LINCOLN – J.T. Barrett is in the end zone. Nebraska defensive back Joshua Kalu is flat on his back after being run over by the Ohio State quarterback.
Barrett’s 3-yard run was the fifth and final Ohio State touchdown before halftime. The play summarized the Nos. 9 and 8 Buckeyes 56-14 domination over the Huskers Saturday night.
“Miserable night,” Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco repeated three times after the game. “It was all disappointing. Nothing that was not disappointing about tonight’s performance at every level.”
How bad was it for Nebraska’s defense that came in ranked 61st against the run and 73rd in scoring? Ohio State found the end zone on eight of nine drives. It racked up 633 yards (354 passing and 279 rushing) and 41 first downs – the most Nebraska has ever allowed.
“We got young guys doing jobs against great players, great teams,” Diaco said. “A real test for players that are new.”
Ohio State (6-1 overall, 4-0 in the Big Ten Conference), the nation’s fourth-ranked total and scoring offense, averaged 7.4 yards on 86 offensive snaps during a second straight blowout over the Big Red. Ohio State’s point total is the most allowed by Nebraska against a conference foe at Memorial Stadium.
Last November, Ohio State’s offense posted seven opponent season highs against Nebraska during a 62-3 triumph.
The sequel was worse for the Blackshirts.
“Ohio State’s a great football team,” Diaco said. “The quarterback may be the most prolific passer in their history.”
Barrett sliced and diced Nebraska (3-4, 2-2) with 373 total yards (325 passing and 48 rushing). He accounted for seven touchdowns (five throwing and two running) as Ohio State set a school record with its fifth consecutive game of 500 or more yards in total offense.
For the second straight Saturday, Nebraska put a Big Ten true freshman running back on the radar for NFL scouts.
Jonathan Taylor rushed for 249 yards during Wisconsin’s 38-17 win a week ago. It was J.K. Dobbins’ time to shine under the Memorial Stadium lights.
Dobbins racked up 148 total yards (106 rushing and 42 receiving). The 5-foot-10, 208-pounder from La Grange, Texas, busted off a 52-yard run to complete a nine-play, 96-yard opening drive to give Ohio State a 7-0 lead with 10:47 left in the first quarter.
The yards and points kept coming. The balanced Buckeyes averaged 8.7 yards on 42 first-half snaps with 203 passing and 163 rushing yards en route to a 35-0 lead.
“Coach (Mike) Riley talked about pulling together, building in the bye week,” Diaco said when asked about the post-game message for the Huskers. “Building a team, it takes time. I talked to the defense about preparation. I talked to the defense about where we are and where we can be.”
Where Barrett and the Buckeyes put Nebraska was in a deep hole that led to a half-empty stadium for the second half.
Barrett’s 6-yard run gave Ohio State a 14-0 lead with 5:39 left in the opening period. The senior signal caller tossed scoring passes to wide receivers K.J. Hill (16 yards) and Terry McLaurin (31 yards) before his zone-read rushing touchdown with 1:10 left in the first half.
The few thousand fans left went wild when the Blackshirts recorded their lone defensive stop with 4:07 to play. Ohio State played backup quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow on the drive and still gained 57 yards on 13 plays over 6:21.
So where is Nebraska’s defensive confidence after back-to-back home setbacks?
“I wouldn’t say worry,” Diaco said. “I don’t think that’s a fair word. It will need care and attention.”