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Football: 5 plays that mattered – Ohio State versus Nebraska

Redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) throws a pass in the first quarter against Nebraska in Memorial Stadium on Oct. 14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Ohio State rolled to another blowout victory Saturday, this time against Nebraska on the road. The Buckeyes scored at least 50 points for the fourth week in a row behind quarterback J.T. Barrett’s seven total touchdowns and a potent running attack.

Ohio State led by 35 at the half, and there were several plays that contributed to the lopsided outcome. Here’s a look at five important moments in the Buckeyes’ 56-14 victory against the Cornhuskers.

Barrett converts long third down on the ground

With 7:30 left in the first quarter, Ohio State was facing a third-and-7 at the Nebraska 31. Barrett dropped back to pass with pressure in his face. He stepped up in the pocket, and after checking off two receivers, he tooked it and ran for 18 yards.

Barrett finished the nine-play, 85-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. The middle of the field has been open all season against Nebraska’s defense, but give kudos to Barrett for recognizing that he can make long third-down conversions with his feet.

Holding call on Nebraska negates long gain

On the ensuing drive, Nebraska entered Ohio State territory with second-and-4 at the 42-yard line. With 3:01 remaining in the opening quarter, running back Devine Ozigbo took a handoff up the middle, broke three tackles and gained 17 yards to the 25-yard line. However, offensive lineman Nick Gates was called for holding and moved Nebraska back to its own 48-yard line.

Without the penalty, Nebraska would’ve had a great opportunity to put points on the board. Instead, the Huskers failed to gain a yard on the next two plays and were forced to punt.

Nebraska early second-quarter pass interference

On the first play of the second quarter, Barrett targeted redshirt sophomore H-back K.J. Hill in the end zone on second-and-3. Hill had beaten Nebraska cornerback Dicaprio Bootle on the route, but the defensive back grabbed Hill as he adjusted to the throw and was called for pass interference.

At first glance, the throw was offline, but watching the play again, Barrett led Hill back inside to the ball, which caused the pass interference penalty. Ohio State had the ball at the 23-yard line and scored just a few plays later for a 21-0 lead.

Ohio State junior wide receiver Terry McLaurin (83) catches a pass for a touchdown in the second quarter during the game against Nebraska in Memorial Stadium on Oct. 14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Terry McLaurin touchdown catch

As good as Ohio State’s offense has been, the deep pass will always draw skepticism so long as Barrett is the quarterback. In one of his best games of his career, Barrett threw possibly his best pass of the year to redshirt junior wideout Terry McLaurin.

On second-and-6 from the Nebraska 31-yard line, Barrett waited in the pocket for McLaurin to be in single coverage against a zone and delivered a perfect ball to the front-right pylon for the score.

Jordan Fuller touchdown-saving tackle

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee targeted his receiver JD Spielman in the slot on third-and-11 against Ohio State sophomore safety Jordan Fuller. With 5:40 remaining in the half, Lee converted a pass across the chains to Spielman in stride, who dashed toward the end zone with no one in front of him.

At the perceivable last moment, Fuller laid out and swiped at the feet of Spielman, tripping him up at the Ohio State 45-yard line and saving a likely would-be touchdown. Nebraska gained just five yards in its next three plays and punted the ball back to the Buckeyes.


  1. I think Barrett is just coming into his own. Great break down of the game, interested to see what happens against Penn State.

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