LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska team Ohio State faced Saturday night featured the strongest contingent of Buckeyes that this program has ever had. That broad link starts with the coaching staff, and stays concentrated through the younger members of the Cornhuskers.
Youngstown native and former Ohio State safety Bo Pelini is in his fourth season as head coach at Nebraska, while his brother Carl is the Huskers’ defensive coordinator. Carl Pelini is a Youngstown State graduate who earned his masters degree at Ohio State. Carl Pelini coached the defensive line at Ohio University before joining the Nebraska staff.
Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck is a Youngstown native, like the Pelini brothers, and attended the same high school, Cardinal Mooney, where Beck was a three-sport star.
The Cornhuskers added former University of Toledo tight end Vince Marrow to their staff this year as a graduate assistant. He was second team all-Mid-American Conference for the Rockets in 1991, then played for five different NFL teams. After stints in NFL Europe and in the XFL, Marrow moved into coaching.
He coached the tight ends at Toledo in 2008 and was the head coach at Springfield High School in 2009. He coached tight ends for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League last season.
Marrow’s son Mike, a former standout running back at Central Catholic, joined the Nebraska program this year after stops at Alabama and Eastern Michigan. The younger Marrow (6-2, 250) began his career at Alabama as a redshirt in 2009 as one of the top fullback recruits in the country after rushing for 893 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns for the Irish.
The younger Marrow originally chose Alabama over Toledo, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. He left Alabama for personal reasons, transferred to Eastern Michigan where he practiced with the team but did not play, due to NCAA transfer rules. He will have two seasons of eligibility at Nebraska after sitting out the current season.
Springfield product Kevin Williams, a member of Nebraska’s 2011 recruiting class, injured his knee and will not play for the Cornhuskers this season. Williams (6-2, 275) had more than 260 tackles and 25 sacks in his final two seasons with the Blue Devils. He was the Ohio Division II co-defensive player of the year as a senior.
MORE BUCKEYES: The parade of Ohio natives on the current Nebraska roster continues with junior wide receiver Tim Marlowe. When he committed to Nebraska and joined the 2008 recruiting class, Marlowe was the first Ohio player to join the Huskers in a decade. Marlowe (5-10, 175) has played primarily special teams for Nebraska, and has two receptions for 16 yards in 2011. He comes from Cardinal Mooney High School, the alma mater of Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini.
Cardinal Mooney has also sent offensive lineman Mark Pelini, the nephew of the Nebraska head coach, to Lincoln. A former walk-on, Pelini is a backup center for the Huskers.
Mooney graduate Braylon Heard sat out the 2010 season and has rushed 17 times for 79 yards out of the I-back position this season. Heard (5-11, 180) rushed for 1,973 yards and scored 26 touchdowns as a senior at Mooney, leading his team to a 15-0 record and a state championship.
Orrville graduate Max Pirman (6-5, 215) is a freshman linebacker for Nebraska.
STONEBURNER AGAIN: Ohio State junior tight end Jake Stoneburner, who had three touchdown receptions in the season-opener against Akron, had just one in the next four games. The Buckeyes went to Stoneburner in the first half against Nebraskat, and he scored on a 32-yard pass from freshman quarterback Braxton Miller. Stoneburner has seven career TD receptions.