Nugent: Huskers match Ohio State physically, mistakes the problem
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Tell me you weren’t excited after Adrian Martinez scored the first touchdown. Moments after Luke McCaffrey ripped off a 47 yard run. The Huskers came into this wanting to run the ball on a team that will likely contend for a national championship and that’s exactly what they did early.
Key word: early.
There was a point in the second quarter where Nebraska out rushed the Buckeyes 117-54.
It ended up a stalemate with Ohio state running for 215 yards and NU 210.
That’s very encouraging, also it was a ten point game at the half, we’ll see how many times Ohio State is only up ten at the break. I’ll bet it’s not many.
I believe that first half was exactly what the Huskers want to be this year which looked like a team that can beat the likes of Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota Iowa and more.
It wasn’t until the Huskers started to make mistakes that the game got away. All in the second half. The Martinez fumble that Ohio State instantly turned into seven points, the high throw to a wide open Kade Warner in the endzone and the Luke McCaffrey fumble midway through the fourth quarter when the game was already put away.
Those three mistakes likely cost NU 18 points. The Martinez fumble was seven, the bad pass was four points, they immediately kicked a short field goal. The McCaffrey fumble happened inside the Ohio State 35 killing a 45 yard drive, they appeared to be on a roll headed to the endzone, that’s seven more.
The final margin of victory for Ohio State was 35 points, subtract 18 off that, it’s a 17 point game. Feels a lot better right? Then subtract the late touchdown Ryan Day apologized for after the game, that brings it down to a 10 point margin.
If you’re going to do this, you have to do it both ways. Nebraska recovered a third quarter Ohio State fumble at the their own 21, Ohio State likely headed in for seven there, we’ll give it to them.
Back to a 17 point margin.
That’s bigtime progress, and it’s most evident in the run game. Ohio State dominated the line of scrimmage last year, not so this time around. Look, even if Justin Fields is almost perfect, which he was, you can keep yourself in a game by being good at the point of contact. Even against a national title contender.
Limit mistakes and run the ball like that, it feels like this Huskers team is much better than a year ago.
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