Grading the Buckeyes: ‘O’ is for overwhelming


A Monday morning grade card on Ohio State’s 56-14 win over Nebraska, the worst loss at home for the Cornhuskers since 1949:

Offense: A+

While Nebraska was the fourth team in a row which could not come close to matching Ohio State’s talent, the growth of the Buckeyes’ offense, especially in the passing game, was obvious.

Receivers who struggled to get open early in the season are getting open. J.T. Barrett is making quick decisions and getting rid of the ball and delivering it with accuracy. Since the loss to Oklahoma, he has thrown 18 touchdown passes, including five Saturday night, without an interception.

The offensive line gave Barrett time and running backs J.K. Dobbins (106 yards) and Mike Weber (82 yards) had room to run. Demetrius Knox replaced the injured Branden Bowen at right guard and played “very well” according to coach Urban Meyer.

Rashod Berry made a key block on a 52-yard touchdown run by Dobbins to start the scoring and is getting more playing time. He and starting tight end Marcus Baugh both caught touchdown passes, which might be the first time OSU has had two tight ends find the end zone in the same game since the Truman Administration.

Ohio State scored touchdowns the first eight times it had the ball, converted its first eight third-down opportunities and had 41 first downs. It did all those things without leading receiver Parris Campbell, who left the game after a hard hit early in the first quarter.

Defense: A-

Despite not recording a sack and having only one tackle for a loss, OSU’s defensive line affected the game in a big way when it led the charge that allowed Nebraska only 44 yards rushing. Devine Ozigbo, who had rushed for more than 100 yards in the Cornhuskers’ last three games before Saturday night, gained only 24 yards.

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee had been a turnover factory before Saturday night (11 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions) but Ohio State did not get a pick against him. He threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns, but both touchdowns and 207 of the yards came in the second half after OSU had built a 35-0 halftime lead.

If there was a concern, it was a familiar one. Ohio State’s defensive backs looked vulnerable to big plays, including a 77-yard touchdown catch by J.D. Spielman. Seeing defensive end Jalyn Holmes leave the game after being on the ground for several minutes was also a concern, but Meyer downplayed the situation and said Holmes was just “dinged.”

Special Teams: A-

Some people joked that punter Drue Chrisman could have stayed home since Ohio State did not punt against Nebraska for the second year in a row. Actually, he spent a lot of time on the field because he is the Buckeyes’ holder on extra points.

The Buckeyes had only one kickoff go out of bounds, which is progress. Sean Nuernberger became the Big Ten record-holder for most consecutive extra points made during the game.

OVERALL: A

Ohio State looked like a team much more ready to play Penn State when it returns to the field on Oct. 28 than it did earlier in the season.

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