LINCOLN, Neb. — Ohio State’s victory Saturday against Nebraska featured a number of statistical anomalies, but one before the game showed just how far Nebraska had fallen in the eyes of most college football observers.
The betting line closed with Ohio State as a 24½-point favorite against Nebraska despite the game being played at Memorial Stadium.
The spread wasn’t especially unique for OSU, which has been a heavy favorite for five weeks in a row. But for Nebraska at home, it was a once-in-a-generation line.
The Cornhuskers had not been that big of a home underdog since 1957, when former coach Tom Osborne was a college junior at Hastings (Neb.) College. Osborne turned 80 years old earlier this year.
Nebraska, which has the fourth-most wins in college football history and has sold out every game since Nov. 3, 1962, rarely has been in the position in which it found itself going into this game.
Since 2008, the Cornhuskers had not been a double-digit underdog at home once, but now they have found themselves in that position twice in the past two weeks. Nebraska was a 12½-point underdog last week against Wisconsin and lost 38-17.
For as bad as the spread was, it apparently was not enough. The Buckeyes scored on their first six possessions of the game and scored 42 consecutive points until the Cornhuskers finally broke the drought with a touchdown in the third quarter.
KNOX GETS NOD: The Buckeyes addressed their opening at right guard with junior Demetrius Knox, who earned the start against Nebraska. Ohio State lost normal starter Branden Bowen for the season because of a broken leg suffered last week against Maryland.
Ohio State had a brief competition with Knox, Malcolm Pridgeon, and Matthew Burrell this week, but OSU ultimately decided on Knox during the middle of the week. He also was the replacement when Michael Jordan fell injured during last season’s Fiesta Bowl.
MR. AUTOMATIC: With made extra points after Ohio State’s first two touchdowns of the game, kicker Sean Nuernberger set a Big Ten record for most consecutive points after touchdowns without a miss.
The made kicks were the junior’s 141st and 142nd consecutive makes, which overtook the previous league record for a kicker.
CAMPBELL INJURED: Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell was injured on a first quarter play. The Buckeyes’ starting slot receiver and kick returner was hit on a bubble screen and remained down on the ground for more than minute.
Minutes later, trainers took Campbell’s helmet. He did not return to the game.
RARE AIR: In the first half of the game, things went so well for Ohio State and so poorly for Nebraska the stat sheet was especially lopsided. Ohio State outgained Nebraska 366-116 in the first 30 minutes of the game, converted all six of third-down attempts, scored touchdowns on all three trips to the red zone, and quarterback J.T. Barrett completed 18 of his first 21 passes, one of which was a drop by Campbell.
When the two teams went into halftime, Ohio State was averaging almost 9 yards per play.
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