NCAA Football – Week 6
Nebraska and Ohio State are both coming off big wins in their Big Ten openers. The Cornhuskers scored 20 straight points to come from behind to beat Wisconsin last Saturday night. Ohio State won Urban Meyer’s Big Ten debut in East Lansing in a defensive struggle 17-16. The Horseshoe will be rocking this Saturday night when these two meet in a battle of two of the Big Ten’s best.
Bo Pelini actually played football for Ohio State, so this game might mean a little more to him than an average game. Pelini’s Cornhuskers had a disappointing early season loss to UCLA, but overall the team looks much better than they did last season. The primary reason for that improvement is Taylor Martinez developing as a passer. Martinez was awful throwing the ball last year, but his passing efficiency has been among the best in the Big Ten this season. Martinez is completing 68 percent of his passes, and he has 11 touchdowns compared to just one interception. Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead are a nice tailback tandem in the backfield. The Cornhuskers are one of the best running teams in the conference.
Nebraska’s defense is the real question mark for the team. The team numbers look pretty decent for the year overall, but the UCLA game was a real eye-opener. UCLA ran up 653 yards of total offense on Nebraska. The Bruins gained 344 yards on the ground in that game. The Cornhuskers defense was disappointing last year. They’ll have to get better or this team probably won’t win a Big Ten title.
Urban Meyer’s first game in the Big Ten wasn’t an easy one, but he’ll take a win however he can get it. Braxton Miller has his name in the Heisman Trophy race because of the work he is doing for Ohio State so far this year. Miller still has a lot of growing to do as a passer, but he is one of the best running quarterbacks in the nation. Miller is easily the Buckeyes leading rusher on the season. He is averaging 6.4 yards per carry even after lost yards from sacks. Devin Smith and Philly Brown are the team’s top receivers, but the Buckeyes are definitely short on talent on the outside compared to normal. Tailback Jordan Hall is expected to miss this game, so Carlos Hyde will likely start in the backfield.
The Buckeyes defense was disappointing through the first four games, but they came through in a big way last weekend. Ohio State held Michigan State’s star running back Le’Veon Bell to just 45 yards on the ground. The strength of this defense is definitely the defensive front. Johnathan Hankins is a beast in the middle of the defense. Hankins is a defensive tackle who is big and extremely athletic. John Simon is known for his amazing motor, and he is a real leader on the defensive front as well. The Buckeyes need to improve some in the secondary. Ohio State is giving up 17 points per game.
The Buckeyes are strong on the front line defensively, and they should be able to slow down the Nebraska rushing attack pretty well. Ohio State’s offense isn’t balanced enough to consistently put up high point totals. I like the under here.
Ohio State 27 Nebraska 21