Buckeyes hang on to win 26-17 over struggling Huskers

Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
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LINCOLN, Neb. – A nine-point win over the last-place team in the Big Ten West might not satisfy Ohio State’s fan base.

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day was just fine with it.

C.J. Stroud threw for 405 yards and two touchdowns, Ohio State’s defense came up with a pair of stops after Nebraska had pulled within six points, and the sixth-ranked Buckeyes got out of Memorial Stadium with a 26-17 win on Saturday.

“We’re going to watch it and think we could have won by three touchdowns or more if we clean some things up,” Day said. “But (Nebraska) is a good team, this is a good defense. We knew that coming in, I said that, and I believe that. It’s great to get wins on the road. It’s not easy to do.”

The Buckeyes’ nation-leading offense managed only two field goals in the second half, allowing the Cornhuskers – a two-touchdown underdog, according to FanDuel Sportsbook – to make it a one-score game until Noah Ruggles kicked a 46-yard field goal with 1:29 left.

Ohio State (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten) won its 24th straight game against a conference opponent but couldn’t have impressed the committee that made it No. 5 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.

“Some things weren’t clicking right, and they put it on me to execute the passing game, and I felt we did that well,” Stroud said. “We have to start executing and finishing drives.”

The Huskers (3-7, 1-6) dropped their fourth straight game and are assured of a fourth consecutive losing season under Scott Frost and a fifth in a row overall.

“I hate losing more than anybody in that locker room,” Frost said. “But I just love being the coach here, I love these kids. They battled through a lot. This is going to pop at Nebraska. It just is. We’re doing too many good things right. We have too many good young players. We’re putting ourselves in position to win too many games and just not making a play or catching a break.”

The Buckeyes played without top receiver Garrett Wilson for an undisclosed reason but got a school-record 15 catches from Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a career-high 240 yards.

Stroud completed 36 of 54 passes but threw two interceptions after having gone four straight games without being picked off.

His 3-yard touchdown pass to Chris Olave and Smith-Njigba’s 75-yard catch-and-run for a TD helped put the Buckeyes up 20-10 at half.

The Huskers scored late in the third quarter to pull within 23-17 and got the ball right back when Myles Farmer intercepted Stroud’s deep ball intended for Olave. Nebraska drove to the 13, but Chase Contreraz missed a 30-yard field goal attempt.

The Buckeyes were forced to punt and Nebraska began its next possession at its 10 with 6:11 left. Adrian Martinez started it with a 21-run but threw three straight incomplete passes to bring on the punter.

Martinez was 16 of 31 for 248 yards and a touchdown, with his lone interception coming in the final minute. He ran 18 times for 51 yards and a score.

Nebraska’s Samori Toure had four catches for 150 yards and a touchdown.

“I’m proud of our guys for continuing to fight and the way we had each other’s backs out there and stuck together through everything, through the noise,” Martinez said. “The brotherhood is strong here at Nebraska and we believe in each other, so we’re going to keep pressing on.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Ohio State: The Buckeyes played an uninspired second half of offense but held on to avoid their first loss to a team with a losing record since 2011.

Nebraska: The Huskers have lost 16 straight against ranked opponents, and special teams hurt them again. They missed two field goals and had a 13-yard punt that led to an Ohio State touchdown.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Ohio State could get dinged by AP Top 25 voters, and the CFP committee also might do a double-take after the flat performance.

MARTINEZ PLAYING HURT

Frost disclosed after the game that Martinez has been playing with a broken jaw since late September and high ankle sprain since mid-October. Martinez decided to not have season-ending surgery on his jaw so he could continue playing.

PREGAME ‘MEETING’

An hour before kickoff, about a dozen players from each team jawed at each other during a brief confrontation in the area where Nebraska was warming up. A Nebraska player shoved an Ohio State player in the chest before staff from both teams broke things up.

UP NEXT

Ohio State hosts Purdue next Saturday.

Nebraska visits Wisconsin on Nov. 20.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.