LINCOLN, NEB. (AP) - Nebraska might look back on its record-setting comeback win over Ohio State as the game that saved its season.
A week after a 31-point loss at Wisconsin, the Cornhuskers trailed by 21 points in the third quarter before they won 34-27 Saturday night in the greatest comeback in program history.
With a challenging schedule in their inaugural Big Ten season, an 0-2 start in league play would have been devastating for the preseason pick to win the Legends Division.
The Huskers (5-1, 1-1), who remained No. 14 in The Associated Press Top 25 and a game behind Michigan in the division, have an open date this week before they go to struggling Minnesota on Oct. 22.
Home games against No. 23 Michigan State and Northwestern follow. Back-to-back road games against Penn State and No. 11 Michigan precede Iowa’s Thanksgiving weekend visit.
“Our football team is ready for a bye,” coach Bo Pelini said. “I think they need a break, mentally and physically.”
Ohio State (3-3, 0-2) probably would like to get away from the stress and strain of the season, too.
The Buckeyes lost for the third time in four games and continue to reel from on-field problems stemming from injuries and NCAA violations and suspensions.
Ohio State plays at unbeaten and 16th-ranked Illinois this week before its open date. Then the Buckeyes play No. 4 Wisconsin at home.
“These guys are resilient, and it’s going to come down to a commitment to each other,” Ohio State coach Luke Fickell said.
“We have a lot of pride in what we do, a lot of pride in ourselves, a lot of pride in the university. We’re going to have to call upon their pride. It’s not going to be easy to get over.”
The same could have been said for Nebraska if it hadn’t won the first Big Ten game at Memorial Stadium.
Not much has come easily the first half of the season for the Huskers. The defense has been awful at times, and quarterback Taylor Martinez has been up and down.
Martinez, who threw three interceptions in the 48-17 loss at Wisconsin, was picked off late in the first half Saturday. That led to a field goal that put Ohio State up 20-6 at halftime, and Martinez and his teammates were booed as they ran to the locker room.
The Huskers went three-and-out on the first series of the second half, and Ohio State drove 47 yards in seven plays to increase its lead to 27-6.