Nebraska is coming off a tough loss to the Wisconsin Badgers, who remain as the favorite in the Big Ten West. The Huskers battled for three quarters before simply running out of gas in the last stanza.
The Huskers will need to forget about that loss quickly, as another top ten team in the Ohio State Buckeyes will be coming to town this weekend.
The Huskers and Buckeyes met in Columbus last year in a game which resulted in a very forgettable encounter for the Huskers. The Buckeyes jumped on the Huskers early and ended up scoring north of 60 points in a demolition derby. The final score was 62-3.
Hopefully, the game will end up being much closer on Saturday night. Nebraska has a much improved pass offense and had some new wrinkles to move quarterback Tanner Lee around the pocket against Wisconsin which helped erase the pass rush for the most part.
The game will take place on October 14th at 7:30pm (ET) at Memorial Stadium. The Cornhuskers had won 21 consecutive home night games in Lincoln, but that streak was snapped by the Badgers a week ago.
Nebraska is currently a 24-point home underdog, which hasn’t happened in at least 60 years. Suffice to say, a Husker win would be an incredible upset.
Before the game kicks off under the lights on Friday, a great deal can be learned by taking a look back at the last five recruiting classes fielded by both teams.
For objectivity, the recruiting site 247Sports was used to determine which team has been more effective on the recruiting trail over the past few years. The majority of the players who will be on the field Saturday were members of the 2013-2016 recruiting classes.
Back in 2013, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer landed a star-studded recruiting class which was ranked as the second best in the nation. That class includes starting players J.T. Barrett (4-star), Marcus Baugh (4-star), Billy Price (4-star), Tyquon Lewis (4-star), Tracy Sprinkle (3-star) and Chris Wormley (3-star).
In 2013, Bo Pelini’s final season as head coach of the Cornhuskers, the team finished with the 22nd rated recruiting class in the nation. That class included starters such as Marcus Newby (4-star) and David Knevel (3-star).
In 2014, Meyer once again landed a top five class which ended up being rated as the number three rated class in the country. Starters from that class include Jamarco Jones (4-star), Johnnie Dixon (4-star), Parris Campbell (4-star), Sam Hubbard (4-star), Dante Booker (4-star) and Damon Webb (4-star).
On the other side, the Cornhuskers, who were transitioning to current head coach Mike Riley, finished their 2014 recruiting class rated 35th nationally.
Some notable starters who developed out of the Huskers 2014 class include Tanner Farmer (4-star), Nick Gates (4-star), Jerald Foster (3-star), Mick Stoltenburg (3-star), Luke Gifford (3-star), Josh Kalu (3-star) and Freedom Akinmoladun (3-star).
In 2015, Urban Meyer’s class dropped all the way down to seventh nationally. The Buckeyes starters who emerged from that class include Isaiah Prince (4-star), Jerome Baker (4-star), Jashon Cornell (4-star) and Brandon Bowden (3-star).
In 2015, Mike Riley’s first full season as the head coach, the Huskers recruiting class ended up being ranked 30th in the nation. Notable players to emerge out of Riley’s first full recruiting class are Eric Lee (4-star), Khalil Davis (3-star), Carlos Davis (3-star), Dedrick Young (3-star) and Stanley Morgan (3-star).
In 2016, Urban Meyer landed another top five recruiting class, as his 2016 class ended up being ranked as the fourth best in the nation. Contributors from Meyer’s 2016 class include Nick Bosa (5-star), Jordan Fuller (4-star), Austin Mack (4-star) and Michael Jordan (4-star).
In 2016, Riley recruited very well and ended up securing the 26th best class in the nation. Notable Huskers already contributing early in their second season of college football are Lamar Jackson (4-star), JD Spielman (3-star) and Tre Bryant (3-star).
Over in Columbus, Urban Meyer has continued to bring in elite level talent, as his 2017 class ended up being rated as the second rated class in the nation. Early contributors from this class have been J.K. Dobbins (4-star), Jeffrey Okudoh (5-star), Isaiah Pryor (4-star) and Haskell Garrett (4-star).
In Lincoln, Riley and the Cornhuskers’ 2017 recruiting class was rated as the 27th best in the nation. So far, Tyjon Lindsey (4-star) has been the biggest true freshman contributor for the Huskers.
The five year average recruiting class ranking for both schools ended up being:
Ohio State – 3.6 Nebraska – 27
Obviously, Nebraska is in for a very challenging game come Saturday night. The talent the Buckeyes possess is eye-opening. It will take a herculean effort by the Cornhuskers to outplay the Buckeyes for 60 minutes, especially considering the physical toll the defense took last week by playing the Wisconsin Badgers.