COLUMBUS, Ohio — Wow, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer really is a wizard. On Saturday night, he had the power to induce memory loss in Nebraska coach Bo Pelini.
Remember how Pelini chided all who would listen after the Wisconsin game eight days ago, saying “you thought I forgot how to coach defense.''
Whatever recall Pelini and his Blackshirts had about stopping an offense vanished Saturday night in a hail of Buckeye points, drives and big plays.
Ohio State, which in its previous two games had scored 29 points against UTEP and 17 against Michigan State, put up more than that added together in thrashing Nebraska 63-38.
The Buckeyes' spread offense had the Blackshirts looking downright Cosgrovian. Yet Meyer's first and most-repeated comment afterward was about how poorly Ohio State played in the first 15 minutes, gaining only 17 yards in 13 plays.
“The first quarter was a train wreck for our offense,'' Meyer said. “It's because we were playing a very good defense.
“They came out and hit us in the mouth. We had to keep going. But our offensive line eventually took over that game.''
After four straight three-and-outs, Ohio State scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions: 75 yards in three plays; 20 yards in two plays; 75 yards in 10 plays; 57 yards in six plays; and 75 yards in 10 plays.
That outburst flipped a 17-7 deficit into a 35-24 lead.
OSU was 70 yards into a drive for a sixth consecutive touchdown before fumbling the ball away. No matter. The Buckeyes forced a Nebraska three-and-out, then drove 62 yards for another touchdown in three plays.
The player who changed the game was the one you would have expected.
Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller raced 72 yards on Ohio State's first play of the second quarter, starting the onslaught of points and knocking Nebraska back mentally with his twists and bursts.
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He finished with what for him was an average night: 313 total yards (186 rushing, 127 passing) and two touchdowns.
“We have a quarterback,'' Meyer said, “who is ridiculous at running the ball.''
That quarterback also said he doesn't know his first-year coach's offense very well.
“I'm learning every week,'' Miller said. “They keep putting new stuff in, and I'm just trying to get it down pat.''
Nebraska never stopped Miller as a true freshman last year in Lincoln until he left the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle. NU rallied from a 27-6 deficit to win 34-27.
But Miller dismissed any talk of payback Saturday night.
“We were not looking back at all,'' he said. “We just wanted to do the deal. I think we can do better. We have a lot more to do.''
Yes, folks, Ohio State's offense is still operating somewhere between second and third gear.
“You can see what we are. We're kind of a pound-it-at-you offense right now,'' Meyer said. “I don't mind that.''
Evidence of that came from the statistics sheet. Ohio State's wide receivers caught only three passes on a 63-point night. The top big-play threat, Devin Smith, had zero catches.
As for the last touchdown with 48 seconds left, well, maybe that was Meyer's warning shot across the bow of the rest of the Big Ten. His strictly managed press conference ended before a direct question was asked about it.
Miller said that in the locker room hubbub, Meyer asked the team: “How many points did we put up again?''
More than enough to make Nebraska fans want to forget.
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>> Video: NU's Bo Pelini after the Nebraska-Ohio State game:
>> Video: Postgame analysis with Rich Kaipust:
>> Video: The Huskers arrive at Ohio Stadium: