- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Urban Meyer won his Big Ten debut with a hard-nosed defense.
If the Ohio State coach is going to stay unbeaten in the league, it will be up to his spread offense.
The Buckeyes exploded after a sloppy start with four touchdowns in the second quarter, turning around an early deficit and taking a 35-24 lead into the locker room at halftime at Ohio Stadium.
Stat of the half: The Buckeyes didn’t even pick up a first down until the second quarter, but the offense kicked into gear thanks to Braxton Miller’s legs. The Ohio State quarterback brought the Ohio Stadium crowd to life with a 72-yard dash on the way to 137 overall on the ground in the opening half.
Player of the half: Bradley Roby called his shot earlier in the week, but just getting his first interception of the season wasn’t enough for the Ohio State cornerback. The sophomore doubled down after taking his first pick of the season back for a touchdown, nabbing another errant throw from Taylor Martinez in the second quarter to set the Buckeyes up for another score.
What’s working for Ohio State: The Buckeyes are continuing to trust their secondary to make plays as they dial up pressure with the defensive front, and while that helped contribute to a couple of big gains for the Huskers, it also produced two interceptions. John Simon has been a nuisance for Nebraska in the backfield, and the shots Martinez has taken could take a toll on him as the game wears on.
What’s working for Nebraska: The abundance of options in the backfield was bound to make it difficult for Ohio State to pin its ears back defensively, and a couple minor injuries have increased the difficulty of containing Martinez, Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah. The Huskers have 146 yards rushing and have been most effective when using all their options on plays to the perimeter, but they likely aren't going to have much success testing the Buckeyes in the middle after intermission.