In just eight days, the Ohio State football team will be taking the field against Nebraska, giving us a perfect opportunity to predict the eight games the Buckeyes will play.
While games could be postponed, we will take a look at each of the eight games, starting with Adrian Martinez and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Game 1: Oct. 24 vs. Nebraska
The Cornhuskers should be a good first test for the Buckeyes. They’re not as talented as Penn State or Michigan but have a solid team, with dual-threat QB Adrian Martinez leading the way. Head coach Scott Frost has plenty of holes to fill, though.
On defense, which returns just 4 starters, the Cornhuskers ranked 11th in the Big Ten in rushing yards allowed per game, but did slightly better against the pass, finishing 30th nationally, allowing 200 passing yards per game.
On offense, Martinez struggled at times, with a TD-INT ratio of 10-9. A strength of the team is that running attack, which returns its three biggest producers after running for 203.3 yards per game, ranking 30th nationally and third in the Big Ten.
Against the well-rounded Buckeyes, the Cornhuskers will have their hands full. So many first games in college football this year have been lopsided due to one team being much more prepared, and I can see that happening in Columbus next Saturday.
Ohio State 42, Nebraska 10
Game 2: Oct. 31 at Penn State
Both the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions are fortunate this isn’t their first game. Although stand-out linebacker Micah Parsons has decided to remain opted-out, the team James Franklin has in Happy Valley has to be hungry to beat the Buckeyes for the first time since 2016.
QB Sean Clifford is efficient, throwing for 2,654 yards, 23 TDs, and 7 INTs. In the backfield, Journey Brown ran for 890 yards and 12 TDs, while Clifford and Noah Cain also combined for 845 yards rushing and 13 TDs. Stopping the running game will be a big challenge for the Buckeyes.
Without Parsons, the fifth-best rushing defense in 2019 still returns senior defensive end Shaka Toney, who has racked up 15 sacks and 21 TFLs over his first three years in State College. Against the pass, however, the Nittany Lions were 13th in the Big Ten, and return half of their four starters in the secondary.
If the Nittany Lions have addressed their pass defense struggles from last year, they could pull the upset at home. However, I think Justin Fields, Chris Olave, and Garrett Wilson expose the weak secondary to come away with their most important win of the season.
Ohio State 37, Penn State 28