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Friday, November 4, 2016

Ohio State vs Nebraska Preview - Depth Chart - TV Schedule

Ohio State vs Nebraska Preview

Ohio State and Nebraska were two of the top one-loss teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings, and Saturday night’s matchup in Columbus will play a big role in how both programs can shape the rest of their 2016 season.   For the Buckeyes, coach Urban Meyer’s team is squarely in the hunt to earn a playoff spot. The formula for Ohio State is simple: Win out and the Buckeyes will be one of the top four teams in the nation. Of course, that path isn’t easy. Michigan comes to Columbus on Nov. 26, and there’s a road date at Michigan State on Nov. 19. Ohio State rebounded from a road loss (24-21) at Penn State on Oct. 22 by beating Northwestern 24-20 last Saturday. The victory over the Wildcats certainly wasn’t perfect, but coach Urban Meyer’s team has a lot to build on over the next few weeks. The defense is one of the best in the nation, but the offense – especially the passing game – remains a work in progress.   Speaking of progress, Nebraska enters Saturday night’s game at 7-1 overall and looking to rebound from its first loss of the season. The Cornhuskers fell 23-17 in overtime to Wisconsin last Saturday but had some late chances to wrestle control of that game. Despite the loss, Nebraska is still in the mix to win the Big Ten West Division. With the Cornhuskers in the hunt to win the division a year after a 6-7 mark, it’s a clear sign this program is moving in the right direction under coach Mike Riley. Nebraska has navigated a few key injuries on the offensive line and found ways to win close games – something this team didn’t do in 2015 – to earn the No. 10 ranking in the first College Football Playoff selection committee top 25.   Ohio State owns a 3-1 series edge over Nebraska. These two teams have met only twice as Big Ten members, with the Cornhuskers winning in 2011 (34-27) and the Buckeyes taking the 2012 matchup (63-38).   Nebraska at Ohio State   Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. ET TV Channel: ABC Spread: Ohio State -17   Three Things to Watch   1. Ohio State’s Passing Game On the surface, there isn’t a glaring issue with Ohio State’s offense. After all, the Buckeyes average 42.6 points a game (No. 2 in the Big Ten) and record 6.3 yards per play. However, a deeper dive shows this unit is a work in progress for coach Urban Meyer. Quarterback J.T. Barrett is still one of the nation’s most dynamic playmakers at his position and has passed for 1,675 yards and 17 scores so far in 2016. Barrett has an intriguing and promising group of receivers at his disposal, but this unit is young and has contributed to the inconsistency of the passing game. Running back/receiver hybrid Curtis Samuel (44 catches) is the team’s go-to target through the air, but Meyer and co-coordinator Ed Warinner are still searching for more big play threats and consistent options to help Barrett stretch the field. Through five conference games, Ohio State has only one pass of more than 40 yards. The Buckeyes have to be able to stretch the field and prevent defenses from crowding the line of scrimmage.   Can Nebraska take advantage of Ohio State’s passing attack? The Cornhuskers are fourth in the Big Ten in pass efficiency defense and lead the conference with 15 interceptions. Safety Nate Gerry (four picks) is on his way to All-Big Ten honors, with cornerback Chris Jones quietly putting together a solid all-around season. Nebraska ranks fifth in the Big Ten against the run, and if the front seven slows down Barrett and Mike Weber on the ground, that will allow the Cornhuskers to force this offense into obvious passing downs. Ohio State made the clutch throws and plays in last week’s game against Northwestern to salt away the victory late in the fourth quarter. Can the Buckeyes do it again and open up the passing attack as needed? Or will Barrett and his receivers have another choppy effort through the air?   Related: Predictions for Every College Football Game in Week 10   2. Nebraska’s Offensive Line Against Ohio State’s Defense Injuries have taken a toll on Nebraska’s offensive line this year. While the Cornhuskers have used only two different combinations, David Knevel and Nick Gates have been banged up throughout the 2016 campaign, and starting right guard Tanner Farmer won’t play on Saturday after suffering an injury against Wisconsin. Despite the injuries, the Cornhuskers haven’t suffered a steep drop in production up front. The offensive line has allowed only six sacks and is clearing the way for rushers to average 4.5 yards per carry. Last week’s game against Wisconsin was a good test for Nebraska’s front five, and this unit held up relatively well. The Cornhuskers recorded 152 rushing yards and only gave up one sack. Will this unit hold up against Ohio State’s defensive front? The Buckeyes utilize a different approach than Wisconsin (3-4), as co-coordinator Greg Schiano has a 4-3 scheme anchored by a stout defensive line. Ohio State seems to have an endless supply of pass rushers, with Tyquan Lewis (five) and Nick Bosa (four) leading the way on the stat sheet. The interior is anchored by Michael Hill, Dre’Mont Jones and Robert Landers. There’s also plenty of athleticism and talent at linebacker, with junior Raekwon McMillan the headliner.   Few teams have experienced success against Ohio State’s run defense, and that’s a key area for Nebraska to win on Saturday night. Wisconsin found some room (236 yards) and had some success using fly sweeps. However, running back Corey Clement also had a couple of nice runs between the tackles. Can Nebraska’s front five generate a push in the trenches? Terrell Newby and Devine Ozigbo are a talented duo at running back, but they have to generate some production against a tough defensive front and keep Armstrong out of third-and-long or obvious passing situations.   3. Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Armstrong is the x-factor in this game. Just how important is Armstrong? The splits on his 2015 totals paint an interesting picture. In six wins, Armstrong completed 65.1 percent of his throws for 1,614 yards and 14 scores. In seven losses, his completion percentage dropped to 50.3 and tossed 14 interceptions to 13 touchdowns. Against Wisconsin last Saturday, Armstrong completed only 12 of 31 throws for 153 yards and tossed two interceptions. In contrast, Armstrong has passed for 1,611 yards and 11 scores through seven wins this year. It’s no secret Nebraska needs Armstrong to have a standout game on Saturday night. The senior has to play better than he did against Wisconsin, take care of the ball and eliminate the turnovers, while utilizing his legs to make plays. Ohio State’s defense has been stingy all year, limiting opponents to just 15.1 points per game. In addition to the standout group in the trenches, the Buckeyes have one of the nation’s top defensive backfields in place, as this unit has allowed only seven passing scores in 2016.   How much will Nebraska lean on Armstrong on Saturday night? Could the senior record his first game of 20 carries? And can Armstrong avoid any costly turnovers, while testing the Ohio State secondary with key targets like Jordan Westerkamp, Stanley Morgan and Alonzo Moore?   If the Cornhuskers are to have any shot at the upset, a lot is riding on No. 4 and his performance.   Final Analysis   Ohio State doesn’t have any margin for error after the loss to Penn State. If the Buckeyes want to earn a spot in the playoff, every week is a must-win situation the rest of the way. Nebraska is clearly better in coach Mike Riley’s second season, but the Cornhuskers face an uphill battle to pull off the upset on Saturday night. In order to knock off Ohio State, Nebraska needs a clean game from Tommy Armstrong, while the offensive line has to open up a few holes on the ground. The defense needs to force the Buckeyes to take to the air and contain Barrett in the pocket. The Cornhuskers will hang tough into the fourth quarter, but Ohio State pulls away in the final 10 minutes.   Prediction: Ohio State 31, Nebraska 17 -



Central Michigan at Miami (OH) (CBS Sports, 6 p.m.). It's a battle of two teams who could finish below .500 this year. Central Michigan is 5-4 and Miami already has six losses.
Temple at Connecticut (ESPN2, 7 p.m.). The top team in the American East plays the league's worst team. Connecticut is eliminated from the post-season with a loss on Friday night.
San José State at Boise State (ESPN2, 10:15 p.m.). Boise State hopes to bounce back from a disappointing loss last week. It will host San José State as 30-point favorites.


Navy vs. Notre Dame (CBS, 11:30 a.m.). Both teams have played each other all over the map, including Ireland and New Jersey. This one is in Jacksonville for some reason.
Air Force at Army (CBS Sports, 12 p.m.). Air Force could win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy outright with a win Saturday afternoon.
Georgia Southern at Ole Miss (ESPNU, 12 p.m.). Credit the SEC for spreading out "Chickenshit Saturday" in the league throughout the schedule rather than concentrating it on the penultimate week of the regular season.
Texas A&M at Mississippi State (SEC Network, 12 p.m.). I'll eschew a commentary at how daffy Texas A&M's No. 4 ranking in the playoff is and will instead note that 3-5 Mississippi State's three wins this season come over 4-4 South Carolina, 2-7 Massachusetts, and FCS Samford.
Vanderbilt at Auburn (ESPN, 12 p.m.). I'm still convinced Auburn's absurdly high ranking is a means to artificially inflate hype for an Iron Bowl that Alabama is going to win by four touchdowns anyway.
Louisville at Boston College (ESPN2, 12 p.m.). Boston College got its first ACC win in two years last week with a road win at NC State. It'll hope to play spoiler to Louisville, who is just playing for Lamar Jackson's Heisman campaign after Florida State lost to Clemson last week.
Texas at Texas Tech (FS1, 12 p.m.). Both secured upset wins last week. Texas' upset of Baylor may have given Charlie Strong a stay of execution in Austin as Longhorn fans may still want Tom Herman to save their program. As always with Texas Tech, the over/under is the bigger curiosity than the spread. The over/under on Saturday afternoon is 80.
Indiana at Rutgers (BTN, 12 p.m.). Indiana should do horrible things to Rutgers. At 4-4 and with Purdue still remaining on the schedule, Indiana might make a bowl game again.
Oct 29, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio walks of the field after the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Dantonio isn't having the season he anticipated this year. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Michigan State at Illinois (ESPN News, 12 p.m.). Here's something you might not have anticipated in the pre-season: the loser of this game is bowl-ineligible. This was a safe pre-season prediction for Illinois, but a startling development for a Michigan State team still looking for its first Big Ten win this season.
Wisconsin at Northwestern (ABC, 12 p.m.). Wisconsin needs a Nebraska loss on Saturday night to jump back in front of the Big Ten West division. A loss at Northwestern may seem to hand the division to Nebraska no matter what happens to the Huskers in Columbus. Nebraska's remaining games—Minnesota, Maryland, at Iowa—are all winnable.
Maryland at Michigan (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.). Michigan hosts a Maryland team coached by its former defensive coordinator. Maryland won the last encounter in Michigan Stadium in 2014. While a Michigan loss would be hilarious, it could be disastrous for Ohio State's playoff hopes if Penn State wins out.
Purdue at Minnesota (BTN, 3:30 p.m.). We don't talk about Minnesota, but maybe we should. The Gophers are 6-2 and would win the Big Ten West if they won the remainder of their schedule. I should note that would include wins at Nebraska next week and at Wisconsin to end the regular season.
Oklahoma State at Kansas State (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.). Oklahoma State returns to action the week after handing West Virginia its first loss on the year. However, Kansas State is a small favorite at home.
Syracuse at Clemson (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.). Clemson is on the home stretch for another ACC Atlantic Division championship. It would need to lose two of its next three games to blow it. Alternatively, it could start this game having secured the championship game berth if Louisville loses to NC State.
Here's an interesting question for feedback in the comments section. Is an ACC Champion Clemson team still playoff bound if it loses just one of its next four games (Syracuse, Pittsburgh, at Wake Forest, South Carolina)? I would think so even as Clemson hasn't quite played to its billing or last season's benchmark.
Whatever the case, Clemson is a 27-point favorite at home.
Virginia Tech at Duke (ESPNU, 3:30 p.m.). Virginia Tech seems like the safest pick for the ACC Coastal Division at the moment. Its tied atop the division with UNC, which it beat by 31 points in Chapel Hill. It might be worth your time watching Clemson's future opponent in the ACC Championship Game.
Oregon State at Stanford (FS1, 3:30 p.m.). Stanford is playing for a nicer bowl game right now. There'll be no Pac-12 Championship Game, playoff, or a Heisman for Christian McCaffrey. Stanford is a 15-point favorite with an eye toward next week's matchup with Oregon in Eugene.
TCU at Baylor (FOX, 3:30 p.m.). Remember this classic matchup from 2014? Both would like you to remember it while still begrudging Ohio State its playoff berth that year.
Here's the fourth quarter from that 61-58 Baylor win.
Brigham Young at Cincinnati (CBS Sports, 3:30 p.m.). Two 4-4 teams will clash in Nippert Stadium. BYU is an eight-point favorite on the road.
Florida at Arkansas (CBS, 3:30 p.m.). Florida will look to secure a likely SEC East championship with a win in Fayetteville. A Kentucky loss later Saturday evening gives Florida the division no matter what, though.
This will only be the second matchup between both programs since 2010. Arkansas has only one win over Florida all-time. That was in the 1982 Bluebonnet Bowl when Florida was still "Sunshine U" for bad high school football players and Arkansas was in the Southwest Conference and coached by Lou Holtz.
Because the internet is amazing, someone uploaded a cut of that game to YouTube.
Missouri at South Carolina (SEC Network, 4 p.m.). South Carolina looks to build on last week's upset win over Tennessee while Missouri is still looking for that first conference win for Barry Odom. Missouri becomes bowl-ineligible with a loss in Columbia.
Arizona at Washington State (Pac-12 Network, 4 p.m.). Washington State is 6-2 but a perfect 5-0 in league play. All eyes are still looking ahead to the Apple Cup in Pullman later this month. The Cougars are 17-point favorites at home against an Arizona team that could fall to 2-7 with a loss.
Memphis at Southern Methodist (ESPN News, 4 p.m.). Both programs have some nice wins this year but neither will challenge for the American West division this year. Memphis is a three-point favorite.
Florida State at NC State (ESPNU, 7 p.m.). Both had disappointing losses on Saturday. Florida State dropped a close decision to a Clemson team, which eliminated Florida State from the ACC Championship Game. NC State lost to Boston College, which no ACC team should do. 
Florida State is a six-point favorite in Raleigh.
Oct 21, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego State Aztecs running back Donnel Pumphrey (R) scores a touchdown during the third quarter as /sf19d/ and cornerback Andre Chachere (21) defend at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Donnel Pumphrey and San Diego State are still chugging along out west. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
Hawai'i at San Diego State (CBS Sports, 7 p.m.). I'll repeat a claim from last week. San Diego State's inexplicable loss at South Alabama early into the schedule took some attention off this program. That's unfortunate, since San Diego State is still a legitimate candidate to win the Mountain West and secure the Group of Five invite to the Cotton Bowl. It would need a Western Michigan loss to happen, but that's outside its control.
San Diego State is a 22-point favorite at home.
Oregon at USC (ESPN, 7 p.m.). Remember when this used to be a series to watch like five or 10 years ago?
Kansas at West Virginia (ESPN2, 7 p.m.). WVU's loss last week may mean the Mountaineers are out the playoff picture, but that won't stop it from taking out some frustration on the hapless Jayhawks. West Virginia is a five-touchdown favorite.
Iowa at Penn State (BTN, 7:30 p.m.). Ohio State does not need Penn State to lose again in order to make the conference championship game. However, it couldn't hurt, and it'll become necessary if Michigan loses a game between now and Nov. 26.
Penn State is an eight-point favorite. Let's offer our support to Iowa by remembering this classic moment in the series' history.
Georgia at Kentucky (SEC Network, 7:30 p.m.). Florida win the division with a Kentucky loss at home to Georgia. Georgia is a small two-point favorite on the road.
Let that underscore how garbage the SEC East is. Kentucky is the No. 2 team in the division, in November, and got smoked by the only two good teams on its schedule (Alabama, Florida) by a combined 66 points.
Alabama at LSU (CBS, 8 p.m.). This is the game of the week and only one of two on the schedule featuring two ranked teams.
This has arguably been the best series in the SEC for the past ten years that Saban has been in Tuscaloosa. His previous tenure at LSU kickstarted renewed interest in the series. For the most part, both have delivered in some memorable (if poor-quality) contests. The balance clearly favors Alabama. The Tide are 7-3 in the past ten contests, including that farce of a national championship game to end the 2011 season.
I think college football writ large wants this to be a compelling game. ESPN College GameDay will be in town for it. Alabama always has an inexplicable loss somewhere on its schedule. LSU has the added drama of an interim coach taking on Nick Saban's dynasty for a chance to possibly play spoiler to Alabama's march through the SEC West. LSU is even hosting this game. Tiger Stadium is arguably the SEC's most difficult venue.
Still, that's all wishful thinking. Expect Alabama to roll on Saturday night and cover the eight-point spread.
East Carolina at Tulsa (ESPN News, 8 p.m.). Keep an eye on Tulsa. It's 6-2 with just the two losses at Ohio State and at Houston. It will make the conference championship game if it wins out, critically beating Navy in Annapolis next week.
Nebraska at Ohio State (ABC, 8 p.m.). This is your personal game of the week. Stay tuned to Eleven Warriors for comprehensive coverage of this game. We'll see you at the Dubgate as well.
Nevada at New Mexico (ESPNU, 10:15 p.m.). 5-3 New Mexico hosts 3-5 Nevada on Saturday night. New Mexico still has an outside shot of winning the Mountain West Mountain division, but it would need another Boise State loss. It would also need to beat Wyoming to end the regular season.
Utah State at Wyoming (ESPN2, 10:15 p.m.). Speaking of Wyoming, the team that upset Boise State last week controls its own destiny in the Mountain West. However, it's just a five-point favorite over a 3-5 Utah State team.
Washington at California (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.). This is Washington's penultimate road game this season. Its next two games are home to USC and Arizona State. The Apple Cup in Pullman looms large on Black Friday.

  •  Redshirt sophomore Kyle Trout and redshirt junior Evan Lisle remain as co-backups at right guard in place of Demetrius Knox, who is out with a broken foot.
  •  Joe Burger remains in place of Justin Hilliard at backup WILL linebacker, who is out for the season with a torn biceps. Ohio State still lists Jerome Baker and Dante Booker as a co-starters at that position, though Baker held the starting spot even since Booker went down with his injury in the season opener.
  •  Booker missed Ohio State's wins against Tulsa, Oklahoma, Rutgers and Indiana with a sprained MCL. He dressed and warmed up before the game at Penn State and last week against Northwestern but did not play.
  •  Despite being the primary kickoff returner for more than a month, Parris Campbell still is not listed at the kickoff return position.
  •  Baker remains Chris Worley's backup at SAM linebacker.
  •  Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes remain co-starters at defensive end opposite of Tyquan Lewis.
  •  Marshon Lattimore remains a co-starter at one cornerback spot with Denzel Ward despite being second on the team with three interceptions.
  •  Ohio State still lists nine starting positions with an "OR."
  88A.J. ALEXANDER6-2254FR   38CRAIG FADA6-1225SR
RB 25MIKE WEBER5-10212FR        
OR 14K.J. HILL6-0200FR       
WR 83TERRY MCLAURIN6-0204SO        
OR 82JAMES CLARK5-10186JR        
  9BINJIMEN VICTOR6-4185FR        
        OR 1JOHNNIE DIXON5-11198SO

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