Posted on September 29, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Ohio State was projected to be on the outside looking in of the College Football Playoffs (CFP) when the season began. Their odds were not bad, but Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Michigan all had better odds. With a new quarterback and no Urban Meyer, it was not hard to imagine the Buckeyes slipping a little bit this season.
Instead, they appear to be doing the opposite. After demolishing a good Nebraska team Saturday, it may be safe to say the Buckeyes deserve one of the four CFP slots (so far).
The Buckeyes were favored by 17 points entering the game. But Nebraska was still expected by many to be competitive, yet, they were anything but. Ohio State scored on their first six drives of the game (five touchdowns and a field goal) and had a 38-0 lead at halftime. On drives the defense didn’t force the Nebraska offense to go three and out, they intercepted Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez.
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With the game well in hand, the Buckeyes took it easy on the Cornhuskers in the second half. They tacked on another touchdown and field goal on their first two drives to make the score 48-0 late in the third.
But then Nebraska was able to get on the board with a five-play, 75-yard drive that Dedrick Mills capped off with a nine-yard touchdown run. That made the score 48-7, which was also the final score.
Ohio State entered the game with four big wins under its belt, but they were all against inferior competition. The Cornhuskers were the first team expected to put up a fight. However, were the Buckeyes as good as advertised or were they a product of their competition to date?
“We talked about what it would take to win this game on the road,” Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said after the game, via ESPN, “and we hit on all cylinders. We assumed it would be hard. We’ve been preparing for this game for a while. Any time you have to go on the road and win a night game, we know that’s not easy in this league.”
Justin Field had a productive day completing 15 of 21 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns. He also tacked on another 72 yards and a touchdown in the ground game. J.K. Dobbins gave his Heisman campaign a boost with a 177-yard day (24 carries) but failed to get into the endzone.
The Heisman campaign for Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez took a hard hit, though. He completed eight of 17 passes for 47 yards and three interceptions.
Their soft schedule will likely keep them out of the top four when the first CFP poll comes out. But a win over a ranked Michigan State team next week will help their case.
However, they will have ample opportunity to earn a slot down the stretch, too. Three of their last five games are against ranked teams (Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan).