There’s no good way to spin this one. Nothing went right for Nebraska on Saturday.
The offense was stagnant and the defense was an open door. Essentially nothing good came out of Nebraska’s ninth game of the season.
Here’s how we grade Nebraska’s performance on Saturday, on a scale of no stars to five stars:
Offense (1 star)
There is some explanation to this. Senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong is the heart that beats life into the Huskers offense. When he went down in the second quarter, so did Nebraska’s chances. (Armstrong was taken to the hospital and was suspected of a concussion. He did return to the stadium, but his status for next week is unclear.)
Then again, nothing was going right before Armstrong went down. He finished 4-for-15 for 74 yards and an interception. His backup, senior quarterback Ryker Fyfe, wasn’t much better. He was 5-for-18 for 52 yards and an interception.
Nebraska also couldn’t run the ball. Senior running back Terrell Newby ran 13 times for 54 yards. Devine Ozigbo had three carries for negative seven yards. Nothing worked against Ohio State’s defense. Nebraska gained only 204 yards all night, its lowest output of the year by far.
Defense (0 stars)
Nebraska forced Ohio State into zero punts on Saturday. The Buckeyes either scored, or ended a quarter with the ball. That was it.
The Buckeyes put up video game numbers on the Huskers. J.T. Barrett was 26-for-38 for 290 yards and four touchdowns. Ohio State ran for 238 yards and 10 different receivers caught a pass. Curtis Samuel played like an All-American, with eight catches for 137 yards.
Nebraska did nothing to stop Ohio State. It was a complete failure.
Special teams (2 stars)
Kicker Drew Brown scored the only points on offense all night. Plus, the punt team forced a fumble. So those are two special team wins.
Freshman punter Caleb Lightbourn had a pair of 53-yard punts, but also had two punts of less than 30 yards. This was better than some other games from the special teams, but it was still unremarkable.
Coaching (2 stars)
Nebraska didn’t seem prepared for Ohio State. The offensive game plan didn’t seem cohesive. Nebraska either ran for a few yards, or threw downfield to a double-covered receiver. Nebraska is determined to run the ball, but doesn’t seem to want to adapt against teams who are elite at stopping the run.
The defense also didn’t seem ready to play, or ready for Ohio State’s speed.
Overall (1 star)
The 59-point loss was the second-largest margin of defeat in program history. Nebraska doesn’t have to change everything about the program or the schemes, but they do need to change something.
A 62-3 loss isn’t something that just happens. It doesn’t happen because a pretty good team showed up to play, or a quarterback got hurt. It happens because one team clearly has issues that were overlooked early in the season.
For Nebraska, that’s the inability to run the ball, turnovers, and not being able to get teams off the field on third down. All things Nebraska didn’t do on Saturday.