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Staff Predictions: Nebraska

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Associated Press

This game may have looked bigger in terms of national prominence before the season started. The Buckeyes have mostly held up their end of the bargain, coming in 5-1 on the year with the only blemish coming to Oklahoma in week two of the season.

The Huskers on the other hand are at .500 with a 3-3 record with losses to Oregon, Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. Yes, Northern Illinois. A few years ago, that might not have been as much of a big deal as the Huskies were knocking off a Big Ten team every season. But the salad days are gone in DeKalb (Ill.) and this loss cannot be considered a good one.

If you talk to some people, these Huskers aren't a very good team. But the Huskers are hard to beat in Lincoln (Neb.) at night. They had won 20 straight night games up until last week when the Badgers bested them 38-17.

Will that trend continue as the Buckeyes come in as a heavy road favorite or will Nebraska have something ready to derail the Buckeyes and their Big Ten Championship (and more) hopes?

We make our picks in our weekly feature.

Kevin Noon - Publisher

I was in Lincoln (Neb.) six years ago when Ohio State blew a 27-6 lead. I also have a few travel-reltaed stories that would take too long to type out, but next time you see me out, I will tell you just how horrible that trip was over a beer or two.

Enough about the past, we are looking ahead to Saturday night and a very different Ohio State team (and Nebraska team) than the one we saw six years ago. The Ohio State offense is putting up huge numbers against overmatched teams and many may agree that Nebraska fits that bill this season. The Blackshirt defense has been on the side of a milk carton for several years and the Buckeyes have not scored less than 27 points in any of the matchups (including two games in the 50s), even the years where Ohio State's offense was not entirely functional.

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Nebraska put up 34 and 38 points since joining the Big Ten but those were in the pre-Chris Ash years for the Buckeyes when the defense was still a bit of an enigma.

I am not ready to say that all of Ohio State's offensive woes or even some of the newfound defensive woes (in the back end) have been solved. But this Ohio State team is much better than this Huskers team, at least at this moment in time with the Huskers coming off a home rout to Wisconsin. I just don't think this Nebraska team will be able to recover from the abyss and the Buckeyes will win this one going away. Ohio State 56 Nebraska 14

Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst

Ohio State should come into this game with plenty of confidence. The Buckeyes' offense has been rolling of late and the defense just played its best game of the season against Maryland. Nebraska on the other hand seems engulfed in turmoil with questions about the job security of head coach Mike Riley. Still, the Cornhuskers are never an easy out at home, and at 2-1 in Big Ten play, they still have something to play for.

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The weather question is also out there with reports that things could look ugly in Lincoln come Saturday night. I look for Ohio State to rely on its run game and pull away from an over-matched team in a tough environment. Ohio State 37 Nebraska 16

Ross Fulton - Team Analyst

Nebraska presents Ohio State with another 3-man odd front -- but a slightly different look than past contests. The Cornhusker front typically 2-gaps, with the 3-down linemen aligning head up over the center and offensive tackles. Nebraska plays a bend but don't break style, dropping into deep zones and trying to keep the football in front. Look for Ohio State to continue to use the tight-end in the backfield to lead off tackle against the odd front, and to again target the edge with the run game. And J.T. Barrett and the Buckeye passing attack should be able to build upon their success with the horizontal passing game to exploit the Cornhuskers' zone schemes, with another big game for Parris Campbell.

FULTON ANALYSIS: Offense | Defense

Nebraska's pro-style offense will present the Ohio State defense a different look. Quarterback Tanner Lee has talent -- but is also turnover prone. He will provide a good test for how the Buckeye pass coverage has improved. If Ohio State can force Nebraska into must-throw downs, Nick Bosa and the Ohio State front should have another productive day. Ohio State 42 Nebraska 16

Kirk Barton - Staff Writer/Former Captain

The Buckeyes hit the road this week as they head to the friendly confines of Lincoln to play the Cornhuskers. Coach Meyer has the team on an upward trajectory and the opponents have been steadily increasing in difficulty for the past few week and will peak this week with Nebraska on the road. For those of you who have never been to Lincoln, it is a great atmosphere and the fans are unusually friendly. I coached there in the debacle in 2011 where we had a nice lead until Braxton Miller got hurt and everything sunk with Joe Bauserman at the controls.

Offensively, I look for JT to continue his tear on offense by distributing the ball to Johnny Dixon and Bin Victor. Bin has been looking more and more like the dream X receiver that we need to run this offense, and his catch radius may be the biggest that Coach Meyer has ever head. In terms of rushing the ball, it will be important to pound the rock early to help new RG Matt Burrell feel comfortable starting his first career game.

Defensively, I look for our edge players to continue their torrid pace, led by Nick Bosa. Jaylyn Holmes at tackle will be a load for Nebraska’s offensive line, and I believe he can be an interior pass rush similar to the way the Browns used Myles Garrett in his first week as a nickel DT. Tuf Borland will also continue to rack up statisitics that will merit him consideration for some All-Big Ten honors. Nebraska is currently reeling after Wisconsin punched them in the mouth last week, and I am sure the locals are taking notice of the job Scott Frost is doing at UCF. Me thinks there could be change in the air at the end of the year if OSU puts one on them, which I predict they will. Ohio State 49 Nebraska 14

Colin Gay - Staff Writer

It is time to give credit where credit is due. Over the last couple of weeks, especially last week against Maryland, I expected a more even matchup than against teams like UNLV and Rutgers. However, Ohio State continued its ridiculous run, outscoring its opponents 172-35 in the past three weeks.

Last week in the 62-14 win over Maryland, the Buckeyes seemed to be on a roll on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Terrapins only recorded 66 yards of offense against Ohio State, averaging 1.2 yards both per pass and per rush. Offensively, the Buckeyes put on a show, throwing for 303 yards and rushing for 281 yards and combining for eight touchdowns.

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There is no reason why this should not continue when Ohio State enters Memorial Stadium Saturday night. Even though the Buckeyes may allow more than 100 passing yards for the first time since Week 2, Nebraska QB Tanner Lee, more of a pro-style passer, is glued to the pocket and is not mobile, providing possible opportunities for the defensive line. Also, Lee is prone to give the ball up, recording 10 interceptions compared to 11 touchdowns.

Although the Cornhuskers defense is in the middle of the pack in terms of total defense in the Big Ten, giving up an average of 355.8 yards per game with 15 touchdowns given up this season, J.T. Barrett has been on a role ever since Oklahoma along with a healthy backfield of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber.

There is no doubt that this offense should put up at least 50 against Nebraska. Combine that with the stout defense the Buckeyes have had over the past couple of weeks and that equals a very good showing in Lincoln this weekend. Ohio State 51 Nebraska 14

Nick McWilliams - Staff Writer

For weeks now, Ohio State has been facing opponents with increasing difficulty, objectivity.

I have been falling prey to the expectation of an Ohio State drop off, but the Buckeyes continue to pound away at anyone in their path. Against Nebraska, the stats and analysis are pointing in the same direction.

And, like the other weeks, Ohio State will be dominating once again.

The Cornhuskers have bounced back and forth between looking decent, and a team struggling to get on the right side of a .500 record. Although Tanner Lee has provided some form of consistent production in the passing game, he has also done his fair part of handing opposing defenses the ball.

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The Buckeyes have reversed some defensive woes from earlier in the season in recent weeks, and locked down both the running and passing attacks of other teams. With an offense that has been caught somewhere in the middle, Nebraska will not be getting any breaks on Saturday.

With J.T. Barrett, J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber, Parris Campbell and the newfound offensive prowess of Binjimen Victor, there are far too many dynamic offensive threats for Ohio State for Nebraska to keep things close. Expect things to get out of hands for the Cornhuskers, unless the weather decides to throw a wrench in the Buckeyes' offense. Ohio State 49 Nebraska 13

NevadaBuck - Bringer of Nuggets

Lets get this out of the way. Nebraska is not a good football team. They aren't very talented on offense. They aren't very talented on defense. There is nothing special about their special teams. These are certainly not your Tom Osbourne Huskers of old.

Ohio State--on the other hand---is improving with each passing week. I've said for a while that I felt that the offense wasn't that far away---and I think its shown up on game days. Barrett is sharper--Receivers are playing with more confidence---Running backs are uber talented.

On Defense Ohio State is playing with much more discipline and its confounding opponents. Schiano seems to have found his stride calling things from the sideline and Ohio State is starting to stifle opponents.

Having said all that---I think this will be a closer game than people believe. I have no basis other than history on my side---where there always seems to be one game that defies all logical explanation. Playing against Nebraska at night and you turn the ball over, get burned on special teams a couple of times, have some untimely penalties--and this could stay closer than you might expect.

Just going on a hunch right here but I've got Ohio State winning 38-24 in a closer than it should be ball game.

Doug DiLillo - Social Media

Hard to believe last year's game with Nebraska was a top-10 matchup. The Cornhuskers aren't very talented, and it is a shame OSU won't have more of a challenge before they finally take on PSU in two weeks. This one won't be much of a challenge and Ohio State will head into their bye week with another blowout win.

Ohio State has made the effort needed to show they will be able to pass down the stretch. The competition hasn't been the best, but Ohio State has used to it iron out issues with timing and most importantly gotten JT Barrett a ton of confidence. He should have another good day, but I think Ohio State will do more on the ground than in the air. Expect a balanced attack between Dobbins and Weber, mix in JT and I think Ohio State gets close to 300 on the ground.

Nebraska's QB Tanner Lee loves to toss INTs and will have a few in this game. Ohio State's defensive front will continue to dominate, and while it might be close early, Ohio State pulls away for a big win. Ohio State 48 Nebraska 20

Fake Urban Meyer - @FakeUrban

Nebraska is an awful football team and my goal for the week is simple. Let’s not look past the Cornhuskers and ahead to our bye week. Defensively, Nebraska stinks. Offensively, Nebraska stinks. Their special teams are better than ours but that’s another story. The bottom line is we should beat the hell out of Nebraska.

Now I’ll also be reminding my players about what happened during TLFY. That’s what I call The Lost Fickell Year of 2011 - when the Buckeyes had a big lead at the half, blew it and then lost. I won’t allow that to happen again.

We will get out to a big lead, dominate the lines of scrimmage and get back to the running game. I’m pushing for Dobbins and Weber to both gain more than 100 yards. And I’ll tell you now that I guarantee our kickoffs won’t go out of bounds. Someone will need to remind me to wish Nebraska coach Mike Riley the best since he won’t be around next season. Ohio State 55 Nebraska 7

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