COLUMBUS — One day last week, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said he wouldn’t mind a game where the Buckeyes scored in the 70s.
It wasn’t quite 70, but OSU’s 63-38 win over Nebraska on Saturday night was the kind of offensive show Buckeyes fans were expecting when Meyer brought his spread offense to town to replace the close-to-the-vest style that came before him.
It was the most points Ohio State had scored since it got 73 against Eastern Michigan in 2010 and the most the Buckeyes had scored in a Big Ten game since a 69-18 win over Minnesota in 1983.
Quarterback Braxton Miller rushed for more than 100 yards for the fourth time in six games this season for No. 12 Ohio State (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten).
“I think the O-line stepped it up big,” Miller said. “We have to just keep clicking like that. I’m learning every week. They (Ohio State’s coaches) throw something new at us every week.”
No. 21 Nebraska (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) threw a scare into an Ohio Stadium-record crowd of 106,102 when it jumped out to a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter.
But after a 28-point second quarter, OSU was up 35-24 at halftime and never trailed again.
It was sweet redemption for Ohio State, which had led by 21 points in the second half at Nebraska a year ago before the Cornhuskers made the biggest comeback in school history to win 34-27.
Miller rushed for 186 yards on 16 carries and passed for 127 yards and a touchdown.
Carlos Hyde rushed for 140 yards on 28 carries, his second consecutive 100-yard game against Nebraska, and scored four
Ohio State rolled up 498 total yards, 371 of it on the ground, after gaining only 17 yards overall in the first quarter.
Miller said he knew games like this were coming when Meyer took over. “I was imagining some type of points like this someday,” he said.
The offensive explosion began in the second quarter.
After being held without a first down and limited to 17 yards of offense in the first quarter, OSU scored 28 points in the second quarter and rolled up 242 yards in 15 minutes.
Ohio State struck first, taking a 7-0 lead on a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown by Bradley Roby with 8:29 left in
the first quarter.
But when Nebraska scored on its next three possessions, the momentum of the game appeared to be turning against the Buckeyes.
The Cornhuskers tied the game at 7-7 on a 1-yard run by Ameer Abdullah, then followed that with a 3-yard scoring run from Abdullah with 1:50 left in the first quarter for 14-7 lead.
After Ohio State came up a yard short on a fake punt by Ben Buchanan from its own 25-yard line, Nebraska got a 26-yard field goal from Brett Maher to make it 17-7.
At that point, Ohio State turned to the same answer they’ve used in times of trouble all season — have Miller run the ball.
Miller’s 72-yard run on the first play after Nebraska’s kickoff got the ball to the Cornhuskers’ 3-yard line. Two plays later, Hyde went one yard for a touchdown.
Roby’s second interception of the first half set up OSU at Nebraska’s 20-yard line and two plays after that, Miller connected
with tight end Jeff Heuerman on an 18-yard scoring pass for a 21-17 lead.
A 74-yard pass from Taylor Martinez to Kenny Bell set Nebraska up at OSU’s 4-yard line. Then, after a false start penalty, Martinez ran nine yards to put Nebraska back in front at 24-21.
All three of Nebraska’s first-half touchdowns were set up by big plays. A 73-yard run by Rex Burkhead was key in the first one, a 47-yard punt return by Abdullah contributed to the second one, and the big pass play paved the way for the third.
Ohio State regained the lead at 28-24 when Hyde ended a 75-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
Then Miller burned the Cornhuskers again. Ohio State had a fourth-and-one at Nebraska’s 31-yard line with a half minute left in the first half when Nebraska called a timeout.
But on the first play after the timeout, Miller sprinted 31 yards for a touchdown and a 35-24 lead.