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Saturday, October 6
8:00 ET
ABC

Nebraska has struggled badly against teams with mobile quarterbacks, and Ohio States Braxton Miller is probably the best dual-threat QB in college football. In the past three years, look at how Nebraska has fared against these mobile QB's:


  • 2010: Bowl Game vs Washington: L 19-7: Jake Locker 13 att 83 yds 1 TD
    2011: @ Wisconsin: L 48-17: Russell Wilson 6 car 32yds 1 TD (bought time for pass with feet)
    2011: vs Ohio St W 34-27: Braxton Miller 10 car 91 yds (got hurt in 2nd half)
    2011: vs Northwestern L 25-28: Kain Colter 17 car 57 yds 2TD
    2011: @ Michigan: L 17-45: Dennard Robinson 23 car 83 yds 2 TD
    2011: Bowl Game vs South Carolina: L 13-30: Connor Shaw 19 car 42 yd 1 TD
    2012: @ UCLA: Hundley 12 car 53 yd, 305 pass yd 4 TD

Nebraska could not get the opposing team's offense off of the field in all of those games. Those quarterbacks not only ran the ball effectively, but they also moved around and bought time with their feet to open up big plays in the passing game. This has been a huge Achilles heal for Nebraska under Bo Pelini, and I'm not sure if they can reverse that trend on the road Saturday against a gamer like Braxton Miller.

On the other side of the ball, I am not completely sold on Martinez as a passer quite yet. His stats look good (mostly against cupcakes), but he still has to prove himself in tough spots. He fared well in a comeback win over Wisconsin last week, but I still question whether he has the pocket presence, poise, and decision making ability to lead his team on the road in a tight game. When faced with any type of pressure, Martinez has released some terrible throws or just completely folded in the pocket. Expect Ohio State to load up against the rushing attack of Burkhead and Abdullah to make the Huskers beat them through the air. Nebraska's offense has had trouble with rhythm all year, and if the Huskers can't keep Braxton Miller off the field, expect the offense to be out-of-sync and restless (much like what happened in the second half of the UCLA game where they mustered only 60 yards passing).

As coach of Nebraska, Bo Pelini is 0-5 straight up as a road underdog, and most of those losses aren't even close (like @Wisconsin and @Michigan last year). It will be hard for him to buck that trend against a Ohio State team with a mobile quarterback coached by Urban Meyer. Somebody pointed out to me that Nebraska is 9-3-1 ATS recently against ranked teams. If you look closer at those numbers, they are 1-3 in the past year, with that one win coming at home vs Michigan State last season. Most of the other covers came in 2009, when Nebraska had Suh and that stellar defense. This defense is nowhere near that caliber. Additionally, the revenge factor comes into play from that blown lead to the Huskers in Lincoln last year. While I'm not putting this one on the Pick List, I will advsie to LEAN OHIO STATE -3.

 


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