The Ohio State football team travels to Nebraska to take on a Cornhuskers team that has been snakebitten this season. Despite a 3-6 record, Scott Frost’s squad has been in every single game. In fact, every loss this year for the ‘Huskers has been eight points or less, and it’s been even better in Lincoln. They’ve only lost two games at Memorial Stadium by a combined eight points.
And so, you can forgive Ryan Day for being cautious about this road trip. When speaking to reporters Tuesday, Day said he was impressed with what he’ve seen from Nebraska.
It’s March Madness right now. If you win, you move on,” Day said. “I don’t care what Nebraska’s record is, I watched film and they’re good.”
So, there are some reasons to believe that Nebraska could cause some issues for Ohio State this weekend if the team isn’t focused and executing at a high level. We’re here to uncover some things that could have Day up at night as he preps to jump on the plain and head further west in America’s heartland.
Here are five reasons the Cornhuskers could be a problem for the Buckeyes this weekend.
Tight games against good teams
Oklahoma’s DaShaun White (23) brings down Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez (2) during the Sooners’ 23-16 win Saturday in Norman. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
We’ve already touched on it, but Nebraska has played with everyone it’s been on the field with this season. It only lost by three points to Michigan, and went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma in Norman, losing by just a touchdown, 23-16. Big Red may have not been able to finish some of these games, but one of these weeks some of those bad breaks and inabilities to finish are going to turn around. Could this be the week?
Sep 4, 2021; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) looks to hand off the ball to running back Markese Steppingstones (30) during the game against the Fordham Rams in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
In this day and age of American college football, sometimes you just run into a team that’s got it all working offensively. The game plan is working, there’s momentum, and you can do little to stop what’s happening in a shootout. It’s well-chronicled how explosive Ohio State’s offense can be, but lost in all of that is that Nebraska is the second-most productive offense in the Big Ten when it comes to total yardage at 470.1 per game. The ‘Huskers haven’t always finished off drives, but the potential is there.
Nov 2, 2019; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) reacts after scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez has played a lot of football. He’s seen it all and has a good handle on what Scott Frost wants out of the offense. He may still be inconsistent, but there have been some games where he has put it all together and been the best player on the field. He has dual-threat capabilities and has the ability to change a game. If Martinez is in the zone and gets on a roll, he can make life very difficult for the Ohio State defense.
Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., hours before kickoff of the 2019 Heroes Game between Iowa and Nebraska. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Fans are back in the stands, and Nebraska has some of the most passionate and supportive fans around. The respect with which they treat opposing players and fans is legendary, but when the game is going on, they can be vocal and give the ‘Huskers a boost. Going on the road in the Big Ten is never easy, and it’ll be a challenge heading to Lincoln as well.
A season on the brink
Sep 28, 2019; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Scott Frost talks an official during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half at Memorial Stadium. Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
It has been far from a season of met expectations for Scott Frost and Nebraska. One more loss and the ‘Huskers will miss out on the postseason yet again. And while the talent on the roster is better than what the 3-6 record indicates, you are judged by wins and losses.
Nothing would put salve on a wounded 2021 season more than slaying the Ohio State beast. Make no mistake, Nebraska will have no problem getting up for the game Saturday and will play with a lot of emotion and give everything it has. In the end, it may not be quite enough, but don’t expect this team to roll over for the big, bad Buckeyes.