COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Urban Meyer seemed to be feeling pretty good about his team in the week leading up to Ohio State's game against Nebraska.
Despite three previous weeks of tight games — including a stinging loss — spotty offense and a general lack of "explosiveness," the Buckeyes coach exuded confidence.
"No, I've been going to acting school," Meyer said. "I was a mess."
The Buckeyes expected another tight tussle with the ninth-ranked Huskers. Instead, they scored one of the most dominant victories in the storied history of the program.
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 pounded Nebraska 62-3 on Saturday night.
"There was a sense of urgency about everything we did," defensive end Sam Hubbard said. "If somebody made a mistake in practice we did that rep. It was just intense focus all week long."
The Buckeyes (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten, CFP No. 6) scored more points than Ohio State ever has against a top-10 team and handed the Cornhuskers (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten, CFP No. 10) their most lopsided loss since 2004.
"I didn't see this one coming," Meyer said. "It is a little relief to know that right now I saw some explosiveness that we kind of have been lacking in some positions."
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.
Thank you all for the prayers... everything is good and I'm glad to be back with my team. Also thank you @OhioStateFB and the fans.
— Tommy Armstrong Jr. (@Tommy_Gun4) <a href="https://twitter.com/Tommy_Gun4
Riley said it was too early to determine Armstrong's status for next week.
Ryker Fyfe relieved Armstrong and finished 5 for 18 for 52 yards.
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: Meyer has answered so many questions about getting the ball to Samuel more often over the last few weeks that he has been chuckling at them. Whether it was by design or not, Samuel had his best game since the opener against Bowling Green, getting 13 touches by the middle of the third quarter. By then no more were needed.
"Coach Meyer knows what he's doing," Samuel said. "He's going to get me the ball the number of times he feels the need to. I just need to take advantage of the opportunities get for myself."
Webb's pick-six was Ohio State's fifth of the season, setting a school record. In the third quarter, Malik Hooker added another one from 48 yards out.
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.
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.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP