No. 9 Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-1 SU, 5-2-1 ATS) vs. No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday November 5th, 2016. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Ohio Stadium Columbus, O.H.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NEB +17/OSU -17
Over/Under Total: 52.5
One of the top games of the weekend will take place in Columbus this Saturday when the no. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes host the no. 9 Nebraska Cornhuskers for a Big Ten showdown between Top 10 ranked teams. The Cornhuskers suffered their first loss of the season last week in a 23-17 overtime loss to no. 11 Wisconsin. However, Nebraska still holds a one game advantage over Minnesota in the Big Ten Western Division. If the Cornhuskers could find a way to bounce back with an impressive victory on Saturday, it would nearly solidify their chances towards playing for the Big Ten Championship.
On the other hand if Nebraska were to loss, they could potentially lose control of the West to Minnesota or Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are also in a similar must win situation for their Big Ten Title hopes. After their upset loss to Penn State, Ohio State righted the ship last week with a 24-20 victory over Northwestern. While the win was not necessarily impressive, it kept the Buckeyes in the thick of the Big Ten Championship picture and kept their College Football Playoffs hopes alive as well. The Buckeyes have a tough remaining schedule with Nebraska this week along with Michigan State and their finale with no. 2 Michigan. However if they can somehow pull out wins in those games, they should be in the playoffs.
The focus for the Buckeyes in this week’s game with Nebraska will be slowing down their rushing attack that has racked up over 200 yards per game on the season. Running back Terrell Newby leads the team with 588 rushing yards but quarterback Tommy Armstrong has cashed in the most touchdowns on the team with 7 rushing scores. Armstrong has produced 419 yards on 94 rushes to head this run first offense. The Cornhuskers have not been as dangerous through the air as Armstrong sports a mere 53% completion rate with 11 scores and 7 picks. However, they have still been very solid on the ground and their reliable defense gives them plenty of opportunities with the football.
In fact, Nebraska’s defense has been one of the biggest contributors to their impressive performance this season. The Cornhuskers have given up just 342 yards per game of total offense and they allowed just 18.75 points per game which is the 18th best mark in the FBS. So why is this 7-1 team a 17 point dog on the road despite a very good rushing attack and an even better defense you may ask? Well unfortunately for Nebraska fans, Ohio State has a very similar style of play only with even better performance standards.
The Buckeyes are averaging 272 yards per game on the ground which is the . The defense has been absolutely dynamic holding opponents to under 300 yards per game. The Buckeyes mark of 295 yards allowed per game gives them the 6th ranked overall defense in the FBS and that same defense has given up just 15.1 points per game on the season which is also the 6th best mark in college football. Therefore, we have two teams that really put a lot of emphasis on their running game and rely on their defense rather significantly. The difference is that Ohio State has performed even better than Nebraska in both categories.
To add to Ohio State’s advantage, quarterback J.T. Barrett is a big play threat and can make the throws down the field whereas Nebraska has not had much success at all throwing the football. Barrett is hitting 64% of his passes and has racked up 1,675 yards with 17 touchdowns and just 4 picks on the season. Therefore while Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel may not find as much real estate as normal on the ground, Barrett still gives the Buckeyes a reliable threat in the passing game which will likely be a big difference for the home team on Saturday.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like Ohio State in this spot but the 17 point total is pretty hefty. Instead, I think there is more value in the under 52.5 total as both defenses live up to their reputations. Take the under 52.5
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