In the month since I prematurely buried the Los Angeles Kings, the’ve battled back from a 3-0 deficit against the San Jose Sharks and staved off elimination Wednesday night to pull even with the Anaheim Ducks. Now we have a winner-take-all Game 7 Friday night, for the right to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals.According to the most commonly cited advanced stat, the Kings shouldn’t have had things so hard. As I’ve previously written, they finished first in the NHL during the regular season in score-close Fenwick percentage, a measurement of how much a team controls possession of the puck. The consensus of hockey analysts is that dominating possession is the most predictive single component of a team’s performance, since the rate at which the puck finds the net once a shot is taken can be subject to wild fluctuations due to random chance.In the Kings’ defense, their first-round opponents, the Sharks, ranked third in the NHL in Fenwick close during the regular season, making it more likely the two teams would have to battle deep into a series. (The Sharks also had home-ice advantage in the series) But Los Angeles’ matchup with the Ducks is another case entirely. During the regular season, Anaheim ranked just 16th out of the 30 NHL teams in Fenwick close, relying more on high shooting and save percentages — metrics that statisticians traditionally attribute more to luck, even over the sample of an entire season — than to constant puck-possession.So far in this clash of hockey cultures, things have largely played out according to form. During 5-on-5 situations with the score close (the same conditions measured by Fenwick close), the Kings have dominated possession. But Fenwick close by itself ignores other aspects of the game, such as special teams (where the Ducks have had a slight advantage) and, even more important, shooting percentage. In the series so far, Anaheim is converting shots into goals at a rate 1.1 percentage points higher than LA.Looking at possession metrics alone would have suggested a mismatch before the series, but the betting lines had the Kings as only a slim favorite after taking into account the Ducks’ home-ice advantage. This implies that the market was building in some expectation that the teams’ differences in shooting percentage during the regular season (Anaheim ranked first in the NHL; Los Angeles ranked 28th) could be counted upon to continue in a head-to-head matchup.There’s a good amount of evidence that, across the NHL as a whole, team shooting and save percentages have a strong tendency to regress toward the overall league average. But in the case of outliers like the Ducks and Kings, there’s probably something real going on that makes looking at Fenwick close by itself an insufficient gauge of relative team strength.Anything can happen on the ice in a Game 7, and Friday night’s outcome is hardly a referendum on either playing style, but the Kings-Ducks finale will be the culmination of an interesting contrast in hockey philosophies that proves the game is still more complicated than we’d sometimes like to believe.
$50John Kerry, the United States secretary of state, owes the city of Boston a $50 fine for failing to shovel his sidewalk. Kerry was in Saudi Arabia — a nation not known for its snow-clearance legislation — as a blizzard struck New England this week. [The Boston Globe]63.9 percentThe home ownership rate is now at its lowest level since 1994, down to 63.9 percent in the final quarter of 2014. [Los Angeles Times]96 tonsAmount of dog poop generated in New York City each day. [FiveThirtyEight]98 percent of scientistsAbout 98 percent scientists say the public’s lack of knowledge about science is a problem, so why don’t you guys go learn a book or something, geez. [Re/code]3,000 storiesI thought I was safe in journalism — I’d picked a good field, one that couldn’t be automated. I was wrong. The Associated Press is already automatically generating 3,000 stories each quarter. Right now, those stories are about companies’ quarterly earnings, but who knows when the robots will move on to the dog poop beat. [The Verge]$1.3 billionNew York City cultural institutions spent $1.3 billion on new construction over the past five years on projects including the expansion of the Queens Museum and the renovation of the fountains at the Met. In 2014, construction expenditures were up 46 percent from 2013 to $208 million. [Crain’s New York] One more plea for the newsletter: Sign up for it now and be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news. And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey. You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, subscribe.9 communications majors It shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that the notoriously taciturn Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is not among the nine communications majors taking the field in Super Bowl XLIX. Playboy broke down the college majors of every player in this year’s game, and communications came out as the most popular course of study, with nine players, followed by sociology and general studies, with seven players each. [Playboy]11.8 percentAccording to the NFL, concussions decreased by 11.8 percent this season compared to last year, to 202 from 229. [The New York Times]14 percent riseThe average American office worker spends nine hours each week in meetings or thinking about meetings, up 14 percent from four years ago. [NPR]25 megabits per secondThe Federal Communications Commission raised the bar on the download speeds for “broadband” Internet to 25 megabits per second (Mbps) from 4 Mbps. Under the previous standard, 6.3 percent of households didn’t have broadband. Now 19.4 percent don’t. [Ubergizmo]
If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Hot Takedown More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Jan. 12, 2016), we look at whether Alabama’s onside kick won the Tide this year’s college football championship. We try to work out who the heck is going to be crowned Super Bowl champion. Plus, we ask whether Alex Ovechkin is the best hockey player of all time. And we give you a Significant Digit on the awesome Lionel Messi as he secures his fifth Ballon d’Or. Also, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump makes his Hot Takedown debut. Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Links to what we discussed are here:Neil Paine on what last weekend’s wild-card games really mean.Neil Paine writes about why there is no Super Bowl favorite.FiveThirtyEight’s college football coverage.Neil Paine reports on the quality of goalkeeping in modern hockey.Ben Morris explains why Lionel Messi is impossible.
Memphis Grizzlies Tony Allen was ejected late in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night after kicking Chris Paul in the face.Allen, a 2013 NBA first team defensive player, for some reason chose to stick his foot out instead of his body to stop Clippers’ point guard Paul from driving the lane. Check out the clip above to see how Allen managed to get his foot up high enough to hit Paul in the face as he moved to the basket.After the refs checked the tapes, he was charged with a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game.It was clearly an accident and Allen checked on Paul after the hit. He also apologized on Twitter following the game:“1st thing 1st apologies 2 @CP3 accidental kick….. Feeling some type of way about being ejected …. so not my character !! 1st and last ejection ! That’s my word”“I accidentally kicked him in the head, but I’m pretty sure he knows it’s accidental and that isn’t my style of play,” Allen also told reporters.Though unintentional, it was still a dangerous play and could have ended a lot worse. The NBA has not officially said whether or not Allen will be fined.Grizzlies ended up beating the Clippers at the Staples Center 106-102.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin’s team blew a 34-point lead Sunday in a game against UCL, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)HOUSTON (AP) — Texas A&M and law enforcement officials were investigating Thursday night after football coach Kevin Sumlin received a racist and threatening letter at his home.His wife, Charlene Sumlin, posted a picture of the letter , which had a return address in Houston, on Twitter on Thursday night. The handwritten letter read: “You suck as a coach! You’re a [racial epithet] and can’t win! Please get lost! Or else.”On the post, Charlene added: “People of 2017: please tell me how any part of this is OK? And to the sender: did it occur to you that a child may open it?” At the end of the post, she added #orelseWHAT?Later on Thursday night, Texas A&M President Michael Young and athletics director Scott Woodward issued a joint statement condemning the letter and adding that they are “working with law enforcement authorities to bring the sender of this letter to justice.”The statement said that they were doing everything they can to ensure the safety of Sumlin and his family.“There is no excuse for hatred and, as a community, we will not allow the ignorance of some to intimidate any member of our community,” the statement continued.On Sunday night in Los Angeles, Texas A&M squandered a 34-point third-quarter lead in a season-opening loss to UCLA. That loss led to waves of criticism directed at the coach. Noteworthy among those critics was university system regent Tony Buzbee, who took to Facebook to express his displeasure with Sumlin.“Our players were better tonight,” Buzbee, a Houston attorney wrote Sunday night after the stunning loss. “Our players were more talented tonight. But coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again. I’m only one vote on the Board of Regents, but when the time comes, my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO. In my view, he should go now. We owe it to our school and our players. We can do better.”The Aggies will host Nicholls State on Saturday night.The 53-year-old Sumlin, the first black head football coach at A&M, has three years and $15 million left on his contract that runs through the 2019 season.
PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.WINNERREADERS’ NET PTS NYG68NYG59LAC+9.0– NE61NE66NE+0.1– In addition to having the fourth-best passer rating in this time frame, Smith has yet to throw an interception. And among these quarterbacks, Smith’s completion rate of 76.6 percent is the highest. The table above puts Smith in some nice company: Every QB joining him is either a Hall of Famer already or will likely be one soon — with the exception of Daunte Culpepper. (And unlike Culpepper, Smith doesn’t have the luxury of being able to heave jump balls to Randy Moss.) In this group, Culpepper and Smith also stand out as the only ones to not start at least one Super Bowl in their career to date. Culpepper may be alone in that regard after this season.In the PittsKansas City’s Week 6 opponent had a slightly less glorious Week 5. In fact, the Pittsburgh Steelers suffered one of the worst losses in their 85-year history. Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions in a brutal 30-9 loss at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars (yes, them). The Steelers’ loss was so bad that they dropped 55 Elo points, the 49th-worst single-game drop in more than 30,000 NFL games, and the franchise’s third-worst loss ever. Steelers fans may not want to remember the two worse losses, but we’ll remind them anyway: a 24-6 defeat at home to the newly formed Houston Texans in 2002 and a 34-10 thumping on the road against the previously winless Cincinnati Bengals in 1979 (ouch!).The latest loss means Roethlisberger is under intense pressure to retire, with even the two-time Super Bowl winner admitting that he might not have it anymore. That, along with the quarterback’s public spat with wide receiver Antonio Brown in Week 4, means the Steelers could be in a minor crisis. Pittsburgh finds itself 3-2 and atop the AFC North standings, with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals lurking just behind. Looking at the underwhelming slate of opponents the Steelers have played so far — the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars — gives even more cause for concern. The Steelers travel to the Chiefs next week before a home game against their bitter rivals the Bengals and a visit to the surprisingly good Detroit Lions. The rest of October could alter Big Ben’s plans in 2018.FiveThirtyEight vs. the crowdWeek 5 in our NFL prediction game — in which we invite you to pick football games and try to outsmart our Elo algorithm — was much better for you readers than the previous two weeks had been — readers were just 21 points behind the Elo predictions in Week 5 compared with 146.2 points behind in Weeks 3 and 4 combined. The readers made gains mostly by being less wrong than our algorithm. Both Elo and the readers picked the Oakland Raiders to beat the Ravens and the New York Giants to beat the Los Angeles Chargers, and neither of those picks worked out. However, the average reader was less confident in either the Raiders or the Giants of winning than Elo was, so readers lost fewer points on those misplaced bets.The biggest net gain for Elo came in the Miami Dolphins’ win over the Tennessee Titans. Even without factoring in that the Titans’ Marcus Mariota was inactive for the game, Elo put its faith in Jay Cutler and the Dolphins and was rewarded. (Never doubt Jay Cutler! Haha, no, we’re kidding. Definitely doubt him.) That’s it for this week — be sure you make your picks for Week 6. QBYEARTEAMW-LCOMP %YDSTDINTPASSER RATINGWON DIV.?MADE SB? The Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 5 win over the the Houston Texans was significant for several reasons. It squashed any lingering doubts about who the NFL’s best team is, as the league’s only 4-0 team moved to 5-0. It also solidified KC’s place atop our NFL projections, as we now give them a 97 percent chance of making the playoffs and an 81 percent chance of earning a coveted first-round bye. But perhaps the team’s most impressive achievement so far is this: These are the best Chiefs since KC’s last (and only) championship team, 48 years ago.Using Elo, our pet metric for judging a team’s strength at any given moment, we can trace the various incarnations of the Chiefs week by week in NFL history. Their current Elo rating of 1701 is the highest it has been since the team hit its all-time peak rating of 1775 after defeating the Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Of the 899 weeks for which we have Elo data on this team, there are only eight in which Kansas City’s rating was higher than it is right now — and all of them came in that 1969 campaign, in the last year of the AFL. Move over, Len Dawson, make room for Alex Smith.But we have certainly seen hot starts from Andy Reid’s team before. They started the 2013-14 season 9-0 and then lost five of their next seven regular-season games before bowing out to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Wild Card game. So will this year be any different?The defense has regressed since the 2013 season, surrendering 22.2 points per game through five games, compared with 19.1 for the whole of the 2013 season. But they’ve maintained respectability despite losing star safety Eric Berry, who went down for the season with a torn Achilles tendon in the team’s opening-night road win over the New England Patriots. And any step back here has been more than compensated for by improvements on offense. Led by Smith and rookie running back Kareem Hunt, the offense is off to a blistering pace, averaging an NFL-best 32.8 points per game, 5.9 points better than the 2013 team managed to produce.This may be hard to digest, but Smith is having one of the best starts to a season of any quarterback in NFL history. In almost every major offensive category — passing completion rate, passer rating, adjusted yards per attempt and interceptions — Smith ranks among the best. Here are the best season-opening five-game stretches ever, according to passer rating, among QBs who made more than 150 passing attempts in that span in any season since 1950. 3D. Culpepper2004MIN4-172.21766183127.0 5A. Rodgers2011GNB5-071.71721142122.9✓ 6K. Warner2000RAM5-072.11947147122.0 PIT80PIT79JAX+0.0 Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 5Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 5 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game IND75IND62IND-11.3– KC67KC65KC-4.1– 2T. Brady2007NWE5-074.11383162128.7✓✓ 9T. Brady2015NWE5-070.61699141118.4✓ NYJ65NYJ59NYJ-7.3– 10D. Brees2009NOR5-069.21400132118.4✓✓ 7M. Ryan2016ATL4-169.11740122121.6✓✓ OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION 1P. Manning2013DEN5-075.8%1884201136.4✓✓ BUF51BUF57CIN-9.3– Source: Pro-football-reference.com Alex Smith is in royal company … plus Daunte CulpepperTop passer ratings among quarterbacks who have thrown at least 150 attempts in a team’s first five games of a season, since 1950 OAK68%OAK58BAL+9.4– 4A. Smith2017KAN5-076.61391110125.8 PHI65PHI67PHI-0.6– 8D. Marino1984MIA5-065.21527153121.6✓✓ SEA55SEA51SEA-6.3– DAL53GB57GB+6.7– DET63DET59CAR+2.6– MIN58MIN64MIN+2.0– MIA59TEN51MIA-11.9–
Up until his Golden State Warriors failed to mount a second-half comeback against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night, it had been a great week for Stephen Curry. Late Sunday, word leaked out that the Warriors’ guard would be named MVP for the 2014-15 NBA season, and Curry accepted the hardware Monday.Curry’s chief rival for the award, Houston’s James Harden, was reportedly disappointed over the outcome of the voting. It’s a completely understandable reaction: The best advanced metrics had Curry and Harden neck-and-neck in the MVP race for most of the season, so Curry’s big edge in first-place votes likely owes more to the Warriors’ incredible team record than any real difference between the two players. In fact, according to our wins above replacement (WAR) metric, Harden slightly edged Curry in value, 16.8 to 16.6.The truth is, we’ll never know which player really deserved the award … in part because a phrase like “most valuable” is very hard to quantify. Metrics are imperfect, probably to a much greater degree than any stathead would like to think. But one thing we can do to combat a false sense of certainty is assign probabilities to each player’s case for adding the most value. Along the way, we can also compare the results to past MVP races — for instance, how did Curry-over-Harden compare to other MVP decisions in history?To measure the uncertainty between a player’s measured WAR and his actual “talent” — that is, the number of WAR he would earn if we were omniscient and knew the exact contributions of every NBA player — we can look at the confidence interval around a player’s measured value.1In this case, since we need to use Statistical Plus/Minus (SPM) for historical seasons, I looked at the standard error between a player’s multi-year projected SPM talent and his Real Plus/Minus (RPM), a new metric that melds a player’s boxscore stats with his on-court influence over the team’s scoring margin. I then combined that with the standard error between RPM and “true talent” to estimate the probability that any given player had the league’s true best WAR in a given season. In turn, those confidence intervals can tell us the probability that a player was truly the most valuable (by WAR) in a given season.This year, Harden was the most likely “true” WAR leader — but with a mere 22 percent probability of being the best. In the past 37 NBA seasons,2The 1978-79 season is the earliest for which this calculation can be run. this year is the seventh most uncertain in terms of whether a WAR leader was actually the league’s true most valuable player. Meanwhile, Curry came in third this season with a 12 percent probability of being the true best player in the league (the Clippers’ Chris Paul was sandwiched between Harden and Curry at 19 percent).In some ways, 12 percent is very low probability. Since 1978-79, only 12 players have won the award with less certainty that they actually produced the league’s greatest value. But the 2014-15 season also featured an unusually wide-open MVP race. Kevin Durant, last year’s winner and the presumptive favorite going into this season, missed 55 games with injuries and only recorded 4.5 WAR. And LeBron James, who’d been projected as the league’s best player on a per-minute basis every season between 2005-06 and 2013-14, produced his lowest WAR (13.1) since his rookie season — yet still had a 9 percent probability of being the true best player in the NBA. And that’s without even getting into the cases to be made for Russell Westbrook (9 percent probability of being the best) or Anthony Davis (4 percent).On the other hand, the gap between Harden and Curry’s odds of being the best player was just 10 percentage points. Excluding the 17 seasons since 1978-79 in which the most likely true WAR leader was also named MVP, that’s the sixth-smallest gap between any MVP and that season’s leader in “true best player” probability:By that standard, Curry’s win was a far cry from past miscarriages of MVP justice, such as Michael Jordan losing out to Magic Johnson in 1988-89 despite Jordan having a 55 percent probability of being the league’s true best player — the second-highest “best player” certainty of any season since 1978-79, trailing only James’s 66 percent mark in 2009-10.Conversely, there was no such certainty in a season like 2014-15, where several of the usual MVP suspects were absent from the front of the race. In such a situation, you can’t really go wrong (or, perhaps, you can’t really go right) no matter which MVP you choose.
OSU junior defender Niall Logue (5) prepares to kick the ball while OSU sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed (26) follows during the Buckeyes game against Valparaiso on Sept. 21 at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes won 4-1. Credit: Janaya Greene | For The LanternThe Ohio State men’s soccer team looked to continue its elevated play as of late, matching up against No. 13 Louisville on Tuesday night.The Buckeyes luck would run out, however, as the Scarlet and Gray were ultimately outplayed in a 2-1 contest against the Cardinals.Despite facing a 19-3 deficit in shots in the game, OSU was able to get on the board first.In the 32nd minute, senior defender Austin Bergstrom had a throw-in that found sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed on the right side of the net. Mohamed got his foot on the ball and redirected it back across the net to the left side. Senior forward Christian Soldat blasted the ball past a diving keeper to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead.Soldat’s first goal of the season would be the only score of the opening period for either team.The Cardinals came out in the second half with a much more aggressive game plan, and they were rewarded accordingly for their efforts.In the 51st minute, Louisville senior midfielder Daniel Johnson hit junior forward Mohamed Thiaw with a cross. Thiaw put the ball inside the far left post from six yards out, giving Louisville the early second-half equalizer.It was Thiaw’s 10th goal this season.Later in the period, in the 65th minute, the Cardinals would take the lead.Freshman midfielder Cherif Dieye snuck a ball through a host of defenders from 20 yards out that got just inside the left post to give Louisville its first lead of the game, a 2-1 advantage that would end up as the final.Despite the losing effort, OSU redshirt freshman goalkeeper Parker Siegfried had an impressive night in net. He had his hands full all game, registering a season high nine saves.The Buckeyes will have their sights set on their match this Friday against Michigan, one of their last two Big Ten matchups of the season.
With an experienced offensive line, a plethora of running backs and a third-year quarterback in Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State has high expectations going into the upcoming football season.Although some pundits are penciling in the Buckeyes for a return to Arizona for the Tostitos National Championship, their schedule will be difficult.Thursday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m. Marshall at Ohio StateThe Buckeyes start off the season with the 10th night game ever at Ohio Stadium. Because this game is on Thursday, it will give OSU a few extra days to prepare for a showdown with Miami the following week.Saturday, Sept. 11, 3:40 p.m. Miami (Fla.) at Ohio StateThis will be the first time these teams have met since the infamous 2002 National Championship game. Miami is comparable to OSU with experience. Coach Randy Shannon’s up-and-coming program will lean on junior quarterback Jacory Harris to upset the Buckeyes.Though this will be Pryor’s first stage to shine on after his MVP Rose Bowl performance, look for the Buckeyes to run on a young Hurricane defensive line.Saturday, Oct. 16, 7:15 p.m. Ohio State at Wisconsin Camp Randall Stadium should be the most hostile environment the Buckeyes will face all season. OSU beat Wisconsin in a similar environment two years ago when Pryor and Chris “Beanie” Wells led the team to a fourth quarter comeback, winning 20-17.This Wisconsin team is much more experienced, though. With 18 returning starters, including senior quarterback Scott Tolzien and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year John Clay, look for the Badgers to have a balanced attack. It was this attack that led them to a 20-14 victory over Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl.Saturday, Oct. 23, 12:00 p.m. Purdue at Ohio StateThis is supposed to be the hangover week after a grueling game the week before. With Purdue coming to Columbus, OSU will be looking for redemption as the Boilermakers forced Pryor into five turnovers in a 26-18 loss last year in West Lafayette, Ind.Purdue lost five of its last seven games last year by a touchdown or less.Saturday, Nov. 13, TBA. Penn State at Ohio StateUsually, Penn State is one of the toughest matchups of the year. This year might be the exception.Penn State lost three key defensive players, Jared Odrick, Sean Lee and Navorro Bowman, to the NFL. In addition, the Nittany Lions will be replacing quarterback Daryll Clark.Saturday, Nov. 20, TBA. Ohio State at Iowa After an Orange Bowl victory, the Hawkeyes have 14 returning starters. Iowa should be a lock in the top 10 projections at the beginning of the year.Iowa’s defense is very much like OSU’s. Both teams will not be giving up a lot of points, and it should be a close game throughout.The Nov. 20 showdown will feature a rematch of last year’s 27-24 overtime thriller. This game could be the decider on who goes to the Rose Bowl, or maybe, the National Championship.Saturday, Nov. 27, TBA. Michigan at Ohio StateDon’t expect another 42-7 OSU victory, which is what happened the last time the Wolverines came to Columbus.Rich Rodriguez needs a successful season or else he could be fired at the end of this year. The best way to win over the heart of Wolverine fans is to beat OSU in the Horseshoe.
Ohio State won’t soon forget the 2012 Homecoming football game against Nebraska. Records fell on the field and in the Ohio Stadium grandstands, and most importantly, No. 12 OSU (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) outlasted No. 21 Nebraska (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) in a raucous, back-and-forth affair, 63-38. A record Ohio Stadium crowd of 106,102 watched as OSU sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller powered OSU to victory. Miller set a new OSU single-game quarterback rushing record with 186 yards in the game. Miller also threw 127 yards on 7-of-14 pass attempts. Nebraska junior quarterback Taylor Martinez committed three turnovers in the game, one of which was returned 41 yards by OSU sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby. The game’s second interception, also caught by Roby, set OSU up for a go-ahead score in the second quarter. Martinez would finish the game 15-of-24 on pass attempts for 214 yards. The two 123-year-old Big Ten powers swapped scores into the second half, and three of the Buckeyes’ touchdowns belonged to junior running back Carlos Hyde. He finished the night with four scores on 140 yards on 28 carries, bringing his career touchdown tally in two games against the Cornhuskers to six. Hyde scored two touchdowns and ran for 104 yards during the Buckeyes’ Oct. 8 visit to Lincoln last season. OSU lost that game, 34-27, but Saturday was a different story. OSU and Nebraska seemed to go tit-for-tat on the scoreboard, but a punt return for a touchdown by OSU receiver Corey Brown put the game out of reach once and for all. Still, the Buckeyes poured on more offense. A 33-yard run by OSU redshirt sophomore Rod Smith put OSU up, 56-31. Martinez would score to bring Nebraska to within 18 points, but it was too late. OSU had won, and Meyer had helped the Buckeyes remain undefeated in his first season in Columbus. After taking a 7-0 lead on Roby’s interception for a touchdown, Nebraska roared out to a 17-7 lead as the Cornhuskers scored on three consecutive drives. Nebraska sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah scored back-to-back 1-yard touchdown runs to put his team up, 14-7, and senior kicker Brett Maher extended the lead to 17-7 with a 26-yard field goal. The Buckeyes’ offense sputtered out of the gate, punting on each of its first three drives. After the third punt, which was returned to inside the Buckeyes’ 30-yard line, Nebraska moved the ball 28 yards on just four plays to take the lead at 14-7 on an another 1-yard run by Abdullah. Abdullah finished the game with 22 yards on six carries. Like the previous three drives, OSU’s fourth possession ended well short of a score. A failed fake-punt attempt, which saw OSU redshirt senior Ben Buchanan wrapped up prior to gaining the necessary yardage, put Nebraska in line for a third consecutive score. Maher’s kick advanced Nebraska’s advantage to 17-7. OSU’s offense was floundering, but, as he often does, Miller came to the rescue. Miller broke a 72-yard run to put the Buckeyes back in scoring position, and the team capitalized when Hyde crossed into the end zone on a 1-yard run. Junior quarterback Kenny Guiton helped the Buckeyes finish the drive after Miller exited the field with an apparent injury following his long run. He would return on the following drive. With the score 17-14, Roby struck again, intercepting Martinez for the second time in the half. That set OSU up nicely for the go-ahead score – Miller flicked the ball five yards and sophomore tight end Jeff Heuerman did the rest, running untouched into the south end zone for his first career score. Martinez was unflinching in his response, though, as he led the Cornhuskers on a four-play, 75-yard drive that he finished himself with a nine-yard run. He barged into the end zone to restore Nebraska’s lead at 24-21 after several missed tackles by OSU. OSU came right back with a touchdown of its own on a seven-yard run by Hyde, and retook the lead at 28-24 with 3:11 to play in the half. The score represented the fifth and final lead change of the half, and OSU would add to its advantage 23 seconds before half. On 4th-and-1 from inside Nebraska territory, Miller took the ball on a draw and ended up with an opening that allowed him to run 31 yards to score and advance the OSU lead to 35-24. After fumbling the ball away to Nebraska and exiting the game with injury briefly in the second quarter, Miller finished the first half with 139 rushing yards. In fact, the entire OSU offense did an about-face in the second quarter – after posting 17 yards 15 minutes into the contest, OSU went to half outgaining the Cornhuskers, 259-241. Like it did last season in Lincoln, OSU brought a lead into the second half of the game. On Oct. 8, OSU blew the 20-6 lead it held at halftime before eventually falling in Nebraska’s first-ever Big Ten home game, 34-27. The second-half of Saturday’s game was an erie reminder of last season’s loss – Martinez completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Ben Cotton to bring Nebraska to within a score at 35-31. OSU quickly erased any chance of a comeback in the teams’ 2012 meetings with another Hyde touchdown. He busted into the north end zone to restore the Buckeyes’ 11-point advantage. Then the Silver Bullets defense took center stage. OSU senior defensive end John Simon stymied Nebraska’s next possession with a tackle in the backfield. Senior middle linebacker Storm Klein, who was previously removed from the Buckeyes after being arrested, also sacked Martinez during the Cornhuskers’ second possession of the half. Nebraska punted the ball away and junior receiver Corey Brown sent the record-Ohio Stadium crowd into a state of delirious celebration when he slid into the end zone on a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown. Tens of thousands of scarlet-clad OSU supporters bounced and shook the grandstands with thunderous cheering, and the cheering continued on Nebraska’s next possession. Martinez had the Cornhuskers offense driving late in the third quarter, but sailed a pass attempt that was intercepted by senior safety Orhian Johnson. After Smith 33-yard score in the fourth quarter, Martinez led Nebraska on another scoring drive, which he finished himself on a touchdown run less than six minutes remaining in the game, which OSU would take. Hyde punched in a late, 16-yard score to seal the victory for the Buckeyes. OSU is next scheduled to play Indiana in Bloomington, Ind., at 8 p.m. next Saturday.