Saturday, October 8, 2011
Halftime update: Ohio State leads Huskers
By Adam Rittenberg
LINCOLN, Neb. -- We've reached the break at Memorial Stadium, and surprise, surprise, Ohio State remains in total control. The Buckeyes lead No. 14 Nebraska 20-6.
Here's a quick update on the first 30 minutes:
Stat of the half: Ohio State, which entered the game ranked 108th nationally in total offense, outgained Nebraska 246-114 in the half. The Buckeyes out-rushed Nebraska 178-34.
Player of the half: Buckeyes freshman quarterback Braxton Miller. The young signal caller is growing up, folks. He completed 4 of 6 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown and, more importantly, added 79 rush yards on seven carries. Playing behind an offensive line happy to have Mike Adams back at left tackle, Miller used his speed and moves to get in the open field against an overmatched Nebraska defense.
What Ohio State needs to do: Maintain the game plan because it's working on both sides of the ball. The Buckeyes must continue to put Miller in situations where he can succeed both as a passer and as a runner, where he's very good. Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman can't go in a shell. He must remain creative with his calls and capitalize on an overzealous Nebraska defense. Ohio State needs to continue to be sound in its tackling and make Nebraska work for its points.
What Nebraska needs to do: Tackle better, for starters, and perhaps start spying Miller, who has been one step ahead of the defense all night. Being aggressive is fine, but Nebraska has repeatedly lost containment on Miller and allowed Carlos Hyde to break off a 63-yard touchdown. The offense can't start panicking if the first- and second-down runs aren't picking up big yardage. Taylor Martinez has to be a bit shaken right now after his ill-advised throw just before halftime basically gave Ohio State three more points. The fans are upset and the team looks shaken. Nebraska needs something dramatic to go in its favor.