COLUMBUS, Ohio – Here are some early takes and reactions from Nebraska’s season-opening 52-17 loss at Ohio State on Saturday.
This game played out kind of how we expected
I think going into this game, most of us had a fairly realistic expectation. Nebraska is going to be improved in 2020, but they are still no match for a team like Ohio State over four quarters.
That’s exactly how things played out Saturday in Columbus. The Huskers showed a lot of fight, made some big plays, but at the end of the day, the Buckeyes still have too much.
OSU is one of those teams where if you give them an inch, they take a mile. Little things like delay of game and holding penalties proved costly for Nebraska’s offense. Once Scott Frost’s team got behind the chains and faced situations like first-and-15 and first-and-20, they just aren’t there yet to make up that type of deficit against a team like this.
There was still a lot to like about what we saw from the Big Red. They are better up front on both sides of the ball. Their defense held up well against the run, but they failed to get pressure on Justin Fields.
Offensively, when the Huskers are in rhythm they are hard to stop. Frost’s opening playscript was a thing of beauty. You could tell they put a lot of time in preparing and executing for that moment.
However, after their field goal drive in the third quarter, the Huskers offense failed to do anything the rest of the game.
Nebraska’s offense is better in 2020, but still not there
I’ll say it right now: Nebraska’s offense is better than it was a year ago. It’s more complete and when they were in-sync, they are very hard to stop.
Adrian Martinez also appears to have shaken off most of his sophomore slump. He played motivated and looked more decisive as a runner.
I was a little surprised though we didn’t see more shots down the field. Everything in the passing game was underneath or in the flats for the most part.
I also would’ve like to have seen Dedrick Mills get into more of a rhythm, but the flow of the game didn’t allow for it once OSU pulled ahead.
Big Ten refs penalize the Huskers with some costly targeting calls
Think about this, Nebraska nearly lost three of its 11 starters on defense to targeting calls.
As it stands, outside linebacker JoJo Domann’s was overturned, while both defensive backs Cam Taylor-Britt and Deontai Willaims were ejected in the second half for targeting calls.
The parting gift is those penalties will carry over to next week as well, as both Williams and Taylor-Britt will miss the first half of the Wisconsin game.
It’s one of the silliest rules in college football. I get throwing them out of this game, but carrying it over to next week is awfully costly. You can also argue that both calls were debatable.
For a secondary that’s already down Braxton Clark, losing two more starters puts the Huskers in a very tough spot for next week. Those first-half Wisconsin play-action pass plays are going to be an adventure for NU’s secondary.
Ohio State is a playoff team, no question
Did Ohio State come out and play a perfect game on Saturday? But the Buckeyes looked as good as anyone I’ve seen during this young college football season.
Justin Fields certainly looks like a Heisman finalist. It made it look relatively easy all day.
However, OSU lack of production from its running backs is a cause for concern. I’m sure going forward that’s going to be a big emphasis to improve in the coming weeks.
This still looked like a team we’ll be watching the playoff. Fields is the best player in the Big Ten right now, and I’m not sure who would the second-best as of today. He’s the face of this conference right now.