Big Ten Showdown, Odds: (6) Ohio State Buckeyes at (10) Nebraska Cornhuskers

Urban Meyer-ohio-state-2015Ohio State at Nebraska
Time: 7 PM (CT), ABC/ESPN
Spread: OSU -17.5
Total: 52.5

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

Ohio State has begun to show signs of mortality in its tough part of the 2016 schedule: The Buckeyes have won two of its past three, with all three games decided by a touchdown or less. Will it be the same in visiting No. 10 Nebraska or will the Buckeyes manage to cover the lofty 17.5 point spread set by college football makers at 5dimes? The game airs at 7 PM (Central) on ABC and ESPN, and it has an over/under set at 52.5 points.

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Part of the Buckeyes’ issues have been the fault of QB JT Barrett. He is having another great season, but the recent Big Ten foes have been able to mostly negate his longer passes. Last week he threw for 223 yards on 21 of 32 passing but did not throw a TD pass (nor an interception). The Buckeyes did pick up 208 yards on the ground, with Mike Weber going for 87 yards on 14 carries with a pair of TDs. Barrett rushed for another 71 yards on 13 carries, and the Buckeyes averaged 5.1 yards per rush attempt on its 41 carries.

Curtis Samuel and Noah Brown combined for 12 catches and 119 yards, but neither had a play for more than 20 yards in the game. The long pass game was shut down, with KJ Hill making the lone big 34-yard pass play—it was also his only catch. The Buckeyes averaged 10.6 yards per pass play, but Barrett.

Defensively, Malik Hooker was a monster for OSU. He had 14 tackles, six solo, and 0.5 tackles for loss. The Buckeyes recorded just one sack, but it had four tackles for loss and Damon Arnette came through with an interception. Parris Campbell returned the lone kick for 20 yards, and Tyler Durbin made good on his lone FGA, a 30-yarder. The Buckeyes need more from punter Cameron Johnston who was good for just 36.6 yards per attempt on his five punts.

OSU has rushed the ball so well in typical fashion, though. The Buckeyes average 272.4 yards per game, ranking No. 8 in the nation while scoring 42.6 points per game (No. 10). The pass game has lingered behind, for all the aforementioned reasons. OSU is averaging just 220.5 passing yards per game, ranking No. 77. The defense has been top-notch as usual and has covered for some of these offensive blunders, holding teams to 15.1 points per game and ranking No. 6. This is still a contending football team that can win the Big Ten, but Michigan has a lot of steam and the Penn State loss still stings Buckeyes’ fans.

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Nebraska is 7-1 with a 4-1 mark in Big Ten play but is coming off its first loss of the season last week to then-No. 11 Wisconsin. The Huskers fell 23-17 in overtime as they gave up an 11-yard TD run to Badgers running back Dare Ogunbowale.

Senior QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. had a rough game, throwing just 12 of 31 for 153 yards with no TDs and two interceptions. The backfield was just as ineffective, averaging 3.5 yards per carry on 44 attempts. Armstrong had 39 yards and a rushing TD, with Devine Ozigbo scoring the other Huskers’ TD. Terrell Newby rushed for 77 yards on 17 carries, but his long rush was just 19 yards. Wisconsin played a hell of a football game in a low-yardage contest between two strong defensive teams. This week could be similar, and the Huskers should be able to stay in this contest despite being 17.5 point dogs in the affair.

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