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No. 10 Ohio State looks nothing like playoff contender in outlasting Nebraska

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Thanks to an off weekend, Ohio State had a couple of weeks to right what went horribly wrong in the 29-point loss to Purdue in Week 8. Based on what went down at Ohio Stadium Saturday afternoon, they probably could’ve used a couple (or a few) more.

Showing they were in for an all-day battle against a team that came in at 2-6, and with boos from the home crowd very audible, the Buckeyes entered the halftime locker room down 21-16 thanks in large part to a pair of turnovers that led to 14 Cornhusker points.  A pair of touchdowns late in the third quarter, however, gave OSU a lead it would never relinquish in a 36-31 win that was far from as easy as the last two meetings between the schools (combined score: OSU 117, NU 17).

Trailing by nine with under eight minutes left in the game, an 18-yard field goal brought the ‘Huskers to within six at 30-24.  Three minutes later, however, J.K. Dobbins seemingly put the game away with a 42-yard touchdown run that, with a failed two-point conversion, pushed the lead out to 12 with 4:52 remaining in the contest.

On the ensuing possession, a 75-yard touchdown drive punctuated by a 17-yard Adrian Martinez touchdown pass to JD Spielman pulled the feisty Cornhuskers to within five with less than three minutes left in the game.  A healthy dose of Dobbins on the final drive bled out the rest of the clock and dashed any hopes the Cornhuskers had entertained in pulling off what would’ve been a huge upset.

All three of NU’s first-half scores came on the ground, which continued a troubling trend for OSU this year.  In 14 games last season, the Buckeyes allowed 13 rushing touchdowns; through nine games this season, they’ve allowed 15.

Another area of concern, though, showed some signs of life for the Buckeyes.  After struggling in the running game for a good chunk of the season, OSU ran for 229 yards — unbelievably, its most since Week 2 vs. Rutgers — paced by Dobbins’ season-high 163 and aided by Mike Weber‘s 91.  The former also accounted for a trio of touchdowns on the ground.

That said, the past two games have exposed the Buckeyes as a team that, as currently composed and presently playing, should not be considered one of the top four teams in the country despite their better-than-it-looks 8-1 record and No. 10 ranking in the initial CFP Top 25. The good news for OSU is that there are loads of talent on the roster — injuries are admittedly hampering the defense — and they have a pair of road games (Michigan State, Maryland) to help get them right before a matchup against hated rival and fifth-ranked Michigan in the Horseshoe the last Saturday of November — a matchup that will very likely decide the East’s representative in the Big Ten championship game..

Based on how both teams are playing at the moment, though, the Wolverines have to feel more confident than ever that they can end their drought in The Game — even if it will be in the not-so-friendly confines of Ohio Stadium.

Nebraska finally wins first game under Scott Frost with blowout of Minnesota

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Well, it took a while, but Scott Frost has his first win as head coach of Nebraska. The Huskers (1-6, 1-4 Big Ten) picked up their long-awaited first win of the season in a 53-28 victory over Minnesota (3-4, 0-4 Big Ten) on Saturday.

Nebraska jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the Gophers in the first half, but a late touchdown by Minnesota at the end of the first half and two scores in the third quarter brought about some concern form the Husker faithful as the lead was trimmed to 28-22.  Fortunately for Nebraska, that was as close as Minnesota would get as the Huskers went on a 25-6 run to close out the game.

Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 25 of 29 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns and he rushed for 125 yards and another touchdown for his finest start yet at Nebraska. Devine Ozigbo (152 yards, 2 TD) and Maurice Washington (109 yards, 1 TD) also had big days on the ground in the win as Nebraska rolled up 382 rushing yards as a team.

After the game, it was time to celebrate the win that took longer than expected to celebrate in the Frost Era in Lincoln.

After the game, Frost was awarded the game ball in honor of his first win with the program.

Nebraska was the last program form a power conference to record a win this season. UCLA picked up their first win last week.

Nebraska will now be in great shape to make it two straight wins for Frost as the Huskers will host Bethune-Cookman next week in Lincoln. The game against the FCS program was thrown together as a way to makeup a game against Akron wiped out due to inclement weather in Week 1.

Minnesota, one of two teams without a win in Big Ten play (Rutgers), will look for their first win in the conference next week when they host Indiana. Indiana comes to town after losing a close game to Penn State.

Nebraska falls to No. 16 Wisconsin, matches worst start in program’s storied 129-year history

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If you wondered whether Nebraska’s start to the 2018 season was historic, the answer is a resounding “yep.”

First, though, the in-game particulars.

Nebraska entered Saturday night’s game against No. 16 Wisconsin in Madison as a three-touchdown underdog. They exited it covering the spread but still coming out on the wrong end of a 41-24 score, extending its school-record losing streak to nine in a row.

For the Blackshirts, they had no answer for Jonathan Taylor, who ran for a game-high 221 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries.  It was the second time the sophomore had rushed for 200-plus yards this season, and the fifth time in his career.

All told, the Badgers averaged 7.7 yards per attempt in rushing for 370 yards as a team.

In a losing effort, true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez — mark it down: he’s going to single-handedly win a game for the Cornhuskers this season — passed for a career-high 384 yards.  It was Martinez’s second straight 300-yard passing performance.

JD Spielman caught nine of Martinez’s 24 completions for 209 yards.

With the loss, the Cornhuskers fell to 0-5 on the season. It matches their worst record through five games since 1945; a loss to Northwestern next weekend would, at 0-6, be the worst start in the 129-year history of the storied program.

While there’s still a lot of football left to be played, the Cornhuskers will very likely be underdogs in all but one of their last eight games — they play FCS Bethune-Cookman Oct. 27 — and could very well surpass the 1957 team for the worst record in school history. That squad finished 1-9, beating Kansas State in its third game before reeling off seven straight losses to close out the year.

Nebraska’s remaining schedule, outside of the FCS game that was spawned by the canceled season opener, that could send them to a program?

  • at Northwestern — 2-3, but coming off an upset of No. 20 Michigan State
  • Minnesota — 3-2, losers of two straight
  • at third-ranked and unbeaten Ohio State
  • Illinois — 3-2, coming off first Big Ten win since 2015
  • Michigan State — 3-2, could be back in rankings come mid-November
  • at Iowa — 4-1, could be ranked come regular-season finale

Oregon State reportedly lands third Nebraska transfer

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The Lincoln-to-Corvallis pipeline reportedly remains wide open for business.

This past week, Nebraska officials confirmed that Tyjon Lindsey had asked for and been granted a release from his NU scholarship.  Just a couple of days later, it’s being reported that Oregon State is the landing spot for Lindsey.

Rivals.com was the first to report the move to the Beavers.  The Oregonian subsequently confirmed the initial report to the roster, although the football program has not yet addressed any potential addition.

A consensus four-star 2017 signee, Lindsey was rated as the No. 7 receiver in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Nevada; and the No. 50 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  No signee in the Cornhuskers’ class that year was rated higher than the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman product.

After catching 12 passes for 76 yards as a true freshman, Lindsey had 22 yards on three receptions this season before deciding to transfer.

Lindsey would become the third former Cornhuskers football player to transfer to the Beavers in the last month or so.  In late August, OSU confirmed the addition of linebacker Avery Roberts to the roster.  Less than a week later, quarterback Tristan Gebbia was officially added as well.

One of the OSU-NU connections comes in the form of assistant Trent Bray.  After spending the past three seasons as the linebackers coach of the Cornhuskers, Bray was hired for the same job by the Beavers late last year and is in his first season as an assistant on Jonathan Smith‘s staff.

Additionally, Mike Riley, fired as the Cornhuskers’ head coach last year, was hired by his former school to serve as Smith’s assistant head coach.  While he was named as the head coach of the Alliance of American Football’s San Antonio franchise in mid-June, Riley is still listed on the program’s official website as an analyst for the football program.

Reports: Nebraska RB Greg Bell won’t travel to Wisconsin, considering transfer

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Nearly midway through what so far has been a winless season in Lincoln, the personnel upheaval is continuing.  Reportedly.

According to multiple media outlets in the area, Greg Bell will not make the trip to Madison this weekend for Nebraska’s game Saturday against Wisconsin.  Rivals.com is reporting that Bell has decided to leave the Cornhuskers and transfer, although the Omaha World-Herald writes that “NU is not confirming Bell’s departure and will not have a comment on his situation until after the Wisconsin game.”

Bell had started the first three games of the season, but was benched ahead of the Week 5 loss to Purdue and played sparingly last weekend. If the junior were to leave now without playing another down for the ‘Huskers, he’d be able to take advantage of the new redshirt rule and retain a season of eligibility that he could use elsewhere.

Through four games, Bell was third on the team, and second among running backs, with 173 yards rushing on his 35 carries.  Just two of those carries came in the loss to the Boilermakers this past Saturday.

Should he end up transferring, Bell would become at least the 15th player to leave the program since Scott Frost took over last December.  The other 14 are offensive lineman Bryan Brokop, wide receiver Zack Darlington (HERE) offensive lineman Michael Decker (HERE), tight end David Engelhaupt (HERE), quarterback Tristan Gebbia (HERE), linebacker Willie Hampton (HERE), defensive back Will Jackson (HERE), wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey (HERE), fullback Ben Miles (HERE), quarterback Patrick O’Brien (HERE), linebacker Avery Roberts (HERE), tight end Matt Snyder (HERE) inside linebacker Andrew Ward (HERE) and wide receiver Keyan Williams (HERE).  An even dozen of those 14 transferred, while one of the remaining two, Decker, retired from football and the other, Darlington, joined the Army.