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One game after not being responsible for any touchdowns in a win against Northwestern, junior quarterback J.T. Barrett threw for four TDs, a pair of which went to Curtis Samuel, and the defense returned two interceptions for scores as No. 6 Ohio State pounded #9 Nebraska 62-3 on Saturday night.
The Buckeyes (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten) led 31-3 at the half as Nebraska, who lost quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. to injury in the second quarter, had no answer.
Samuel, the junior H-back had 137 receiving yards on eight catches, including a 75-yarder for a TD to open the third quarter, and added 41 rushing yards on five carries.
Barrett was 26 for 38 for 290 yards and freshman Mike Weber had 72 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries against the Cornhuskers (7-2, 4-2).
OSU had 590 total yards while Nebraska had 204.
Junior safety Damon Webb gave OSU a 7-0 lead with a 36-yard pick six in the first quarter to set an OSU team season record with five interceptions for scores and sophomore safety Malik Hooker added another pick six in the third quarter before a 108,750 fans, the second largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history.
OSU beat Nebraska 63-38 in the Huskers’ last visit to Columbus in 2012.
The game had a scary incident with 6:03 left in the second quarter and the Buckeyes ahead 24-3.
Armstrong ran for 19 yards to the OSU 24 on a 3-and-7. As he reached the left sideline junior linebacker Chris Worley hit him in the knees and Armstrong fell out of bounds and landed on his head.
He briefly lost consciousness and was stretchered from the field after a lengthy delay and taken by ambulance to the hospital as a precaution. He returned in sweats to a standing ovation and jogged to the Nebraska bench with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
How It Happened
A pick six gave the Buckeyes a quick 7- 0 lead at 13:26 on the third play from scrimmage.
With 3 yards to go from Nebraska 31, Armstrong’s pass was tipped by junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan and then by sophomore safety Marshon Lattimore into the hands of Webb at the Huskers’ 36. His teammates went into blocking mode and he raced down the right sideline, cutting back at the 7 before scoring.
The Huskers responded with a sustained drive of 15 plays and 72 yards that consumed 5:41 but only resulted in a 20-yard field goal by Drew Brown with 7:45 left in the first quarter.
After sophomore Parris Campbell returned the kickoff 39 yards to the OSU 43. the Ohio State offense took to the field for the first time with 7:35 left in the quarter.
Barrett guided the Buckeyes 57 yards in 10 plays, completing 5 of 6 passes for 49 yards. The biggest was a 22-yard strike to senior Dontre Wilson on a third-and-20 from the Nebraska 31. Three plays later, Barrett avoided pressure and spotted sophomore receiver Terry McLaurin for a 7-yard TD and a 14-3 lead with 3:16 remaining in the first period.
OSU took a 21-3 at 12:21 of the second quarter with the aid of a pass interference call against Nebraska cornerback Chris Jones on Samuel at the Huskers’ 4. The penalty left OSU 28 yards from the end zone. After Barrett ran for 5, Weber rushed around the left end and scored from 23 yards.
Nebraska went three-and-out and a 28-yard punt put the Buckeyes in position to put the game away with a start point at the Cornhuskers’ 31. OSU used nine plays but went just 20 yard and had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by senior Tyler Durbin after freshman Binjimen Victor was ruled to be out of bounds on a catch attempt into end zone by Barrett. The score was 24-3 with 8:22 left before halftime.
Nebraska’s last chance to stay close ended when Armstrong was injured. He was replaced by senior Ryker Fyfe, who on a fourth-and-1 from the OSU 15 rolled right but was pressured by junior end Tyquan Lewis into a hurried incomplete pass with 3:42 left.
The Buckeyes took over and used all but three seconds to take a 31-3 lead into halftime, marching 85 yards in 15 plays. Barrett had a 20-yard run and Samuel caught three passes for 36 on the drive to set up the scoring play with 7 seconds left and the ball on the Nebraska 3. Coming out of their last timeout, Barrett took the snap, rushed the line then stopped and did a Tim Tebow-like jump pass to an open Samuel with 3 seconds.
Samuel had seven catches for 62 yards and 41 more on the ground on five carries in the first half.
He added to his totals 12 seconds into the third quarter with the long TD reception to make it 38-3. He caught the pass at the Nebraska 36 where he shirked a would-be tackler.
The score reached 45-3 at the 10:00 mark when Barrett capped a nine-play, 87-yard drive with a 6-yard TD pass to sophomore Noah Brown. The drive included a 24-yard run by Weber.
Durbin added a 28-yard field goal by Durbin with 1:35 left in the third and Hooker’s return 61 seconds later made it 55-3. Backup freshman quarterback Joe Burrow had a 12-yard TD run with 7:19 left in the game to make it 62-3.
Armstrong was 4 for 15 for 74 passing yards and added 19 more on the ground before leaving.