Five takeaways from Ohio State’s 26-17 win over Nebraska

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The Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate second-year linebacker Steele Chambers (22) after making a tackle in the Ohio State-Nebraska game on Saturday. Ohio State won 26-17. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo editor

A few words to describe Ohio State’s No.5 victory over Nebraska: white punch, edgy and jaw-dropping action.

There were times when it looked like the Cornhuskers were going to add their name to the laundry list of upheavals in college football this year.

It wasn’t exactly the Buckeyes’ best performance in their escape from 26-17 in Lincoln, Nebraska, but here’s what they showed on the grill on Saturday.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba sets reception record

Ohio State sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) carries the ball after a pass in the Ohio State-Nebraska game on Saturday. Ohio State won 26-17. Photo credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo editor

Following a disastrous backpack on Ohio State’s latest goal which was picked up by red-shirted first-year center Luke Wypler, the Cornhuskers requested a time-out to set up a 2nd and 21 .

To save practice, red-shirted first-year quarterback CJ Stroud teamed up with second-year wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a five-yard gain.

At the time, Buckeye fans were probably wondering how Ohio State would win the third and long, but it was the 15th take of the Smith-Njigba game, break former wide receiver David Boston’s single-game receptions record.

Smith-Njigba put in an incredible 15 catches, 240 yards and one touchdown performance, making up for the loss of junior wide receiver Garrett Wilson who missed Saturday’s game with injury.

This should come as no surprise as the Rockwall, Texas native has led the Buckeyes in receiving yards for the previous two weeks, nearly eclipsing the mark of the century in both competitions.

Smith-Njigba is third in the Big Ten and 13th nationally with 888 yards this year.

Garrett Wilson’s status moving forward

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Ohio State junior wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) runs for a touchdown in the Ohio State-Rutgers game on October 2. Ohio State won 52-13. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo editor

About an hour and a half before kick-off, news broke that Wilson was out with an undisclosed injury.

Head coach Ryan Day said after the game Wilson’s injury was “daily” and he hoped to “get him back for next week”.

Smith-Njigba took on the role of No. 2 receiver as the Buckeyes’ offense saw rotations for third place. Second-year wide receiver Julian Fleming entered the starting lineup, as he toured with freshmen Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. sharing snaps in Wilson’s absence.

The impact of Wilson not being on the pitch is obvious, but Stroud managed to pull through anyway. The TheEmpire, Calif. Native has eclipsed 400 yards for the third time this season with a 36-for-54 assist.

Ryan Day’s questionable play-call

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Ohio State head coach Ryan Day stands on the sidelines during the Ohio State-Nebraska game on Saturday. Ohio State won 26-17. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo editor

Not many complaints can be said for Day, who called up playing his entire career as an Ohio State head coach.

He’s 31-3, having yet to lose to an opponent in the conference, while leading an offense that is second in total offense and scoring the offense.

Saturday was another story, however.

Ohio State’s final training is where the problem comes in.

On a first and 10 play on the 34-yard Nebraska line, Stroud fell back and was sacked by Cornhuskers second-year linebacker Garrett Nelson. Had it not been for Wypler’s heroic effort to reclaim the loose ball, Nebraska would have been prepared for a potential equalizer in the midfield.

The question to ask is: why didn’t Day choose to throw the ball in this situation?

The Buckeyes had finally established the running game – first-year running back TreVeyon Henderson gained over a third of his rushing yards and junior Master Backer Teague III moved the chains with a 2-yard run to second and 1.

With a new run of lows, Ohio State could have run the ball and forced Nebraska to use their three timeouts, as taking a first down after that would have put the game on ice.

The loss of distance did not come back to bite the Buckeyes as graduate kicker Noah Ruggles scored a 46-yard field goal to put the game out of reach, but if he missed and the Cornhuskers won, who knows the extent of the conversation surrounding Day’s call on this record?

Noah Ruggles: a weapon

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Ohio State graduate kicker Noah Ruggles (95) after scoring a field goal in the Ohio State-Nebraska game on Saturday. Ohio State won 26-17. Photo credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo editor

Ruggles fielded a 46-yard field goal with 1:29 left in the fourth quarter. A conversion puts the game out of reach and a miss gives Nebraska a chance to equalize.

The bullet was snapped, held and punctured between the uprights with the wind blowing in its face that ranged from 6.9 mph to 9.2 mph that day.

It was his fourth field goal and, according to Ohio State football sports news director Jerry Emig, it was the first time in the program’s history that a kicker had made four strokes. of foot in consecutive matches.

Day said after the match that Ruggles has “become a weapon”For the Buckeyes, especially in the close games they have played in the past two weeks in which his goals scored have made the difference between winning and losing.

Ruggles has yet to miss a kick this season, going 15 for 15 for field goals and 49 for 49 for extra points.

TreVeyon Henderson’s miraculous streak comes to an end

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Ohio State running back Treveyon Henderson (32) rushes for the ball in the Ohio State-Nebraska game on Saturday. Ohio State won 26-17. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo editor

Henderson’s stat line may have looked a little below his standards, averaging nearly eight yards per carry on Saturday, but he still had a good day with 92 yards on 21 carries.

There was, however, one huge void that he’s not used to seeing in his stats row: a goose egg in the touchdown column.

Nebraska became the first team all season to keep the Hopewell, Va. Native out of the end zone, shattering his incredible streak of goals scored in every game to start his college career.

Henderson is still tied for fifth in the country with 15 touchdowns in 2021, looking to find a familiar home in the end zone against Purdue who has allowed at least 23 points in each of the last three games.


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