The Saturday night NCAAF slate will feature five games including Top 25 squads. Each of them warrants our attention, but we are particularly intrigued by a showdown of Big Ten teams under the primetime lights in Lincoln, NE.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have been steamrolling everything in their path while opening the season at 4-0. They’ll be on the road to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a team which entered the 2019 campaign with a ton of hype surrounding the program.
While the team has started off at 3-1, an overtime loss to Colorado let a good amount of air out of the balloon. It’s now unclear as to whether or not this club will take the leap forward that many were anticipating.
Nebraska has a chance to make a big statement on Saturday night, but they’ll have their work cut out for them with one of the top teams in the nation coming to town. The visitors are installed as big favorites, and it looks like the market concurs as this line has climbed two points since the open.
Let’s take a detailed look at this intriguing matchup.
Ohio State vs. Nebraska, 7:30 PM EST, Sat. Sept.28, ABC
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Ohio State vs. Nebraska Pick:
The Buckeyes were home this past Saturday to play host to Miami-Ohio. They were massive 39-point favorites at kickoff, and that proved to be a solid call as the team cruised to a 76-5 win. Justin Fields played lights out football once again, accounting for six total scores. All told, Ohio State found the end zone a ridiculous 11 times in the rout.
The Cornhuskers visited Illinois over the weekend as 13.5-point favorites. They wound up trailing for much of the game in a back-and-forth affair. Two touchdown runs in the first quarter was enough for them to break through for a 42-38 win. Nebraska racked up a total of 673 yards versus only 299 for Illinois, but four turnovers led the visitors into a dog fight.
|Ohio State||4-0||1-0||214||36||W4||1-B10 East||5|
Ohio State has been cruising through the regular season. They allowed 21 points in the opener to visiting Florida Atlantic, but only 15 since that point. Back in Week 2, they clobbered visiting Cincinnati to the tune of 42-0. The offense is getting even more potent as time moves along as well. The team scored 40+ in its first two outings, and 50+ in its last two games.
Nebraska opened up the year with a 35-21 win at home over South Alabama. They were 35.5-point favorites for that one, so it wasn’t quite the dominating victory that many were expecting. The following week, they were in Colorado to face a team which stunned them last year. It happened again as the Buffaloes won a 34-31 thriller. The Cornhuskers have bounced back to win their last two contests.
The Buckeyes are averaging 53.5 points per game, which ranks 3rd in the nation. Not to be outdone, the defense is allowing just 9.0 per contest, which also ranks 3rd in the country. There has been great balance on both sides of the ball. The defense has already racked up 19 sacks. Justin Fields has fit right in as starter and inserted himself into the Heisman conversation.
Through two games, he has accounted for 19 total scores. He has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 880 yards and no picks, and also rushed for 150 yards. J.K. Dobbins leads the way out of the backfield at 68/477/5. There’s great talent at wideout, including Chris Olave and his four TD catches. Chase Young tops the team with seven sacks, while Jordan Fuller leads with 19 tackles.
The Cornhuskers offense is tied for 28th in the nation with an average of 38.0 points per game. The defense is allowing 25.3 per contest, which is tied for 62nd. The offense has been pretty balanced, but the defense has had some trouble against the pass. Protection has also been an issue as the team has allowed 10 sacks through four games.
Adrian Martinez was being viewed as a Heisman contender entering the year. He has performed well with 10 total scores and two picks, but not quite at the level many were anticipating. Maurice Washington leads the backfield with 268 yards, while Dedrick Mills has found the end zone five times. Mohamed Barry leads the team with 33 tackles.
Ohio State leads the all-time series over Nebraska by a margin of 6-1. They’ve won the last four in a row, including a 36-31 victory on their home turf last year, a game for which they were installed as 17.5-point favorites.
So far this season, the Buckeyes are 3-1 against the spread and 2-1-1 on totals. The Cornhuskers are 1-3 ATS and 2-2 on the Over/Under. Last season, Ohio State was 13-1 overall, 6-8 ATS, and 7-7 on totals. Nebraska was 4-8 straight-up, 6-5-1 ATS, and 7-5 on totals.
Since 2016, the Buckeyes are 12-3 overall as road favorites and 7-8 ATS. The Cornhuskers are 0-4 both straight-up and ATS as home underdogs over the same span.
Heading into the season, this matchup was looking like a potential trouble spot for Ohio State. Nebraska played them tough last year and also closed out 2018 looking like a program on the rise. The Cornhuskers are a talented squad which has shown some flashes, but the big leap many were expecting may take awhile.
The Buckeyes were one of the top programs in the nation last year, but they weren’t quite as dominant defensively as normal a season ago. Four games into the new season, this is one of the most balanced teams in the nation and playing like a serious national title contender.
Nebraska will have some moments and keep it interesting for a bit at home, but Ohio State will pull away and cover when all is said and done.