven drives.

Almost every time the offense stepped on the field, points went on the board. The Bucks averaged 4.4 points per drive, keeping Drue Chrisman off of the field for all but one punt. 

With starter Justin Fields in the game, Ohio State scored on eight of their ten drives. Their two miscues were at the end of the half and Chrisman's lone punt. 

Continuing, the Bucks were able to convert in the red zone; the offense converted eight red zone possessions into eight scores. The Bucks now have 24 red zone touchdowns on 29 red zone attempts on the season. 

The Bucks won the turnover battle once again, pushing the season's total differential to +6.

As offenses have become more spread and passing oriented, turnovers have become more and more important. It is no longer enough to have a defense that is preventative and tries to limit big plays. 

The Ohio State defense has been on the attack all season. 

With three interceptions against Nebraska and a forced fumble by Chase Young, the Buckeyes are one of the best teams in the nation at taking the ball away. 

But that is not enough, of course, as keeping control of the football is just as important. Justin Fields continued his near-perfect play as he has now thrown for 22 touchdowns with zero interceptions. He said he wants to keep it that way. 

Fields was clinical against Big Red. Can you believe Georgia picked Jake Fromm over him? 

The Silver Bullets kept quarterback Adrian Martinez in check, allowing just 47 pass yards and one touchdown on the night.

Martinez has been a menace for opposing teams this year, throwing for over 1,000 yards through four games with a passer rating of 160.1. He has been discussed among the conference's elite and is leading a Cornhuskers team that started the season ranked. 

Against Ohio State, none of that mattered.

The Buckeyes held the quarterback to less than 50 passing yards, a passer rating of just 35, and sacked him three times. At one point, Martinez had a tough time figuring out who was on his team. 

The true sophomore eventually settled in, but still struggled the rest of the way. If you take away his big 56-yard run late in the fourth quarter, he ended the game with just 72 total yards on 32 plays contributed (passing attempts plus rushing attempts). 

The win over the Cornhuskers, who were ranked to begin the season, was certainly a wake-up call to anyone that has been doubting the Buckeyes. Ohio State will play its first ranked foe next weekend as Sparty comes to town. 

View 41 Comments