On the Beat: Nebraska football then and now versus Ohio State

Nebraska football has faced Ohio State only once at Memorial Stadium in program history. The other four matchups between the two have taken place in Columbus, Ohio. But that one matchup at home? It was the Huskers’ only win over the Buckeyes — a 34-27 victory that remains the largest comeback in school history.

Six years later, Ohio State returns to Lincoln. This time, things look a little different for both teams.

Ohio State walked into the matchup on Oct. 8, 2011, as a 10-point underdog to Nebraska. This year, the Huskers are a 24-point underdog to the Buckeyes, according to sportsbook site MyBookie. That’s not all that looks different these days, though.

In 2011, interim coach Luke Fickell led Ohio State following the resignation of Jim Tressel. Urban Meyer was hired to coach the Buckeyes as the coach at the conclusion of the 2011 regular season.

Since being hired, Meyer has led Ohio State to a 66-7 overall record that includes a Big Ten title and a national title.

Nebraska’s path since that comeback win has been a little different. Bo Pelini was the coach of that 2011 team, but was ultimately fired at the end of the 2014 season. He compiled a 67-27 overall record in his seven seasons as the Nebraska coach. He was quickly replaced by Mike Riley, who is in his third season and has led his teams to a cumulative 18-15 record.

Some think Saturday could make or break Riley’s career at Nebraska. Others believe it’s best to give the coach just a little more time. Whichever side of the fence you are on — and there are a lot of opinions both ways, from a quick glance at Twitter — it’s bizarre to look at the path Ohio State and Nebraska have taken since the two met at Memorial Stadium six years ago.

Ohio State’s quarterback room is even more impressive in 2017 than it was in 2011. Braxton Miller led the Buckeyes in 2011, but he  was injured during the third quarter against Nebraska. Fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman took over for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes weren’t the same. Bauserman completed just 1 of 10 pass attempts.

In 2017, Ohio State has J.T. Barrett, Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and Tate Martell on the roster. Not a bad quarterback room overall. As for Nebraska, the Huskers have Tanner Lee, Patrick O’Brien and Tristan Gebbia.

For comparison, Lee has completed 54 percent of his passes and thrown 10 interceptions to date. Barrett has a 63.8 percent completion percentage and has thrown 1 interception. Oddly enough, Lee has been sacked 8 times, one less time than Barrett.

Regardless of which statistic grabs you, the point is that a lot has changed for both programs since 2011. The last time Ohio State traveled to Lincoln, they were projected to lose. They had a 21-point lead with 10:53 left in the third quarter before everything shifted in Nebraska’s favor.

Six years later, the Huskers are now the underdog. And by a lot.

How times have changed.

The post On the Beat: Nebraska football then and now versus Ohio State appeared first on Land of 10.

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