J.K. Dobbins

Associated Press

No. 9 Ohio State looks like a contender in crushing Nebraska for second straight year

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In theory it should be the kind of spectacle only college football can produce. Ohio State and Nebraska, two programs that have been proud about their brand of football for more than a century, playing on the same field under the Big Ten banner in a primetime broadcast. What could be better?

The games, it turns out. The games could be a lot better.

The first edition was great. Ohio State went to Lincoln for the first time ever in Nebraska’s first Big Ten season, and the Huskers won, 34-27. They’ve played three times since, and none of them were close. The Buckeyes cruised 63-38 in 2012, demolished the Huskers 62-3 last season and did the same again on Saturday night, as No. 9 Ohio State had its way with overmatched Nebraska, 56-14 in Lincoln.

Ohio State scored touchdowns on its first eight drives and did not punt the entire night. J.T. Barrett posted one of the best statistical nights of his lengthy career, hitting a video game-like 27-of-33 passes for 325 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 10 times for 48 yards and two more scores. J.K. Dobbins added 12 carries for a game-high 106 yards and a long touchdown run of his own, and Mike Weber poured in 82 yards on 18 carries.

Overall, Ohio State threw for 354 yards on 39 attempts and rushed 47 times for 279 yards, adding up to 633 yards on 7.36 yards per play with 41 first downs and 10 third-down conversions on 13 attempts.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes’ defense held Nebraska scoreless in the first half for the second time this season — that feat had been accomplished once in the previous 20 years — and limited Nebraska to 44 yards on 16 carries. Nebraska threw the ball nearly every play because it knew it had no chance of running on Ohio State, but it had no chance of throwing on Ohio State, either. Tanner Lee completed 23-of-38 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns, but the lion’s share of those yards came after the Huskers were already down 42 points.

Ohio State (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten) looked every much like a Big Ten and College Football Playoff contender. Nebraska (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten) looked like a team that will be making a coaching change after the season ends.

And whoever Nebraska’s next coach is needs to just turn on the first half film of tonight’s game to see how far Nebraska is from the top of the sport.

Ohio State blowing Nebraska off its own field

Associated Press
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Ohio State has played very much like a team playing its way back into the national championship picture so far. The Buckeyes scored on all five possessions and allowed Nebraska to score on none of theirs, claiming a 35-0 lead at the break.

The Buckeyes’ first drive needed just 2:44 to travel 96 yards, the last 52 of which coming on a J.K. Dobbins burst. After forcing a three-and-out, Ohio State’s next drive covered 85 yards in nine plays, ending on a 6-yard J.T. Barrett run.

Continuing the theme of incrementally shorter drives, Ohio State’s next touches moved 80, 71, and 59 yards yards, culminating in Barrett touchdown passes to K.J. Hill and Terry McLaurin and another Barrett run. Barrett closed the half with Heisman-esque numbers: 18-of-21 passing for 203 yards and tow touchdowns with six carries for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Dobbins added seven carries for 80 yards; the Buckeyes totaled 163 yards on 21 total carries.

Nebraska mustered only 20 yards on 10 total carries, and Tanner Lee completed 12-of-23 passes for 96 yards. The Huskers managed three first downs.

Ohio State will receive to open the second half.

Urban Meyer now 10-1 vs. his former assistants with romp over D.J. Durkin and Maryland

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Once again, the teacher has taken a former student to school.

Despite an embarrassing series of first-half special teams gaffes that bled into the third quarter, and with their opponent starting their third-string quarterback, Ohio State jumped out to a 41-7 halftime lead and never really looked back en route to a 62-14 woodshedding of overmatched Maryland.  In the first half alone, the Buckeyes held a 361-26 advantage in total offense; they finished the game with 584 yards to the Terrapins’ 66, 27 of which came on a late touchdown drive following an OSU fumble by backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

J.T. Barrett accounted for four touchdowns — three passing and one rushing — in three quarters worth of work.  True freshman J.K. Dobbins led all rushers 96 yards on 13 carries.

The Terps, which were forced to go to fourth-string quarterback Caleb Henderson after third-stringer Max Bortenschlager was knocked out of the game late in the third quarter, wer limited to just 16 yards passing for the entire game.  They also averaged just 1.2 yards per carry, and their only touchdown prior to the one in garbage time came on a kickoff return for a score in the first quarter.

With the win, Urban Meyer improved to 10-1 all-time against his former assistant coaches who went on to become head coaches.  The lone loss for Meyer?  Florida’s 10-7 defeat in 2010 to Mississippi State and Dan Mullen, Meyer’s former offensive coordinator with the Gators.

Since that loss, Meyer has ripped off nine straight wins over his former assistants, all of which have come since he came to OSU.  And those wins haven’t, for the most part, even been close as the Buckeyes won those games by an average of 42.6 points per game.  The only team to come within 25 points of OSU Urban was Gary Andersen‘s Wisconsin Badgers, which dropped a 31-24 decision in September of 2013; take out that game, and margin of victory stretches to 47.6 ppg.

Below are the all-time records of Meyer assistants vs. their former boss:

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State, 1-1 (29-19 loss in 2009; 10-7 win in 2010)
Tim Beckman, Illinois, 0-3 (52-22 loss in 2012; 60-35 loss in 2013; 55-14 loss in 2014)
Gary Andersen, Wisconsin, 0-2 (31-24 loss in 2013; 59-0 loss in 2014)
Chris Ash, Rutgers, 0-2 (58-0 loss in 2016; 56-0 loss in 2017)
D.J. Durkin, Maryland, 0-2 (62-3 loss in 2016; 62-14 loss in 2017)

This was also the 200th game of Meyer’s career as a head coach, with his teams going 170-30 in that span.  His .850 winning percentage is fourth all-time among FBS head coaches behind a pair of Notre Dame greats, Knute Rockne (.881) and Frank Leahy (.864), as well as Bowling Green’s Doyt Perry (.855).  It’s the highest for any coach with at least 200 games under his belt; Nebraska’s Tom Osborne and his .836 clip in 307 career games had previously held that honor.

CFT Previews: National Signing Day

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National Signing Day is upon us once again. Or, as it might as well be known now, the day Nick Saban and Urban Meyer bash everyone’s head together one more time. The next class of All-Americans, of Heisman Trophy winners, of future stars and wacky headlines becomes official on Wednesday, and no one truly knows which players will ultimately belong where. And that’s the magic of it all.

Let’s dive right into some storylines.

– Nick or Urban? Urban or NickHeading into Wednesday’s festivities, Alabama and Ohio State are in a neck-and-neck duel for the best class according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Alabama holds a slight lead with 310.26 total points to Ohio State’s 308.78, but Ohio State (94.62) holds the edge over the Tide (93.01) in per-player average. Alabama owns five 5-stars and 14 4-stars among its 24 commitments, while Ohio State has landed five 5-stars and 13 4-stars among its 20 pledges.

– A Smart blueprint. The harbinger of Saban’s ultimate dominance came on Signing Day in 2008 when, after a 7-6 debut, Alabama inked a No. 1 class in its first full cycle under the new staff. Kirby Smart was there for that rise, and now he’s repeating the script in Athens. After an 8-5 debut campaign, Smart’s first full class has leaped from No. 8 to No. 3 nationally, per 247 composite. With two 5-stars and 18 4-stars among its 23 pledges, Georgia won’t likely catch Alabama or Ohio State but is a safe distance away from Michigan for the No. 3 ranking.

– Texas becomes the No Star State. In a year that should give longtime observers flash backs to the dark days of the 1990’s, only four of the top 20 players in the state of Texas are committed to in-state schools. In fact, Ohio State may sign as many Texas blue-chippers as the in-state schools combined, with No. 1 defensive back Jeffrey Okudah, No. 1 linebacker Baron Browning and No. 1 running back J.K. Dobbins already in the fold and an outside shot at landing No. 1 overall player Marvin Wilson. At present, only linebacker Anthony Hines (Texas A&M) and offensive lineman Jack Anderson (Texas Tech) are committed to in-state schools among the state’s top-10 players.

– Is Signing Day going to be… boring? Only 17 of the national top 100 players of the 247 composite ranking are uncommitted as of this writing. Among the top 25, only Wilson (an LSU lean) and Georgia linebacker Aubrey Solomon (Michigan or Alabama) remain uncommitted. Though the headliners may not offer much in the way of suspense, there are still plenty of second- and third-tier players lining up for our entertainment on Wednesday. If we’re lucky, perhaps one will announce his school choice while riding on the back of a dolphin.

Pitt flips 4-star RB from Ohio who was committed to Ohio State

Associated Press
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Pittsburgh’s recruiting class grew while Ohio State’s shrank Wednesday when four-star running back Todd Sibley announced he intends to be a Panther in 2017.

Sibley, a top 20 running back nationally and the 12th-best prospect in Ohio according to 247Sports.com Composite rankings, shared the news on Twitter.

The Akron Hoban High standout was an early Ohio State commit, but in May he told 247Sports he was considering more than half a dozen schools after being asked to delay his enrollment if he wished to remain a future Buckeye.

After an unofficial visit to Pitt, he said the chance to regularly rub shoulders with NFL players was a draw to him.

“It was a one day visit,” Sibley said. “A lot of things stood out. One thing that really got my attention was all the NFL access they have. They share the field with the Steelers and eat with the players and stuff.”

With eight members, Pitt’s class checks in at No. 41 after adding Sibley, who joins Homestead, Pa., safety Paris Ford to give coach Pat Narduzzi a pair of four-star commits so far.

Last year, Narduzzi signed the No. 30 class in the country, a group that included five prospects from Ohio and seven from Pennsylvania.

Despite losing Sibley, Ohio State’s class is No. 1 in the country midway through June.

Its 13 members include four-star running back J.K. Dobbins of La Grange, Texas.

In his announcement Wednesday, Sibley did not express any ill will toward Ohio State coach Urban Meyer or his staff but rather thanked them for “ultimately just giving me a shot.”