Saturday, October 8, 2011
It's game day at Memorial Stadium
By Adam Rittenberg
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Greetings from Husker Country, where tonight No. 14 Nebraska and Ohio State both try to avoid an 0-2 start to Big Ten play.
Who would have thought that back in April when this looked like the Big Ten's premier regular-season game of 2011? Jim Tressel, Terrelle Pryor and others were set to return for Ohio State, and Nebraska had been pegged by many to be the Big Ten favorite. Instead, both teams are coming off of humbling losses. Ohio State, which has no Tressel, no Pryor and not even DeVier Posey and Dan Herron, tries to hold its season together against a Nebraska program where angst is mounting after an unimpressive start to the year.
I really enjoyed the drive in, particularly around the stadium. Nebraska doesn't have fields and fields of tailgating that you see at Penn State, but there were some packed parking lots of revelers surrounding Memorial Stadium. For the second consecutive week, I'm seeing a ton of red. I really like the coziness of Memorial Stadium. Not sure Luke Fickell and the Buckeyes will feel the same.
There has been a ton of attention this week on Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez and the team's offensive struggles at Wisconsin. Former Huskers quarterback Tommie Frazier reportedly ripped T-Magic on Friday night at an alumni event. Martinez is anxious to silence his critics, and it will be interesting to see how he responds against a solid Ohio State defense.
Ohio State needs its defense to win this game, prevent the big plays and force some miscues from Martinez. The Buckeyes have been incredibly inept on offense, and though Mike Adams' return at left tackle will help, they'll have a tough time scoring against a Nebraska defense coming off of an "embarrassing" performance at Wisconsin.
Most folks are picking a low-scoring Nebraska win, myself included.
We'll see what happens in the What-If Bowl. Keep it here all night for coverage.