COLUMBUS, Ohio — How’s that for a response by Ohio State?
The Buckeyes followed up two of their worst performances of the year with their best. Against No. 10 Nebraska, the sixth-ranked Buckeyes controlled all facets of the game, and were superior in every way. And while 62-3 games tend to play out that way, it was still impressive that the score was in no way misleading about the gap between the teams.
As one might imagine, the grades this week were a little more positive than the Penn State and Northwestern marks. Here’s how Ohio State graded out, on a scale of zero stars to five. You can vote along with us, as well, so click on the tabs as you go along.
Here we go:
Offense (5 stars)
That was exactly what Ohio State fans were looking for, it seems. The Buckeyes had 590 total yards of offense — 352 of which came through the air — and scored on almost every possession. The only exceptions were a muffed punt by Dontre Wilson and the meaningless final drive in which the game ended.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett still misfired on a couple attempts, but he made up for those every time. His final line was remarkable: 290 yards passing with four touchdowns and no interceptions. H-back Curtis Samuel was sensational with 137 receiving yards and 41 rushing yards. He averaged 13.69 yards per touch. A total of 10 different players caught a pass. When Ohio State’s offense plays like this, it won’t be beat.
Defense (5 stars)
It took exactly three plays to learn what kind of night this would be for the Nebraska offense. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong tried to force a pass that was tipped into the waiting arms of Damon Webb. It was a short trip to the end zone for Webb, whose touchdown helped the Silver Bullets set a new program record for defensive touchdowns in a season with five.
After struggling to get key stops against Penn State and Northwestern, Ohio State had no such issues Saturday. The Huskers got into the red zone three times and came away with only three points. The other two drives other than the field goal ended with turnovers on downs. The one quibble is zero sacks, but the Buckeyes clearly didn’t need any.
Special teams (3 stars)
Ohio State didn’t punt, which is a real shame for Cameron Johnston’s friends.
— Cameron Johnston (@Cam_Johnston) November 6, 2016
Kicker Tyler Durbin made his only two field goal attempts, both of which came from 28 yards out. Ohio State gets points off, though, because returner Dontre Wilson muffed a punt that led to a turnover. There may be a solution coming in that department, however.
Coaching (5 stars)
Urban Meyer might be on to something with this whole coaching thing. He was relaxed all week, but he said it wasn’t because he saw this beatdown coming. Regardless of his ability as a fortune teller, he had his team ready to play.
Obviously, when the score is 62-3, the grade is going to be high, but here’s why it’s five stars. Ohio State is improving in areas in which it previously struggled. The passing game looked better. Samuel was utilized better. The offensive line looked better. The punting game might have looked better if the Buckeyes had actually punted. It’s all coming together.
Overall (5 stars)
Nebraska is more good than great, but there are maybe three or four teams in college football that can do to the Huskers what Ohio State did tonight. That was a ruthless performance from start to finish, and it increased the perception of the Buckeyes as title contenders.
Criticizing anything from this performance feels like nitpicking, which is a sign of just how well the Buckeyes executed. A tougher opponent awaits down the road, but Ohio State has to be confident after this showing.