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Buckeyes embarrass Huskers in 56-14 debacle

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Associated Press

The absolute nightmare scenario Nebraska knew it had to avoid ended up playing out exactly as it feared on Saturday night.

The Huskers, who came in as 24.5-point underdogs to No. 9 Ohio State, never stood a chance in a 56-14 record-setting debacle at Memorial Stadium.

Behind JT Barrett’s 27-of-33 passing for 325 yards and seven total touchdowns, Ohio State reached the end zone on its first eight drives of the game and rolled its way to 633 yards of total offense and set an NU opponent record with 41 first downs.

Nebraska, on the other hand, managed just 44 rushing yards and didn’t even cross midfield until 5:31 left in the second quarter.

The Buckeyes’ 633 total yards were just 26 shy of matching the all-time opponent record of 656 set by Oklahoma in 1956, and their 41 first downs crushed the previous single-game record of 34 set by Kansas in 2007 and Wyoming in 2013.

Their 56 points also marked the most ever scored by a Nebraska conference opponent in Memorial Stadium, passing Missouri's 52 back in 2008.

Ohio State wasted no time getting things rolling by marching 96 yards on its opening possession of the night, highlighted by an impressive 52-yard scamper by freshman running back J.K. Dobbins that quickly made it 7-0 just four minutes into the game.

The Buckeyes got right back to work on their ensuing drive, causally going 85 yards on nine plays and making it 14-0 when Barrett waltzed into the end zone untouched for a six-yard touchdown run.

Nebraska finally got its first first down of the game with 4:16 left in the opening quarter on a 15-yard pass to J.D. Spielman. But the drive quickly stalled after a costly holding penalty and ended with NU’s third punt of the quarter.

Barrett struck again on OSU’s next time out, connecting with K.J. Hill for a 16-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 21-0 and giving the Buckeyes their third-straight 80-plus yard scoring drive.

Ohio State then made it four in a row with a 31-yard scoring toss from Barrett to Terry McLaurin with 8:20 left to go in the half to cap off an eight-play, 71-yard march.

The Huskers were finally able to move the ball past the 50-yard line for the first time of the night when Lee hit Spielman on a 38-yard pass to the OSU 45 with 5:31 left in the second quarter. But once again the drive would quickly stall out and end on an incomplete pass on fourth down.

The Buckeyes ended the first half having out-gained NU 366-116, held a 22-5 edge in first downs, and converted all six of their third downs.

The avalanche carried right on into the second half, as Ohio State cruised to another touchdown drive and made it 42-0 on a 16-yard scoring pass to Rashod Berry.

Finally, with 11:05 left in the third quarter, Nebraska’s offense broke through. Lee found Spielman on a deep cross over the middle and the redshirt freshman wideout did the rest from there, sprinting 77 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.

Any positivity from the score was quickly erased on the following drive, as once again OSU moved right down the field on a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown charge with Barrett hitting Marcus Baugh on an 18-yard pass.

The Huskers answered with a 17-yard touchdown to Stanley Morgan to get the deficit to 49-14 with 5:52 left in the third. Yet again, though, the defense simply couldn’t follow up with a response, as Ohio State reached the end zone on its eighth straight drive with a six-yard pass to Hill.

Backup quarterback Patrick O’Brien took over for the final minutes of garbage time and nearly got NU a meaningless score, but his final pass from the Ohio State 20 as time expired was intercepted in the end zone.

Nebraska will get a week off to try and rebound during its bye before returning to action at Purdue on Oct. 28. Kickoff time and TV information for that game have yet to be announced.

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