Samuel and No. 6 Ohio State cruise past No. 9 Nebraska 62-3

Ohio State running back Curtis Samuel, top, celebrates his touchdown against Nebraska during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/AP

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Curtis Samuel had 178 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard touchdown reception on Ohio State's first play of the second half, and the sixth-ranked Buckeyes dominated No. 9 Nebraska 62-3 on Saturday night.

After three straight weeks of close games and inconsistent offense, the Buckeyes (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten) put forth their best performance of the season, led 31-3 at the half and handed the Cornhuskers (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) their most lopsided loss since 2004.

''I didn't see this one coming,'' Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

Damon Webb got it started with a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown on Nebraska's first drive of the game. J.T. Barrett led three long touchdown drives, including a 15-play, 85-yarder that ended with 1-yard jump TD pass to Samuel with 3 seconds left in the half.

''Everything was clicking. The run game. The pass game,'' Samuel said. ''Everything was going great tonight.''

The Cornhuskers were playing as a top-10 team in November for the first time since 2010, but proved to still be a long way from the elites in the Big Ten. Nebraska is still in the Big Ten West race, but a loss to Wisconsin last week means the Huskers will need help.

''That was real bad, and we're all responsible for it, and Ohio State played really well,'' Nebraska coach Mike Riley said.

Nebraska lost quarterback Tommy Armstrong to a scary head injury in the second quarter, when the senior slammed the side of his helmet on the turf after being knocked out of bounds. Armstrong was taken from the stadium in an ambulance, but returned to the sideline in sweats in the third quarter.

Riley said it was too early to determine Armstrong's status for next week.

THE TAKEAWAY

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers rode a fairly easy first-half schedule into the top 10 and gave their fans some hope that maybe they could be in the mix for a College Football Playoff spot down the stretch. Not happening. The loss was the Huskers' most lopsided since a 70-10 beating by Texas Tech in 2004. Year Two under Riley for the Huskers represents a step forward, not a giant leap.

''The game came out of the blue to me,'' Riley said.

Ohio State: Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer has answered so many questions about getting the ball to Samuel more often over the last few weeks that he was laughing about them during the week leading up to Nebraska. Whether it was by design or not, Samuel had his best game since the opener against Bowling Green.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Nebraska: The Huskers are likely to plummet when the new AP rankings come out Sunday and the playoff rankings are updated Tuesday.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes were impressive enough to at least consider having them jump ahead of undefeated Washington in both the AP and playoff rankings.

NEXT

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers return home to play Minnesota, which is tied atop the West standings with Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes face Maryland in the first of two straight away from Ohio Stadium. Ohio State's next home game is Nov. 26 against No. 2 Michigan.

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