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Ohio State football powers past Nebraska, 63-38

Cody Cousino / Multimedia editor

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Ohio State won’t soon forget the 2012 Homecoming football game against Nebraska.

Records fell on the field and in the Ohio Stadium grandstands, and most importantly, No. 12 OSU (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) outlasted No. 21 Nebraska (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) in a raucous, back-and-forth affair, 63-38.

A record Ohio Stadium crowd of 106,102 watched as OSU sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller powered OSU to victory. Miller set a new OSU single-game quarterback rushing record with 186 yards in the game. Miller also threw 127 yards on 7-of-14 pass attempts.

Nebraska junior quarterback Taylor Martinez committed three turnovers in the game, one of which was returned 41 yards by OSU sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby. The game’s second interception, also caught by Roby, set OSU up for a go-ahead score in the second quarter. Martinez would finish the game 15-of-24 on pass attempts for 214 yards.

The two 123-year-old Big Ten powers swapped scores into the second half, and three of the Buckeyes’ touchdowns belonged to junior running back Carlos Hyde. He finished the night with four scores on 140 yards on 28 carries, bringing his career touchdown tally in two games against the Cornhuskers to six.

Hyde scored two touchdowns and ran for 104 yards during the Buckeyes’ Oct. 8 visit to Lincoln last season. OSU lost that game, 34-27, but Saturday was a different story.

OSU and Nebraska seemed to go tit-for-tat on the scoreboard, but a punt return for a touchdown by OSU receiver Corey Brown put the game out of reach once and for all.

Still, the Buckeyes poured on more offense. A 33-yard run by OSU redshirt sophomore Rod Smith put OSU up, 56-31.

Martinez would score to bring Nebraska to within 18 points, but it was too late.

OSU had won, and Meyer had helped the Buckeyes remain undefeated in his first season in Columbus.

After taking a 7-0 lead on Roby’s interception for a touchdown, Nebraska roared out to a 17-7 lead as the Cornhuskers scored on three consecutive drives.

Nebraska sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah scored back-to-back 1-yard touchdown runs to put his team up, 14-7, and senior kicker Brett Maher extended the lead to 17-7 with a 26-yard field goal.

The Buckeyes’ offense sputtered out of the gate, punting on each of its first three drives. After the third punt, which was returned to inside the Buckeyes’ 30-yard line, Nebraska moved the ball 28 yards on just four plays to take the lead at 14-7 on an another 1-yard run by Abdullah.

Abdullah finished the game with 22 yards on six carries.

Like the previous three drives, OSU’s fourth possession ended well short of a score. A failed fake-punt attempt, which saw OSU redshirt senior Ben Buchanan wrapped up prior to gaining the necessary yardage, put Nebraska in line for a third consecutive score. Maher’s kick advanced Nebraska’s advantage to 17-7.

OSU’s offense was floundering, but, as he often does, Miller came to the rescue.
Miller broke a 72-yard run to put the Buckeyes back in scoring position, and the team capitalized when Hyde crossed into the end zone on a 1-yard run.

Junior quarterback Kenny Guiton helped the Buckeyes finish the drive after Miller exited the field with an apparent injury following his long run. He would return on the following drive.

With the score 17-14, Roby struck again, intercepting Martinez for the second time in the half. That set OSU up nicely for the go-ahead score – Miller flicked the ball five yards and sophomore tight end Jeff Heuerman did the rest, running untouched into the south end zone for his first career score.

Martinez was unflinching in his response, though, as he led the Cornhuskers on a four-play, 75-yard drive that he finished himself with a nine-yard run. He barged into the end zone to restore Nebraska’s lead at 24-21 after several missed tackles by OSU.

OSU came right back with a touchdown of its own on a seven-yard run by Hyde, and retook the lead at 28-24 with 3:11 to play in the half. The score represented the fifth and final lead change of the half, and OSU would add to its advantage 23 seconds before half.

On 4th-and-1 from inside Nebraska territory, Miller took the ball on a draw and ended up with an opening that allowed him to run 31 yards to score and advance the OSU lead to 35-24.

After fumbling the ball away to Nebraska and exiting the game with injury briefly in the second quarter, Miller finished the first half with 139 rushing yards. In fact, the entire OSU offense did an about-face in the second quarter – after posting 17 yards 15 minutes into the contest, OSU went to half outgaining the Cornhuskers, 259-241.

Like it did last season in Lincoln, OSU brought a lead into the second half of the game. On Oct. 8, OSU blew the 20-6 lead it held at halftime before eventually falling in Nebraska’s first-ever Big Ten home game, 34-27.

The second-half of Saturday’s game was an erie reminder of last season’s loss – Martinez completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Ben Cotton to bring Nebraska to within a score at 35-31.

OSU quickly erased any chance of a comeback in the teams’ 2012 meetings with another Hyde touchdown. He busted into the north end zone to restore the Buckeyes’ 11-point advantage.

Then the Silver Bullets defense took center stage.

OSU senior defensive end John Simon stymied Nebraska’s next possession with a tackle in the backfield. Senior middle linebacker Storm Klein, who was previously removed from the Buckeyes after being arrested, also sacked Martinez during the Cornhuskers’ second possession of the half.

Nebraska punted the ball away and junior receiver Corey Brown sent the record-Ohio Stadium crowd into a state of delirious celebration when he slid into the end zone on a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Tens of thousands of scarlet-clad OSU supporters bounced and shook the grandstands with thunderous cheering, and the cheering continued on Nebraska’s next possession.

Martinez had the Cornhuskers offense driving late in the third quarter, but sailed a pass attempt that was intercepted by senior safety Orhian Johnson.

After Smith 33-yard score in the fourth quarter, Martinez led Nebraska on another scoring drive, which he finished himself on a touchdown run less than six minutes remaining in the game, which OSU would take.

Hyde punched in a late, 16-yard score to seal the victory for the Buckeyes.

OSU is next scheduled to play Indiana in Bloomington, Ind., at 8 p.m. next Saturday. 

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