Ohio State – Nebraska: Notes and Thoughts

It was unbelievable.

The Ohio State offense had been everything Buckeye fans have wanted it to be. Nebraksa had no answers for Braxton Miller. Into the third quarter of the game, the offense had been beautifully orchestrated. Short passes; passing on early downs; misdirection; and, on a few broken plays, Braxton Miller was able to pick up yards on the ground. Everything was going right when the Buckeyes took a 27-6 lead in the third quarter.

David was beating Goliath. We were all watching it, but then David hurt his ankle and had to be replaced by his disappointing older brother. An older brother who was supposed to be better with a slingshot, but who just kept throwing the rocks past Goliath’s head.

Ohio State lost tonight’s game 34-27. I write this, just a few minutes after the final whistle, and I’m not really mad, I’m numb about what transpired. Leading by 21, Braxton Miller fumbled. Nebraska would end up scoring. Like many Buckeye fans, I thought, “No worries.”

On the following drive, Miller hurt his leg. The injury didn’t look too serious, Ohio State was nearing field goal range. The offense had been a roaring locomotive, and even though senior quarterback Joe Bauserman has struggled this year, I still found myself thinking, “How much damage could Bauserman do.” At the end of the drive, coach Luke Fickell decided to punt instead of attempting a 49 yard field goal which would have put the Bucks up 17.

The Ohio State offense stopped functioning when Bauserman came into the game. On the first few drives, he still had good protection, yet continued to throw hopelessly uncatchable passes.
Many will blame Bauserman. He didn’t help the situation, but he wasn’t solely at fault for this loss.

The Buckeye defense was flat in the second half. They had the detriment of a short field to try to protect after the Miller fumble. But after giving up that touchdown, they played their worst football all season.

When Nebraska was down 7, it was already as if they were winning. The OSU defense couldn’t get a stop to save their lives and the offense was doing what Joe Bausermann offenses do best (which is have awkward looking three and outs).

When they took the 34-27 lead, the game was over. I sat watching the rest of it vainly like John Jacob Astor in Titanic, waiting for the freezing cold North Atlantic waters to come rushing in.

This game was an aberration. A commanding Buckeye lead, things were going well. Then a turnover, bad defense, bad offense, another turnover, next thing you know, Nebraska had a shocking comeback.
 
Despite the disappointment associated with this loss, there are a lot of positives. It was far and away the best we’ve seen Miller in his young Buckeye career. The offensive play calling was much more imaginative. For the first time this season, Miller also looked strong throwing down field.

jrb