The Ohio State defense got off to a slow start yesterday, but turned things around nicely in the second half. Now that we've had 24 hours to digest the win, here are my biggest takeaways from the offensive performance.
**More than anything else yesterday, I was so happy for Haskell Garrett. I can't even imagine with that young man has been through over the last two months. It's a miracle he's still alive, let alone playing football. The fact that he was healthy enough to play the opening-game of the season AND play as well as he did was just incredible.
**The opening drive of the game for Nebraska was frustrating. A 4-play, 75-yard drive really wasn't what anyone had in mind. The 47-yard run by backup quarterback Luke McCaffrey on the third play from scrimmage was the biggest play of the day from the 'Huskers. It's easy to be frustrated in the moment, and admittedly I was, but the opening drive of the game is the easiest to script and the hardest for a defense to game-plan against without having any film at all.
**Any time your defense scores points, you've got a great chance to win the game. The scoop-and-score from Sevyn Banks yesterday was huge and came at a really important time. After the Buckeyes snuck out a score right before the half and opened the second half with a touchdown to go up 31-14, Nebraska was in a must-score possession if they wanted to keep the game close. Instead, Martinez couldn't handle the ball and Banks made them pay, essentially putting the game away before the midway point in the third quarter.
**I was impressed with Ohio State's ability to not panic and make adjustments. They allowed touchdowns on two of the first four series, and then allowed a total of three points on the next eight possessions.
**I thought the pass coverage was generally pretty good. Shaun Wade had a nice game and nearly came up with a big interception. The Buckeyes had a tough time pressuring Adrian Martinez consistently, but the 'Huskers are a run-first team and when Martinez did drop back to throw, he didn't have a ton of options.
**Nebraska is a hard team to defend in the run game. Their offensive line is huge and a group of veterans, they have a couple of really talented skill players and Adrian Martinez is a very solid quarterback. I thought the Buckeyes did a fairly good job after the opening drive. They allowed 217 yards on 36 carries, but two of those carries totaled 86 yards. If you remove those from the equation, the team allowed 3.85 yards per carry, which is not quite as good as it was last year, but it's a very respectable number.
**The only Ohio State turnover yesterday was unfortunate. Chris Olave fumbled late in the third quarter on a play that was reviewed for targeting. I thought the Buckeyes response on defense from that turnover was critical, as the 'Huskers went 3-and-out. Even though the score wasn't close at that point, your defensive response to an offensive turnover can do a lot for the morale of a team.
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