Connect with us

Ohio State: What We Learned from close win for Buckeyes over Nebraska

Ohio State-Buckeyes-Haskell Garrett-Ohio State football
Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett flexed as the Buckeyes beat Nebraska. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Ohio State: What We Learned from close win for Buckeyes over Nebraska

COLUMBUS — There is no arguing about the result, and Ohio State isn’t going to apologize for a win.

Just about everything else the Buckeyes did on Saturday against Nebraska, though, seems to be up for debate.

Are victories all that matter or are style points necessary in the College Football Playoff race? Was that a tough win over an improving opponent or a disappointing outing against a team that has only won twice this season? Were those glimpses of improvement or too many signs that the issues haven’t been corrected yet?

The answers might well come down to matters of perspective — or they might be found somewhere in between those polar ends of the spectrum. Either way, the record book now has 36-31 written in it after the Buckeyes knocked off Nebraska, and that was the result they needed to stay in position to win the Big Ten.

What else is there to absorb from that game? Lettermen Row is looking back at What We Learned before Ohio State turns the page to a tough trip to Michigan State.

Brendon White looks like a difference-maker

After all the uncertainty and inconsistency from the guys Ohio State has trotted out at safety opposite Jordan Fuller, it might have taken the absence of the junior captain before it could find the guy who maybe should have been out there. Brendon White was always supposed to get a chance to show what he could do in the nickel package against Nebraska. But with Isaiah Pryor injured and Fuller ejected in the second quarter, the Buckeyes had to turn to White for a more prominent role — and he delivered a team-high 13 tackles. It’s fair to wonder based on that performance what exactly took so long to get the sophomore on the field, but it definitely looks like he should stay there now.

Brendon White-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State got an unexpected performance out of safety Brendon White. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State rushing attack is back in business

Success against a suspect Nebraska defense might have to be taken with a grain of salt or two. But considering just how poorly Ohio State had been running the football lately against a similar level of competition, the return of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber as game-changing rushers against the Huskers has to be a welcome sight anyway. Dobbins earned most of the acclaim after racking up three touchdowns and finishing with 163 yards, but don’t discount the work Weber did to spark the attack in the third quarter. Without his tough, second-effort carries as part of his 91-yard effort, the outcome could have gone another way for Ohio State.

Silver linings there for Silver Bullets

The scoreboard didn’t look that appealing for a proud defensive program, and there were again a couple big strikes allowed through the air. But considering all the injuries Ohio State is still dealing with on that side of the ball and the challenge of slowing down a creative Nebraska offense, there were actually some positives from that outing to be found for defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. The Buckeyes gave up less than 4 yards per carry, answered when the pressure was on by posting a third-quarter shutout to switch momentum and watched linebackers Malik Harrison and Tuf Borland step up to deliver 21 combined tackles for a unit that’s been under fire. The Silver Bullets obviously weren’t perfect, but it’s possible they could be on the upswing.

Dwayne Haskins-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Dwayne Haskins added two more touchdown passes to his total leading Ohio State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Dwayne Haskins is human

Ohio State wasn’t going to count on its star quarterback for 400 passing yards every week, and at some point the prolific production from Dwayne Haskins was bound to slow down just a bit. The redshirt sophomore didn’t get quite as much help from his receivers as normal with a handful of drops deflating his numbers, but he also made at least one poor decision for an interception and coughed up a fumble after getting blasted from behind in the pocket. Even with those couple negatives, Haskins still threw for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns to start November off with a victory.

Bad luck for Ohio State getting absurd

The Buckeyes can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to the injury bug. And it appeared to also get unlucky with a questionable targeting call that only added to its short-handed difficulty on defense. Rather than run down all the various health issues the Buckeyes have dealt with this season, the new ones that popped up in the secondary alone just coming out of the off date are enough to prove the point. By the second quarter when Fuller was ejected, Ohio State was without both safeties and rotation cornerback Jeffrey Okudah — so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Nebraska made a couple plays through the air. Just like the Buckeyes have gone through a spell where the entire defensive line was seemingly injured, now another unit is dealing with a rash of issues.

13 Comments
avatar
8 Comment threads
5 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
11 Comment authors
JoeMicha RobinsonJackDon SelbyJamie Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Troy
Guest
Troy

I do not like our LBs. They look to be undersized and constantly out of position or unable to shed blocks. I hate to be a hater, but our DEs have been a non factor, well them being over-aggressive is a factor as they take themselves out of plays. Whatever happened to playing “tough” gap football? There seem to be huge running lanes for QBs against us. Sorry, just as frustrated as everyone else.

jbirmmd
Guest
jbirmmd

Defense has no positional discipline. These guys just fly towards the ball and repeatedly get killed by misdirection or counter movements, or make themselves easy blocking targets

Micha Robinson
Guest
Micha Robinson

I agree the LBs have not looked good. But I don’t think it’s a talent issue. I think this is on Schiano. The entire back line D is playing slow and I wonder if it’s because Schiano is getting too cute and complicated with packages. Players are out of position and look lost far too often. There is a ton of talent on this D, simplify things and let them fly to the ball.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Watching Alabama is eye-opening. 4 (or 5 at most) get great pressure and the LBs fly around and tackle consistently. We are so far behind.

Buckeye Phan
Guest
Buckeye Phan

While things were some bright spots for the defense all in all they aren’t playing at a championship level yet. We have the talent and it’s time the defensive coaches get their act together and help these young men to put that talent on display. You have to wonder how the defensive coaches didn’t realize Brendon White was ready for the spotlight. Is there more talent that has just been left on the bench?

Jack
Guest
Jack

We have a 4 star center sitting on the bench.

Kid Buckeye
Member
Kid Buckeye

Creative offense? All you need to do to score on the Buckeyes is get a TE or a RB one on one with one of our slow LBs, Running game back? We will see next weekend when we play a defense with a pulse. Yes White looked like he needs some playing time. Haskins is too worried about getting hurt and is pass plays. Think he calls for the pass ( on the RPO plays) because he is afraid to get hit and it will make him look better for the NFL. Not a team player or leader IMO.

jbirmmd
Guest
jbirmmd

I too feel he is in self protection mode. Not good for the team, IMO.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Borland makes tackles but they’re 7 yds down the field. He’s too slow to catch up to players running wide.

Jack
Guest
Jack

Tuff in name only.

Don Selby
Guest
Don Selby

I think this team is soft, they miss too many tackles, and in important situations our backs and receivers have to quit running out of bounds 1 yard short of a first down, put you’re head down and get that extra 2 or 3 yards for the fírst down. The coaching, especially early in games is terrible. The team looks confused, there are huge gaps in middle of the field, and almost every QB runs all over us. I still believe this team can rally, and win a championship, but there has to be more passion, and a willingness to… Read more »

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

The secondary gives a ~10 yard cushion when they need to play tight. The LBs scramble when they need to “play big” to stop the run. Is Shiano oblivious to what is glaringly obvious to almost everyone? Why aren’t adjustments being made during play to correct these issues and why is Meyer so passive in allowing it to happen? This isn’t Buckeye football and true fans are getting tired of hearing excuses. Either fix the problems and make nessecary changes or step aside and get out of the way while someone with some passion for winning does!

Joe
Guest
Joe

I saw Brendon White play a few times at Olentangy Liberty and I knew then, this kid had the talent to play early at OSU, I don’t understand why it has taken so long for him to play, when we were not getting production from Pryor. We also have 5 star talent sitting on the Oline, in Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers, while the current offensive line struggles. WTF ?

Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.

To Top