Nebraska Football: Huskers Prepare For Crucial Tilt With Ohio State

Oct 15, 2016; Bloomington, IN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. (4) throws a pass during the first half of the game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2016; Bloomington, IN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. (4) throws a pass during the first half of the game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

Nebraska football is gearing up for an all-important Big Ten matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes in a game that could have postseason implications.

This week’s game against Ohio State is one of, if not the most anticipated game of the Husker football season this year. After last week’s heartbreaking loss to the Wisconsin Badgers, the Huskers have a lot of work to do, but I have hopes in a win this weekend for Coach Riley and the boys.

Entering this week, the Nebraska football team has a lot of positives and negatives they can take away from the game against Wisconsin. Last week proved many of the doubters wrong, those who believed that Nebraska was a “mediocre” team who didn’t deserve to be anywhere close to where they were ranked.

Many thought that the Badgers were going to demolish Nebraska and that they would be exposed as not being a Top 10 Team.  However, I believe that the Huskers did just the opposite.

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The loss was devastating, don’t get me wrong. As a native Wisconsinite, I wanted nothing more than for Big Red to beat the Badgers. But I also believe, along with the team and coaches, that this loss is more of a motivator and less of a disappointment.

While it is upsetting to see the undefeated record fall, I believe that this loss is just what the team needed to be emotionally and physically ready for their toughest game of the season this week in Columbus, Oh.

Last week, the Huskers put up an amazing fight. Going into overtime, and matching up to Wisconsin in a tough battle for the entire game. While the team can be upset over some of the missed opportunities throughout regulation and overtime, they cannot become hung up over them.

Everyone from Tommy Armstrong Jr. to Nathan Gerry can look at how they played and use last week’s game as a building block for this week.  This entire season, many players and coaches have expressed the importance of taking each game one at a time.

I believe that this mindset is crucial. You cannot get hung up over one loss because it will negatively affect your attitude and performance for the next week. Just the same, you cannot become overconfident after a win, because this too could negatively affect your performance.

While looking at the fact that there were some mistakes, from not-so-sharp passes to a weaker running game, it is also important for everyone to realize all of the positives that came out of last week’s game. Our defense proved themselves as fairly solid last week, with important stops to big plays, along with Gerry’s two interceptions.

The Husker defense could really become a trap to the Buckeye’s offense on Saturday. This season, the Blackshirts have done an amazing job at stopping/preventing passing plays, something that could really serve as a roadblock for a team like Ohio State.

The Buckeyes rank 43rd in the country in Passing IsoPPP (a measure of how explosive passing plays are), while the Huskers rank 5th in the nation for Defensive Passing IsoPPP. With this, however; the Huskers have not played against an offense like Ohio State.

Along with stopping big passing plays, the Huskers are tied for the national lead with a total of 15 interceptions. Aaron Williams and Chris Jones both have three interceptions a piece, and Gerry and Kieron Williams both have four. With this, the Havoc Rate (tackles for loss, forced fumbles, and defended passes) of the Huskers is third in the nation, so this could potentially pose a threat to the Ohio State offense.

When push comes to shove, both teams are going to face obstacles against the other (that’s how football works), but I believe this game is going to be very close and exciting to watch. If the Huskers step up their game from how they played last week, I think we could see the team come out of this weekend with the win.

Next: Nebraska Football: Husker Tailgate, Week 10 in the Horseshoe

Whatever happens, it will be a great game, and all of Husker Nation will stand by Coach Riley and the team no matter what. Go Big Red!