Huskers Set for Showdown with Buckeyes
GAME 6: NEBRASKA at OHIO STATE
OCT. 6, 2012 | OHIO STADIUM
COLUMBUS, OHIO | 7 p.m. (CT)
TV - ABC
RADIO - Husker Sports Network
NATIONAL RADIO - Dial Global Sports
SATELLITE RADIO - Sirius Channel 113, XM 191
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com
Record: 4-1, 1-0 Big Ten
Rankings: Coaches-20; AP-21
Last Game: def. Wisconsin, 30-27
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 43-17/5th year
vs. Ohio State: 1-0
Record: 5-0, 1-0 Big Ten
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-12
Last Game: def. Michigan State, 17-16
Coach: Urban Meyer
Career/OSU Record: 109-23/11th year | 5-0/1st year
vs. NU: 0-0
Nebraska takes to the road for the first time in conference play on Saturday night, when the Huskers travel to Columbus, Ohio to square off with the Ohio State Buckeyes. The matchup between Big Ten powers will be televised nationally on ABC with kickoff set for shortly after 7 p.m. (CDT).
The Huskers head
into the contest at Ohio State full of momentum after a 30-27 victory
over two-time defending Big Ten champion Wisconsin in Lincoln last
Saturday. The Huskers trailed by 17 points in the third quarter of the
contest, but scored the game’s final 20 points to post the
second-largest comeback in school history. The win improved Nebraska to
4-1 on the season, and 1-0 in Big Ten Conference play, and also moved
Nebraska up to No. 21 in the Associated Press poll and NU remained 20th
in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Ohio State enters the game with a perfect 5-0 record, following a hard-fought 17-16 victory at Michigan State last Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes’ defense shut down Michigan State in the win, holding the Spartans to 303 total offensive yards and just 34 yards on the ground. Ohio State has a strong rushing attack, racking up 224.2 yards per game on the ground. The Buckeyes’ 5-0 start has them ranked No. 12 in the AP poll. Ohio State is not eligible for the coaches poll.
Saturday’s game will mark the fourth all-time between the two schools with Ohio State holding a 2-1 overall advantage in the series. The game will be the first between the schools in Columbus since 1956, with the Buckeyes winning both meetings at Ohio Stadium. The schools met for the first time as Big Ten opponents last year in Lincoln, with the Huskers putting together the biggest comeback in school history to win, 34-27.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 43-17 record (.717) in his fifth season. Pelini has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first four seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich in accomplishing that feat. Pelini is one of only six first-time head coaches in NCAA history to win at least nine games in each of his first four seasons at a BCS conference school.
Ohio State: Urban Meyer (Cincinnati, ‘86) is in his first season as Ohio State’s head coach and his 11th season overall as a collegiate head coach. Meyer owns a 109-23 career record and a 5-0 record with the Buckeyes. Meyer captured two national championships during his six seasons as the head coach at Florida from 2005 to 2010, and also served as the head coach for two seasons each at Bowling Green and Utah.
Ohio State enters Saturday’s matchup with a 5-0 record and a No. 12 national ranking. OSU opened Big Ten Conference play last Saturday with a 17-16 victory at No. 20 Michigan State. The Buckeyes are playing their fifth home game of the season on Saturday. Ohio State has been tough at home, losing only 10 home contests since 2000. Each of OSU’s last six home losses dating back to 2005 have been by seven or fewer points.
The Buckeyes feature one of the nation’s top underclassmen in sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller. Miller started under center as a true freshman last season, throwing for 1,159 yards and 13 touchdowns, while adding 715 rushing yards. This season, Miller ranks 13th nationally by averaging 115.4 rushing yards per game. He has also thrown for 933 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions, ranking 41st nationally in passing efficiency. Last season against Nebraska in just his third career start, Miller rushed 10 times for 91 yards and was 5-of-8 passing for 95 yards and one touchdown. He led Ohio State to a 27-6 lead before being injured in the third quarter. Nebraska rallied for a 35-27 victory in the Huskers’ largest comeback in school history.
Behind Miller, Ohio State’s offense ranks 43rd nationally by averaging 33.6 points per game. The Buckeyes are the Big Ten’s third-best rushing team, averaging 224.2 yards on the ground per game.
Defensively, Ohio State has allowed only one opponent this season to score more than 16 points, as the Buckeyes rank 25th nationally in scoring defense, allowing an average of 17.0 points per game. OSU is allowing 376 yards of total offense per game, including 275 passing yards per game. Ohio State ranks 94th nationally in pass defense, but the Buckeyes have intercepted seven passes, a total that ranks 15th nationally. Behind the interceptions, Ohio State has forced nine turnovers through five games this season.
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 2-1, but the Huskers won the first meeting as conference opponents, defeating the Buckeyes 34-27 in Lincoln last season. Nebraska trailed 27-6 in the second half last season, marking the largest comeback in school history. In the only two meetings in Columbus, Ohio State won 28-20 in 1955 and 34-7 in 1956. Saturday’s meeting marks the first time both teams are ranked at game time.
Urban Meyer is in his first season at Ohio State, following successful head coaching stints at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. Meyer is in his 11th season as a collegiate head coach, and he has won at least eight games every season, including eight nine-win seasons and five 10-win seasons. Meyer owns a 5-0 record at Ohio State and a 109-23 career record, with a pair of national championships and four conference titles under his belt.
Meyer did not coach in 2011, after stepping down as Florida’s head caoch following the 2010 season due to health concerns. Meyer spent six seasons at Florida, winning a pair of national championships in 2006 and 2008. The Gators finished in the top 15 of the AP poll in five of his six seasons, including three top-three finishes. Meyer had a trio of 13-win seasons with the Gators, while leading Florida to a 65-15 record.
Before arriving at Florida, Meyer coached the Utah Utes for the 2003 and 2004 season. Utah finished with a 22-2 record in his two seasons, highlighted by a 12-0 record in 2004, when the Utes finished fourth in the final AP poll.
Meyer’s first head coaching job came at Bowling Green, where he posted a 17-6 record in two seasons from 2001-02. Before becoming a head coach, Meyer was a collegiate assistant for 15 seasons. He coached the wide receivers at Notre Dame from 1996 to 2000, after coaching wide receivers at Colorado State from 1990 to 1995. He spent the 1988 and 1989 seasons at Illinois State in his first full-time coaching role. Meyer received his coaching start as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 1986 and 1987.
Huskers Head to Columbus for Big Ten Road Opener
Nebraska travels to Ohio State on Saturday night for its Big Ten road opener, and the matchup with the 12th-ranked Buckeyes will mark the fifth ranked foe in the Huskers’ last six conference road openers. Nebraska is 2-3 in that stretch of five league road openers, with all three setbacks coming at the hands of nationally ranked opponents.
- Bo Pelini-coached Nebraska teams have a 2-2 record in conference road openers, including last year’s loss at No. 7 Wisconsin. Pelini’s 2009 team won at No. 24 Missouri in the Big 12 opener, while his first team in 2008 lost an overtime game at seventh-ranked Texas Tech.
Pelini Set to Face Alma Mater
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini is a graduate of Ohio State and was a four-year letterwinner as a defensive back for the Buckeyes under Earle Bruce and John Cooper from 1987 to 1990. Saturday’s game will be his first at Ohio State as a head coach.
Pelini started in the Buckeye secondary his final two seasons, was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and was a co-captain as a senior. Pelini received the “Bo Rein Award” as a senior, given to the teams’ most inspirational player. Pelini graduated from Ohio State with a degree in business administration in 1990.
- Saturday’s game will mark the fourth time Pelini has coached against his alma mater. In 1991, Pelini was a graduate assistant for an Iowa team that defeated Ohio State, 16-9, in Columbus. After taking the Nebraska head job in December of 2007, Pelini completed his role as defensive coordinator at LSU, helping guide the Tigers to a 38-24 victory over OSU in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans. Last season, Nebraska defeated Ohio State, 34-27, in Lincoln in the largest comeback in school history.
Pelini Amoung Numerous Ohio Connections in Nebraska Program
Bo Pelini’s connections to the Ohio State program and the state of Ohio, is one of many among the Nebraska football program. Pelini has nine players on his roster who are Ohio natives, along with several members of his staff with Ohio ties. The nine players from Ohio are the third-most on the NU roster, behind only Nebraska and Texas.
- Nebraska players who hail from Ohio include: freshman DB LeRoy Alexander (Toledo), freshman LB Aaron Gabriel (Marion), sophomore RB Braylon Heard (Youngstown), senior WR Tim Marlowe (Youngstown), junior FB Mike Marrow (Holland), freshman defensive end Greg McMullen (Akron), sophomore center Mark Pelini (Youngstown), redshirt freshman linebacker Max Pirman (Orrville) and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Kevin Williams (Holland). Marlowe, Pelini and Heard all played at Cardinal Mooney High School where Pelini starred as a prep. Mark Pelini is the nephew of Bo Pelini.
- Several members of the staff have ties to Ohio. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck is a Youngstown native and a graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School. Other Ohio natives on the staff include offensive graduate assistant Vince Marrow, and director of player personnel Wince Morris. Marrow is a Cardinal Mooney graduate and starred collegiately at Toledo. He also coached at Holland High School in Springfield, Ohio (2009) and at Toledo (2008). Morris played at Miami (Ohio). Linebackers coach Ross Els spent the six seasons as a member of Frank Solich’s Ohio staff.
Nebraska Return to Ohio for First Time in 56 Years
Ohio State made its first-ever trip to Lincoln last fall and the Huskers’ venture to Columbus this weekend will be Nebraska’s first in more than a half-century. The Huskers are 0-2 all-time in Columbus, losing to nationally ranked Buckeye teams in both 1955 and 1956. Saturday’s game at Ohio State will mark Nebraska’s first trip to the state of Ohio for a football game since its last contest at Ohio Stadium 56 years ago.