OVERVIEW: Nebraska waltzed into Ohio State Saturday night with only loss, and limped home as battered losers to a total Buckeye domination. For Ohio State? The Buckeyes got back to playing championship football, and it has to be a welcome site to a team that appeared to be lacking confidence in itself as well as a staff that seemed to not trust their players. Where does Ohio State go from here? They are not losing to either Maryland or Michigan State the next two weeks, and then it all comes down to the battle with Michigan. To get to the playoffs all Ohio State has to do is win four straight games, all in which they will be favored in.
THE COACHING: I'm a firm believer that players win games, but coaches need to put said players in a position to be successful, and that's exactly what we saw Saturday night. You can't ask more from the players than what the coaches received, and just as importantly, the Ohio State coaches were superb in game planning and play calling. Urban Meyer had his troops ready to play their best, and that they did. And the coordinators were totally ahead of the Huskers at every turn.
WHO STOOD OUT FOR THE DEFENSE? Greg Schiano has seen his unit not be as sharp the past few weeks, but they returned to playing championship football once again. There's no question Schiano is a defensive witch, and he was able to tighten up his pass coverage, while stifling the Nebraska run game. Just about every Buckeye stood out on defense, but two guys that have been playing "OK" took their games to "IMPRESSIVE". Both Raekwon McMillan and Sam Hubbard have had moments of good play this season, but maybe not consistent great play. Saturday night, both players played at All-American levels. Loved Hubbard's range and quickness, while McMillan made a lot of plays. Heading into the stretch drive, I believe this unit is set to play the way Ohio State needs them to play.
WHO STOOD OUT FOR THE OFFENSE? Bringing in Lincoln Riley to call the plays Saturday night was pure brilliance on Meyer's part. Wait, that's not what happened? Well then, who DID call the offense? Not only because it worked, but the play calling was brilliant Saturday night because they used the whole playbook, and involved a ton of players. They threw on first down. They threw it deep. The hammered Mike Weber. They threw it in the Bermuda Triangle of the middle of the field. They acted like they really believe Curtis Samuel is a good football player. They even let Binjimen Victor come out to play, and they threw him the football. They trusted the O-line to execute anything they called. AND THEY TRUSTED J.T. BARRETT, even after he missed some throws early in the game. Now, will they call plays like this in a tie game with Michigan in the third quarter? Or run the QB in the zone read because they're too scared to open the offense? We are going to find out in three weeks. If they attack Michigan, and not play like they have in big games in the past, they can definitely beat the Wolverines.
THE SUMMARY: If the offense plays like this they can beat anyone in America. If they play like they did a week ago, they can lose to Maryland. As many have said before, this is a different team when they're attacking offensively with tempo and running the entire playbook. As to where Ohio State stands right now? They're in perfect position to go on a roll, and things are set up for them to beat the remaining three teams and get to the Big Ten title game. If they build off Saturday's offensive philosophy, the sky is the limit for this team. If they go back to playing safety-first offense, they will not beat Michigan.