Nebraska vs. Ohio State: Score and Twitter Reaction

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Between a deflating loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions and a narrow win over the Northwestern Wildcats, the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes needed to make a convincing statement.

On Saturday evening, they did just that.

Matched up against the No. 10 Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Buckeyes broke out of their slump and secured a decisive 62-3 win at Ohio Stadium to move to 8-1 on the season.

According to the Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo, the loss—which dropped Nebraska to 7-2was the Cornhuskers’ biggest since the Texas Tech Red Raiders beat them by 60 points in 2004.

ESPN provided some additional context regarding the severity of the blowout:

Ohio State was in control from start to finish, and a balanced effort got the job done—and then some—against an overwhelmed Nebraska defense.

Quarterback J.T. Barrett completed 26 of 38 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns, while the Buckeyes’ three-pronged attack featuring Barrett (eight carries, 39 yards), Curtis Samuel (five carries, 41 yards) and Mike Weber (11 carries, 73 yards, one touchdown) led a run game that ripped off 5.7 yards per carry.

However, the defense got the party started three plays into the game.

Nebraska’s offense took the field looking to draw first blood, but Damon Webb picked off a deflected pass and returned it 36 yards to help the Buckeyes seize an early 7-0 lead:

The Cornhuskers countered with a field goal, but it was all Ohio State from there.

Barrett led the Buckeyes on four first-half scoring drives that spanned at least nine plays each, and a one-yard touchdown toss to Samuel with three seconds remaining in the second quarter helped the team enter the break with a 31-3 lead.

As’s Ari Wasserman noted, Samuel’s bigger role helped wake up the Buckeyes offense after it generated 21 points against Penn State and 24 against Northwestern:

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Ohio State’s 28-point halftime lead was its largest against an opponent ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 since it was up 38-0 on Wisconsin in the 2014 Big Ten title game.

However, a sizable deficit was secondary on Nebraska’s list of concerns, given the scary scene that unfolded involving quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr.

During a second-quarter Cornhuskers drive, Armstrong’s head slammed off the turf after he was tackled near the sideline.

Medical personnel proceeded to remove Armstrong’s helmet and cut off part of his jersey, and the senior was immobilized on a backboard before being carted off and transported to the hospital.

According to a statement from Keith Mann of Nebraska’s athletic department (via Josh Peterson of 1620 The Zone), Armstrong “was briefly knocked unconscious,” but he was moving all of his extremities and talking while being attended to.

In an encouraging turn of events, Armstrong returned to Nebraska’s sideline in street clothes midway through the third quarter, as the team’s official Twitter account shared:

Nebraska handed quarterback Ryker Fyfe (5-of-18, 52 yards, one interception) the keys to the offense, but Ohio State didn’t show any mercy.

The Buckeyes opened the second half in search of a big play, and they found it when Barrett found Samuel for a 75-yard score.

Samuel finished with eight catches for 137 yards and two scores, and his speed flustered a Cornhuskers secondary that entered the night ranked 36th in the FBS with 205.4 passing yards allowed per game.

If the Buckeyes want to best the third-ranked Michigan Wolverines in three weeks, feeding Samuel will be of the utmost importance.

But before the Buckeyes clash with Michigan on Nov. 26, they’ll have to take care of the Maryland Terrapins and Michigan State Spartans on the road.

The story isn’t as bright for the two-loss Cornhuskers.

Although they have a chance to finish the season with wins over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Terrapins and Iowa Hawkeyes, Nebraska is out of the running for a College Football Playoff spot after previously assuming the form of a dark-horse contender.

Now it’s on head coach Mike Riley to prepare his team for next week’s home date with the Golden Gophers, when Fyfe could be thrust back into a big role under center if Armstrong isn’t cleared in time.

If Fyfe does happen to start, Riley may need to revise his offensive game plan.

While it was reasonable for Nebraska to air it out while down 40-plus points, deep shots proved dangerous and even reckless against an Ohio State secondary that tallied two pick-sixes on the evening.

Matched up against Minnesota, Nebraska will need to play a more efficient and composed brand of ball to get back on track following consecutive losses against Big Ten foes.

Postgame Reaction

“Wow. I didn’t see that one coming,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said, according to Land of 10’s Ben Axelrod

“Everything was clicking. The run game. The pass game,” Samuel said, per Russo. “Everything was going great tonight.”

The same couldn’t be said for the Cornhuskers. 

“That was real bad,” Riley said, per the World-Herald‘s Samuel McKewon. And we’re all responsible.”

“What it looked like to me, I didn’t feel we played very loose,” he added, per Land of 10’s Chris Heady. “I thought we were tight early. But the fact of the matter is is we couldn’t do a lot offensively and we couldn’t get them off the field defensively.”

“This team will respond,” Riley said, per Heady. “And it’s pretty raw right now to say that and I know it probably doesn’t look very good. But we’ve played through hard games, hard times, we’ve played our best ball in the fourth quarter. I’m just going to believe that’s how we’ll respond for getting ready for the next game.”