Second Half Heroics Enable Buckeye Win over TCU

All the talk about TCU (2-1) being a test for the Buckeyes (3-0) turned out to be absolutely true.

After cruising to easy wins over Oregon State and Rutgers, the Buckeyes finally played a team with a pulse. In the end, OSU had too much for the Horned Frogs and prevailed by a final of 40-28, but for just over a half TCU, gave the Buckeyes all they could handle.

The Horned Frogs were fast and tough on both sides of the ball in the early going. Offensively they were able use speed to hit big plays that included a 93-yard touchdown run by Darius Anderson. Defensively, they stood up to keep the Buckeye offense out of the end zone for the entire first half.

The OSU offense failed to cross the goal line despite three trips into the red zone, settling instead for three field goal attempts. Two of those field goals were good, but a half-ending 38-yarder sailed wide left to leave OSU trailing 14-13 at the intermission. Ohio State’s lone touchdown of the half came on a defensive score when defensive end Nick Bosa sacked TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson in the end zone forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Davon Hamilton for the OSU touchdown.

TCU drew first blood in the second half with a three-play scoring drive that covered 52 yards. The touchdown put the Horned Frogs up 21-13, but that would prove to  be the high point of the game for them.

From that point on the Buckeyes took the momentum and kept it.

The big momentum swing came courtesy of senior H-back Parris Campbell, who took a screen pass 63 yards for a touchdown to make the score 21-19. The two-point conversion failed, but the Buckeyes defense came up big again on TCU ‘s next possession when defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones intercepted an attempted screen pass from Robinson and returned it 29 yards for an Ohio State touchdown. The play gave the Buckeyes a 26-21 lead, a lead they did not relinquish the rest of the game.

OSU lengthened that lead to 12 points when a blocked punt gave the offense the football on the TCU 25-yard line. It took just two plays for the Buckeye offense to turn the field position into a touchdown when Dwayne Haskins hit H-back K.J. Hill in the end zone for 25-yard touchdown pass to make the score 33-21.

TCU was in trouble, but didn’t go down without a fight. They answered the Hill touchdown with one of their own on a 51-yard pass play, but by then the Buckeyes were beginning to flex their muscles on both sides of the line of scrimmage. OSU answered the TCU score with a grinding scoring drive of their own of 75 yards in 10 plays that featured outstanding running by tailback J.K. Dobbins.

Dobbins got OSU into the red zone but it was Haskins who went the last six yards on a designed quarterback keeper to put OSU up 40-28.

Ohio State outscored TCU 27-14 in the second half. In that half they dominated every phase of the game with a total team effort that was productive offensively, defensively and on special teams. The OSU defense allowed four touchdowns in the game, but scored two defensive touchdowns.

OSU special teams provided great field position with a punt block that also led to  a score. Offensively there were times when they sputtered, particularly in the first half, but what they were able to do for the entire game was avoid the big mistake. The Buckeyes had no turnovers in the game against the aggressive TCU defense. TCU meanwhile turned the ball over on a fumble that was turned into an OSU score, an interception that turned into a score, and a third interception late in the game by linebacker Malik Harrison that ended any last glimmer of hope the Horned Frogs may have had.

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins had another productive day in his third-career start. He was rushed at times by the aggressive Horned Frog defense, but still completed 24-of-38 passes for 344 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for one touchdown.

TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson also was productive with 24-of-40 passing for 308 yards and one touchdown, but his two turnovers were costly while Haskins was able to avoid turnovers completely.

TCU outrushed OSU 203 to 182, but 93 of those yards came on a 93-yard touchdown run by Darius Anderson. TCU found the going on the ground very difficult in the second half.

Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa left the game late in the first half and did not play in the second half. He was in street clothes on the sideline during the second half with what is being reported as an abdominal strain.

4 Responses

  1. We got our money’s worth with this game. I did not figure on having no offensive touchdowns in the first half. I think we were outcoached at times. Gary Patterson knew all of OSU’s weaknesses and took advantage of them. The depth of the Buckeyes eventually wore down TCU and I think that was the difference. Our O-Line and defense both need work. That was #15 that played OSU toe to toe. Aside from PSU the rest of the Big Ten has turned into the PAC-12, willing and able to lose to teams from the MAC, MWC, USA and directional schools, and it’s business as usual. Michigan is guilty of that as they struggled against SMU Saturday. Apart from OSU and maybe PSU there are no other credible teams left in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s win over TCU was a face saver for the Big Ten. On the other hand I think it’s awesome that the Akron Zips, being an Ohio MAC team, beat Northwestern. They got their paycheck for being a traveling punching bag plus the victory. The Buckeyes should have no problem with the Green Wave punching bag and then on to the Big Ten East championship on Sept. 29. After that it’s smooth sailing right to an undefeated regular season.

  2. That run was the longest in TCU history, breaking an 89 yarder by LaDanian Tomlinson. It also was the longest ever allowed by tOSU.
    The problems are real. This team isn’t ready to face a truly good offense. TCU is good, but not really good on offense.
    I tip my hat to Dwayne Haskins as I didn’t think he’d have quite as good of a day as he did. Nice job keeping poise on the big stage (though the TTUN game was probably a pretty good indicator he would, but he didn’t have to think about that one being thrown in, as it were).

  3. Is there anyone else who can coach the linebackers? Can we put Bill Davis in charge of something else. Please before we have another Everett Withers / Tim Beck / Zach Smith / position coach catastrophe? 4 and 5 Star LB players taking significant steps backwards for 1.3 seasons is coaching. LB problems not anywhere close to being resolved. Can we get Luke Fickell on speed dial?
    How come Saban rarely has problems replacing Assistant coaches – he doesn’t hire his friends or his friend’s kids. Does OSU have any options mid-season?

    1. Buckeyedad- that’s a great question. I’m all for removing the “buddy hire” notion, period- stuff like that should be stopped by the AD before it’s even allowed to start (yes, I know it happens at other schools. I don’t care about those schools).
      I realize John was writing into the wee hours so I will keep the criticism gentle. His use of the term “dominating” to describe the defense in the second half is…”generous” may the proper word. Here’s another word, an adjective to describe the full defensive effort- “Big12ish”. (Yes, I’m calling Webster’s later to claim ownership of the term.) I’m not looking up exact stats in the middle of the night, I know TCU gained around FIVE HUNDRED yards of offense. Middle linebacker continues to be a no horse race at this point. As for the DBs, I hold my breath EVERY time the opposing QB throws a pass.
      I believe OSU is learning how valuable their former LBs and DBs coaches truly were. Were there individually good games by defensive players? Sure. Harrison and Jones were good the whole game. Ask yourself honestly this question- were you nervous every time TCU was on offense? Welcome to Big 12 defense, folks.

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