COLUMBUS, OHIO — And now, your friendly neighborhood Cornhuskers highlights from Saturday night:
— Sean Keeler (@SeanKeeler) November 6, 2016
Tommy Armstrong reentering Ohio Stadium with hospital scrubs still on… ??? pic.twitter.com/eu4uidvwky
— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) November 6, 2016
And … umm …
… well, that’s it.
Everything else, everything non-Tommy Armstrong, you might as well flush down a giant bowl and forget.
The Buckeyes scored 62 points, most allowed by a Nebraska team since The Big Ten Title Game That Shall Not Be Named (2012: Badgers 70, Big Red 31).
But, hey, it was one less than the 63 given up the last time the Huskers set foot in Ohio Stadium (also 2012).
So there’s that.
Of course, it also happened to be the fewest points the Big Red had scored as a member of the Big Ten. And the fewest in a game, period, since a 30-3 setback at Oklahoma in 2004.
That’s how bad this got: We skipped right past the negative superlatives of the Bo Pelini Era — and all the way to Bill Callahan (2004-’07), better known as Husker Nation’s four-year nightmare.
Sorry, that reminds us. One more. The margin of defeat (59 points) was the worst by a Nebraska team since Wild Bill’s first Big Red team, a bunch that lost by 60 at Texas Tech (70-10) 12 years ago.
Of course, that was west Texas. What happens in Lubbock stays in Lubbock. Or something like that.
Columbus is different.
ABC different. National television different. Top 10-vs-Top 10 (the Huskers came in tenth in the College Football Playoff rankings, Ohio State No. 6) different.
Final: Ohio State 62, Nebraska 3.
It’s tied for the second-largest win in an AP top-10 matchup in college football history. pic.twitter.com/lHFzbHJeLo
— ESPN (@espn) November 6, 2016
This felt like a Pelini moment, didn’t it? Only without the righteous, spitting, hacked-off Pelini indignation.
The short, painful lesson is that they’re not there yet, these Huskers. Still.
Not there with Ohio State anyway, which emptied the bench in the third quarter as if the Big Red were a directional school in September, happily cashing a paycheck after a massive donation of plasma and pride.
And Madison — that hang-with-it spirit, that fight in a tough environment against tough opposition — suddenly feels like a very, very, very long time ago.
These weren’t the Huskers of Camp Randall. Not before Armstrong’s awful head injury. And sure as heck not after.
There were the Huskers that kinda-sorta danced around with lightweights, the Huskers that took a while to get a feel against Purdue and Illinois in Lincoln, games in which a double-digit underdog was allowed to hang around.
Spend time trying to get a feel at The Shoe, you’ll wind up losing a few teeth. If you’re lucky.
The Buckeyes love to hit folks in the mouth here, and if they don’t, the crazed acolytes in the crowd with the nuts around their necks will. Step wrong at Ohio Stadium, you’ll be down 10 before you know it.
Or, in this case, 18.
With 12:21 to go in the second quarter and the hosts up 14-3, Buckeyes tailback Mike Weber found a lane and cut fast up the right boundary for a 23-yard score. Tyler Durbin’s extra point pushed the cushion to 21-3, Buckeyes, capping a nine-play, 83-yard drive.
On an ugly night, the second quarter was the ugliest. The hosts converted four out of five third-down opportunities in the period; one touchdown drive amassed 83 yards; the next racked up 85 as Ohio State took a 31-3 lead into halftime.
But the ugliest moment came with seven minutes left in the half, when Armstrong carried 11 yards for a first down and landed hard on the Ohio State sideline — hard and head-first. As the senior quarterback remained unconscious for several minutes, friends and loved ones closed in. Medical staff, Huskers players and coaches and, eventually, members of Armstrong’s family rushed to his side.
No. 4’s neck and spine were braced and the native Texan wplaced on a cart and taken to a nearby hospital, flashing a thumbs up to the crowd with is left hand as his transport picked up speed.
Fortunately, the extremities passed the eye test, which led to the best news of a miserable second quarter:
Statement about QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. pic.twitter.com/TdqqJW0D36
— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) November 6, 2016
Less good: The Buckeyes didn’t punt.
And the verdict from the alumni club wasn’t necessarily kind, either:
No fight in this team right now
— Tommie Frazier (@TouchdownTommie) November 6, 2016
With No. 8 Wisconsin’s victory at Northwestern and with three imminently winnable games remaining on the Badgers’ slate, the race at the top of the Big Ten West — the Huskers and Bucky are both 4-2 in league play — looks as if it’s going to need all hands on deck down the stretch.
Fortunately, Armstrong looks like he could be back. Possibly soon.
The Huskers? The Huskers’ journey might take a little longer.