COLUMBUS — If Nebraska’s big comeback to beat Wisconsin 30-27 on Saturday night looked familiar to Ohio State fans, they weren’t alone.
Nebraska’s players were thinking the same thing.
A year ago, Nebraska made the biggest comeback in school history when it came from 21 points down to beat the Buckeyes 34-27. Saturday night, it spotted Wisconsin a 17-point lead twice, then made the second-biggest comeback ever in Nebraska football.
“We knew we had done it before and could do it again,” Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez said in his post-game press conference.
“Pretty much everyone was chattering about it.”
Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) and Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) will both go into their Saturday night game at Ohio Stadium after big wins.
OSU beat Michigan State 17-16 by being strong in two areas that Michigan State thinks are its strengths — playing defense and running the football.
“It was a fun game. It was a good team game. We fought through it and we’ll be back at it tomorrow,” quarterback Braxton Miller said after running for 136 yards on 23 carries and throwing for 179 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown on a 63-yard pass to Devin Smith.
Ohio State’s offensive line also had a good day. It allowed only one sack and was dominant on OSU’s final drive when the Buckeyes ran out the clock with nine consecutive running plays.
“Offensive linemen don’t show up on the stat sheet. So when you can do something like that, everyone knows it was on the offensive line and we responded and we reacted,” center Corey Linsley said.
“It wasn’t solely us winning the game. But in the end we really mattered and we had to step up,” he said.
Wide receiver Corey Brown called the win at Michigan State “a real confidence booster, definitely.”
Maybe the safest bet about the OSU-Nebraska match-up is that Ohio State’s players will call Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez a great player, or some variation of that, whenever they’re asked about him.
Last week, Wisconsin defensive end David Gilbert said Martinez’s unorthodox throwing motion made him “look like he’s skipping rocks out there.”
Martinez responded by throwing for 181 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 107 yards against Wisconsin.
For the season, Martinez is completing 68 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,059 yards. He has 11 touchdown passes and only one interception and is the Cornhuskers’ No. 2 rusher with 298 yards.
Ameer Abdullah (486 yards) is Nebraska’s leading rusher. No. 1 running back Rex Burkhead (273 yards) is back after missing two games with an injury.
FILM CRITIC: Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi was unhappy with the game films Ohio State provided to MSU.
Narduzzi said the films did not include motion and shifts before the football was snapped.
The two schools said the matter was settled between them and no action was taken by the Big Ten. Ohio State provided complete films on Thursday and Michigan State obtained game films from some of OSU’s earlier opponents.
GOOD WHILE IT LASTED: Ohio State had its top two running backs, Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde, available at the same time this season for the first two quarters at Michigan State.
Hall went out late in the second quarter with a knee injury and his status for the Nebraska game is uncertain.
BY THE NUMBERS: OSU coach Urban Meyer is 11-0 in conference openers in his career. His teams are 39-4 in September.
Bradley Roby’s blocked punt against Michigan State was the first of his career and the first by an Ohio State player since Ryan Shazier blocked one against Wisconsin last season.
Ohio State has beaten Michigan State eight of the last nine times they’ve played and has won seven of the last eight games between the two teams in Spartan Stadium.