After a rough start to the season, the Big Ten finally had something positive happen last weekend. There were no disappointing non-conference losses, while Ohio State-Michigan State and Wisconsin-Nebraska were two of the best games from a light slate of action in Week 5.
There’s plenty of intrigue on the field for this matchup, but this game also marks the return of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini to Columbus. Pelini played at Ohio State from 1987-1990 and was born in Youngstown. Although Pelini has downplayed the return to Columbus, there has to be a little extra incentive to win on Saturday night.
Even though Ohio State is ineligible to win the Big Ten crown, this is a huge game for both teams. A win over the Cornhuskers would continue to strengthen the Buckeyes’ case as the best team in the Big Ten. Nebraska scored a key win over Wisconsin last week but this is another tough test for a team that could be the best in the Legends Division.
Storylines to Watch in Nebraska vs. Ohio State
Will Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller have any help?
After watching Miller record 90 rushing attempts through the first five games, Urban Meyer and his offensive staff have to find ways to reduce the workload on their sophomore quarterback. Keeping Miller healthy is the top priority for the Buckeyes, especially if they want to make a run at an unbeaten record. However, Ohio State hasn't been able to find many weapons around him, and that task got a little tougher with running back Jordan Hall suffering a knee injury against Michigan State. Hall will be sidelined for Saturday night’s game, which forces Carlos Hyde and Bri’onte Dunn to shoulder more of the workload in the backfield. Two of Ohio State’s biggest preseason concerns – the offensive line and receiving corps – have played relatively well, so the biggest task for the Buckeyes will be to find more playmakers in the backfield to spell Miller. Although the sophomore is one of the top Heisman contenders, relying on him to have 15-20 carries a game is a lot to ask. Expect Nebraska’s defense to do all it can to keep Miller in check, while forcing Hyde or Dunn to carry the rushing attack.