Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 10/5/12
Last week, Ohio State won its biggest game yet. The reward for the 5-0 Buckeyes? Their biggest game yet -- again. Nebraska visits Ohio Stadium for what's been planned for months as a prime-time spotlight game. The 4-1 Huskers rallied from 17 points down last week vs. Wisconsin and has scored at least 30 points in all five games this season. Both teams rely on athletic quarterbacks and have become accustomed to scoring in bunches. Former Buckeye safety Bo Pelini returns to Ohio Stadium for the first time as a head coach, and he brings a Nebraska team that has multiple offensive weapons and an experience-laden depth chart. It's Urban Meyer's first night game and first Big Ten home game as head coach, and the winner of this one will take a big step towards winning its division of the split Big Ten. Below are five issues, questions andor statements of fact that both teams must tackle in order to win what both would consider a crucial game... 1. Braxton Miller is really fast Ohio State has another running back injury, has a passing game that still isn't where it needs to be and has probably been lucky to win in two of the last three weeks. Meanwhile, Miller has carried the offense when he's needed to and shown an extra gear that's been good enough to put him in serious Heisman Trophy contention. Who, really, has been better? The Buckeyes are running for 224 yards a game -- Miller's running for 115 of those himself -- and are forcing defenses to react to varying formations with a singular intent: To get Miller free, and let him go to work. 2. Taylor Martinez is really fast Nebraska has an athletic quarterback of its own, and thus far in his junior season Martinez has been a steady, mature playmaker. He's directing an offense that ranks 10th in the nation in scoring, fifth in rushing and showed last week it's never really out of a game. Ohio State was able to get to Michigan State's Le'veon Bell last week before he really got going, but Martinez and Nebraska want to get into space not only where they can look to create big plays, but where Ohio State has a bad habit of taking poor angles and missing tackles. "You'll see two of the finest athletic quarterbacks in America on the field this weekend," Urban Meyer said this week. 3. For Ohio State, there's a revenge factor at play The Buckeyes led last year's game in Lincoln, 27-6, before the wheels totally came off and the Huskers staged the biggest comeback in school history. It was a sign of things to come later in the year, but at the time it represented a huge missed opportunity. Meyer has this group focused on making the best of its situation with a bowl ban looming, and he said he's heard players talking about owing Nebraska one for last year. It doesn't matter in all the X-and-O'ing both coaches did this week, and it won't matter once the game starts rolling. But the Buckeyes have had this one circled and know it's fine to deliver an "A" performance. 4. Does Nebraska need it more than Ohio State does? The Huskers dropped a head-scratcher at UCLA in Week Two and were flat last week before hitting the gas and scoring a huge win vs. Wisconsin. The Big Ten is taking a beating nationally, and Nebraska didn't come to the league last year thinking it was going to be anything but a perennial participant in the Big Ten title game. These are the games Bo Pelini needs to win, and he has a roster equipped to win them. This one is especially big because Nebraska is off next week, then at currently unbeaten Northwestern, then has back-to-back games with Michigan and at Michigan State. A 2-0 conference record would put Nebraska in the Legends Division driver's seat. 5. Ohio State has flaws, but it should have a real home-field advantage There will be more than 105,000 fans in the stands, and 100,000 of them will be cheering for the home team. A night kickoff means those fans have all day to drink, um, caffeine and get themselves ready. Meyer isn't afraid to play to the crowd, either, and Nebraska needs a strong start to quiet the crowd in its first visit to Columbus since 1956. The Huskers players have played in intimidating environments before, sure, but this current group hasn't tried to adjust at the line of scrimmage with John Simon and Johnathan Hankins getting ready to blitz and all that noise coming. The best way for the Buckeyes to maximize the crowd goes back to the top of the list. Miller is the best player on the field, and another big night from him should be enough.
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