Halftime Breakdown: Nebraska vs. Ohio State
For those expecting an offensive shootout between Nebraska and Ohio State, the first half did not disappoint.
The teams combined for 59 points and 536 yards of offense, as the Buckeyes took a 35-24 lead into the break.
Momentum has changed hands several times. OSU grabbed it first on Bradley Roby’s 40-yard interception return for a touchdown that opened the scoring. It was the first interception returned for a touchdown since the Penn State game in 2010.
Then Nebraska got a long run from Rex Burkhead that got the Huskers moving, who scored the next 17 points.
The Buckeyes grabbed control in the second quarter, after a paltry performance in the first 15 minutes on offense. OSU managed just 17 yards total.
The first first down of the game for the Buckeyes didn’t come until the second quarter, on Miller’s 72-yard run that set up Carlos Hyde’s touchdown. The play matched the Miller touchdown pass to Devin Smith against California for the longest play of the season for Ohio State.
For the second quarter, OSU totaled 243 yards of offense, more than Nebraska’s 241 for the entire half.
Another Roby interception helped the Bucks re-gain the lead, when Miller connected with tight end Jeff Heuerman on an 18-yard score, the first touchdown on his career.
Nebraska came right back on a controversial 74-yard pass play from Taylor Martinez to Kenny Bell. Bradley Roby was flagged for a late hit, and Ryan Shazier also drew laundry for a face mask, while Bell grabbed the face masks of both Orhian Johnson and Shazier without consequence.
Once again, the hosts had an answer. This time Miller went to his other tight end, Nick Vannett for a 32-yard pick-up, setting up Hyde’s second score of the game from seven yards out.
The Buckeyes ran the two-minute offense to perfection, getting a 31-yard touchdown from Miller on fourth and one with just 23 seconds remaining in the half.
Despite the slow start, Miller—who shook off more injuries—ran for 137 yards on ten carries with a score, while throwing 11 times, completing five for 78 yards and another score.
For the Huskers, Rex Burkhead has 13 carries for 95 yards, with 73 coming on one play. Martinez has 26 yards on the ground, and a score, while competing four of eight for 95, but with two costly interceptions.
Injuries are a concern once again. Miller had to take a couple plays off, and Johnathan Hankins and Ryan Shazier also came off before returning. Etienne Sabino was not as fortunate, and his absence has thrown Olentangy freshman Josh Perry into the fray.
Shazier has still managed a team-leading nine stops, one more than safety Christian Bryant. Roby has three tackles to go with his two interceptions, the first two of the year for the sophomore.