Like Ohio State last week, TCU had to play in a steady rain, which had a dramatic effect on their offense in the first half. Things picked up in the second half, however, and the Horned Frogs won their second game of the season in comfortable fashion.
In two games, the TCU offense is averaging 443 yards per game, with 234 coming on the ground and 209 through the air.
The Horned Frogs have two talented running backs that they rely on in juniors Sewo Olonilua — who is 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds, and Darius Anderson.
Olonilua has carried the ball 16 times for 102 yards this season and Anderson has checked in with 17 carries for 105 yards. Together, however, they only have one carry over 20 yards this season. Neither has reached the end zone.
TCU’s leading rusher is actually quarterback Shawn Robinson, who has carried the ball 10 times this year for 112 yards and three touchdowns. Together, the three of them will be a focal point for the Ohio State defense.
“33 (Olonilua) and 6 (Anderson) are really good running backs,” OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said on Monday. “And their quarterback, the guy is new this year. Robinson, No. 3, I mean, we recruited him. He’s a really good player who is multi-dimensional, who can throw, he’s a strong-arm guy. He’s a huge test for our defense. This is a very athletic, fast, productive offense.”
Olonilua and Anderson split possessions, much like Ohio State running backs Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins. And also like the Buckeyes, everything begins up front for TCU.
“They are a really talented offense. It all starts with the offensive and defensive lines,” Schiano said. “Their offensive line is as good as any in the Big Ten. It is that kind of offensive line; very, very good. Skill people. They are fast. It’s a very fast football team. You look at their receivers, you know, it’s 1 (Jalen Reagor), it’s 2 (Jaelan Austin), and these are really athletic kids in the backfield.”
Austin has four catches for 33 yards this season, while Reagor is tied for the team lead with eight receptions (98 yards).
Also tied for the team lead is slot receiver KaVontae Turpin, who is averaging 13.9 yards per catch coming off of the bench in each of TCU’s first two games.
Turpin has caught one touchdown pass this season, and has already returned a punt for a touchdown. It was the third of his career.
“It’s speed, elusiveness, he’s as quick as a cat,” Schiano said of the 5-foot-9 157-pound Turpin.
“Like I said, their three wide outs all present different issues but the common denominator is they all can run and that’s usually not a good thing. We’ve really got to be on top of our game.”
So far this season, the most dynamic player on TCU’s offense has been sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson.
While the Horned Frogs passing game hasn’t exactly populated the light bulbs on the scoreboard, Robinson’s ability to extend the play and scramble for first downs makes the entire offense more dangerous.
“Well, it’s a big challenge,” Schiano said of Robinson’s ability to run. “No. 1, it changes all the math. When the quarterback carries the ball and can do it well, then you know, the defensive math changes and really, playing good defense is getting people to the point of attack and then making the tackle.
“So when the quarterback runs it you need to get another guy to the point of attack and obviously he doesn’t run it all the time. He reads it. It’s like option football. So it changes. And on the passing downs, if he has the ability to scramble, you have to account for that, and what I’ve noticed, and it’s really — I think he had one start last year and obviously these two this year and — he’s a very good runner.”
Robinson’s running puts the defense in a conflicted position because there are times when he is running in order to extend a passing play. That puts the defense in a tough spot, which is what really has Schiano concerned this weekend.
“It’s not where he just tucks it to run right away,” he explained. “We’re going to have to hold coverage when he does start to move out of the pocket and be ready once he crosses the line of scrimmage to come up and try to come down which is easier said than done. He’s a 230-pound man who runs very well.”