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Thomas' 22 helps No. 8 Ohio State roll, 70-44

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Thomas' 22 helps No. 8 Ohio State roll, 70-44

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Deshaun Thomas outscored Nebraska in the first half 18-17 and finished with 22 points to lead No. 8 Ohio State past the Cornhuskers 70-44 on Wednesday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 17 points for Ohio State (11-2, 1-0), which won its 15th consecutive Big Ten home opener. The Buckeyes have a tough test on Saturday at No. 11 Illinois.

The Buckeyes led by at least 20 points for almost all of the second half.

How bad was it for the Cornhuskers (9-5, 0-1)? Only 8:27 remained when they finally exceeded the 31 points that their football counterparts scored in a 14-point loss to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl a day earlier.

Ray Gallegos had 14 points to lead Nebraska, which shot 29 percent from the field.

Thomas' big half spelled doom for the Cornhuskers, who came in 6-1 when holding opponents to 60 or fewer points - and 3-3 when they did not.

Nebraska, last in the Big Ten in scoring (61.7 points per game), never had the firepower to get back in the game.

Not much went right for the Cornhuskers from the very start.

Big man Andre Almeida, who stands 6-foot-11 and weighs well over 300 pounds, went down with a right ankle injury midway through the first half. He was helped to the locker room and did not return.

But things had spiraled out of control long before he left.

Nebraska had difficulty getting anything going on offense, particularly struggling to get points inside. When they drove to the hoop, Aaron Craft was there to pester the ballhandler into a turnover. If they got past him, Ohio State centers Amir Williams and Evan Ravenel stood in the way and blocked or altered shots.

At the other end, Thomas scored five points early and then scored seven of the last nine as the Buckeyes ended the half on a 9-0 run.

The last time Nebraska beat a top 10 team on the road was Feb. 22, 1997, a 74-69 victory over No. 7 Iowa State. The Cornhuskers have lost their last 24 games away from home against teams in the top 10.

Thomas had one more field goal than Nebraska did - in 15 fewer attempts in the opening half.

He hit 8 of 12 shots from the field including half of his four 3-point attempts. The rest of the Buckeyes were just 7 of 21 (33 percent).

In their losses to Duke and Kansas, the Buckeyes shot .323 (43 of 133) from the field while hitting 49.4 percent (287 of 581) in its wins.

Ohio State scored the first five points of the second half to swell its run to 14-0 and its lead to 41-17. The lead never dropped below 20 again.

Craft was scoreless but finished with eight assists and four steals to disrupt Nebraska's offense.

The biggest roar of the night - while fans were filing to the exits - came when Sam Thompson one-handed a dunk off an alley-oop pass from Shannon Scott with 3 minutes remaining. By then, most of the damage had already been done.

Adding to the Cornhuskers' woes, they must play three of their first four Big Ten games against ranked teams on the road.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

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Redskins Superlatives: Two tremendous leaders earn the Most Likely to Become President Award

Redskins Superlatives: Two tremendous leaders earn the Most Likely to Become President Award

This week, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will be handing out Redskins Superlatives as they continue to preview the 2020 season.

Next up: They give their Most Likely to Become President Award to a fan favorite and the franchise's newest leader.

JP's pick: Terry McLaurin

There is nothing Terry McLaurin can't do and he's got my vote for president should he ever decide to run. Beyond the breakout rookie year, the precise route running and his blazing speed, McLaurin talks like a 10-year veteran.

This offseason has been hard for everyone, but McLaurin explained things better than most: "Football is what I love to do. I can’t think of a better blessing in my life to be playing the game that I love. When you get through the course of such a long NFL season and you get to the end, it’s like man, I’m ready for that break. That burning desire is still inside of you to continue to get better and continue to improve. Now with us having a new staff, we’re just all looking forward to being on the field again. I feel like sports is something that this country needs as well. The camaraderie of it, the togetherness that it brings."

Put McLaurin on the ballot — but ideally after a 15-year career with a whole lot of postseason success.

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Pete's pick: Ron Rivera

JP and I didn't go to school together — that's because he's a LOT OLDER than me — but if we did, it would've been a surprise if we ever got an A-plus on the same assignment. In fact, it would've been a huge surprise, and perhaps an impossibility.

But in this instance, we're both getting an A-plus. He nailed his pick, and I'm nailing mine. 

Ron Rivera hasn't been with the Redskins long, and due to this unusual offseason, the media hasn't gotten to hang around him much in person, aside from his introductory press conference in January and some time at the Combine. 

Even so, we have still talked to him plenty on Zoom, and in all of those instances, I've been floored by his leadership, his intelligence and his perspective on everything, both football-related topics and topics that relate more to life overall. 

RELATED: RIVERA ON NOT SIGNING CAM NEWTON

At this point, I'm pretty much convinced every company or group in the world would be better with Rivera involved. He's fair, he's level-headed and he simultaneously gives and commands respect. 

For now, Rivera's just in the running for an NFC East title, but if he ever sets his sights on running for office, he'll have one mediocre blogger on his side.

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Today's Live Sports: July 2

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5:25 a.m. – Korea Baseball Organization: Doosan Bears vs. Kiwoom Heroes (ESPN)

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5:30 a.m. – NRL Rugby: Melbourne Storm vs. Sydney Roosters (FS1)

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12:55 p.m. – Premier League Stadium: Sheffield United vs. Tottenham (NBCSN)

3:10 p.m. – Premier League Stadium: Manchester City vs. Liverpool (NBCSN)

Golf

3:00 p.m. – PGA Tour Golf: 2020 Rocket Mortage Classic (Golf)

Boxing

8:00 p.m. – Top Rank Boxing: Jose Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) vs. Mikkel LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs) (junior welterweights) (ESPN)

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