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OSU ‘out-schemed’ by Cornhuskers

Cody Cousino/ Photo editor

LINCOLN, Neb. —An upset of No. 14 Nebraska seemed possible for Ohio State last Saturday as the Buckeyes took a 27-6 lead against the Cornhuskers. Nebraska staged a late comeback to win the game, 34-27, and one OSU player said the Buckeyes were “out-schemed.”

The run-oriented Cornhuskers had managed just 37 yards on the ground and there was no indication things were about to change.

“We felt good,” OSU head coach Luke Fickell said. “We were playing well and doing what we planned on doing.”

But the plan went awry.

After the OSU offense took its first drive of the second half for a touchdown to give them a 27-6 lead, Nebraska exploded for 28 unanswered points and completed the biggest comeback in program history.

The Cornhuskers totaled 195 rushing yards in the second half, most of which came from Nebraska sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez and junior running back Rex Burkhead. Both players ended the game with more than 100 yards.

The Buckeye defense has not allowed 28 points in an entire game this season, let alone a single half. Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat said he hadn’t seen anything like it in his career.

“I’ve never been a part of anything like that,” Sweat said. “I don’t know what the magical answer is. We just didn’t get the job done.”

Senior linebacker Tyler Moeller attributed the breakdown to halftime adjustments Nebraska made that OSU wasn’t prepared for.

“They just out-schemed us,” Moeller said. “They changed up their play a little bit and we weren’t in the right gaps and they scored on us. They outplayed us.”

Defensive coordinator Jim Heacock made no excuses for the defense’s collapse after the game. He said his defensive unit just couldn’t get the Nebraska offense off the field and may have gotten a little tired.

“That could be mental, physical, I’m not sure what it was, but no excuses. To me, they just took it to us that second half on both sides of the ball,” Heacock said. “We needed to step up, somebody needed to make a play. We needed a turnover, we needed to do something and did not get it done.”

After the game, the players were frustrated with the loss, but insisted they wouldn’t give up.

“It hurts,” Moeller said. “But one thing about our team is that we fought to the end.”

The loss drops OSU to a 0-2 record in Big Ten play for the first time since the 2004 season. The Buckeyes travel to Illinois next week to take on the Fighting Illini on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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