After rolling over the first four opponents on their schedule, the Ohio State Buckeyes were expected to face a step up in competition when they traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers in a primetime kickoff.
Instead, all the questions about Ohio State having not yet been tested for four quarters will last at least for another week as the Buckeyes breezed to a dominating 48-7 victory Saturday night at Nebraska.
The Ohio State offense had its way with the Nebraska offense early and often, racking up 580 yards of total offense. Quarterback Justin Fields continued his ascension into the forefront of the Heisman conversation with another pristine performance, completing 15 of his 21 passing attempts for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
Fields added 72 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
J.K. Dobbins led a Buckeye rushing attack that totaled 368 yards on the night, going for 177 yards on 24 carries. Master Teague III added 77 yards and two touchdowns.
As dominant as the Ohio State offense was, it was the defense who set the tone from the opening drive. Jeff Okudah intercepted Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez at midfield on the first drive, setting the offense up with prime field position to begin their night.
Six plays later, Fields was strolling into the end zone from 15 yards out to give the Buckeyes the early 7-0 lead with 10:35 left in the first quarter.
Following a three-and-out from the Nebraska offense on their next drive, the Ohio State offense went back to work with more solid field position, beginning at their own 40-yard line. Fields capped a 10-play, 60-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Hill to increase the Buckeye lead to 14-0 with 4:41 left in the opening quarter.
Nebraska (3-2) threatened with their best drive of the first half on the ensuing drive, moving the ball to the Ohio State 26-yard line. But Okudah again thwarted the Nebraska drive, intercepting Martinez for the second time in the quarter and turning the Huskers away from potential points.
And from there, the flood gates opened on the Cornhuskers as Ohio State poured it drive after drive to blow the game open.
A 23-yard field goal by Blake Haubeil upped the lead to 17-0, and then Teague found the end zone on two straight drives to increase the lead to 31-0. Fields’ 18-yard strike to Austin Mack closed out a dominant first-half performance in which the Buckeyes scored on all six of their offensive drives.
Ohio State held Nebraska to just six first downs and 76 yards in the first half, outgaining the Huskers by more than 300 yards.
After receiving the opening kickoff of the second half, Haubeil added another field goal to build the Buckeye lead to 41-0. After forcing a Nebraska punt, Fields would find Garrett Wilson for a 6-yard touchdown throw and catch to finish the Buckeye scoring at 48-0.
Nebraska would finally breakthrough as Ohio State substituted liberally on defense. Dedrick Mills scored from 9 yards out to end the Ohio State shutout with 2:07 left in the third quarter, bringing the score to its final count of 48-7.
With the win, Ohio State moves to 5-0 on the season. Next up for the Buckeyes is another primetime affair as the Michigan State Spartans (4-1) come to Columbus next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.