ARLINGTON, Texas — At the very least the Buckeyes are battle-tested. Now it is time for his or her embattled coach.
Three video games right into a controversy-filled season off the sector, No. 4 Ohio State is undefeated on it. Greater than that, the Buckeyes are undeterred. It wasn’t them who dragged this system right into a morass that resulted in an assistant getting fired and their coach changing into the topic of an investigation.
By means of the ordeal, the gamers have proven one thing briefly provide at occasions in Columbus, Ohio, these previous few months — character. The newest instance was a 40-28 intersectional win over No. 15 TCU.
It was earned by way of adversity, a comeback, satisfaction and a lingering query: After what the workforce has achieved up to now, how does this system turn into higher when Urban Meyer takes over following his three-game suspension?
“I haven’t got an excellent reply for that query,” defensive sort out Robert Landers mentioned.
That is most likely a great place to go away it because the (next) Meyer period begins next week in opposition to Tulane. The Buckeyes have dutifully confirmed themselves by outscoring their first three opponents 174-57. On Saturday, they got here from behind on the “highway” (at AT&T Stadium) after trailing by eight factors within the second half.
There isn’t any certainty this may proceed now that the sport supervisor has modified. Meyer might be simply as a lot of a distraction as an enchancment. Appearing coach Ryan Day, the offensive coordinator, has been glorious in his stead.
“Is there an A++ within the grade e-book?” quarterback Dwayne Haskins mentioned of Day.
Now about that next step.
There will likely be a TCU-like problem in two weeks when Ohio State visits Penn State. However by way of three weeks, there are these across the program who cannot keep in mind issues being any higher. Think about that on the primary “off” evening of the season, Ohio State …
- Piled up 526 yards
- Scored two defensive touchdowns
- Scored 4 touchdowns in a span of 9 ½ minutes within the second half
- Watched the maturation of Haskins, a budding Heisman Trophy candidate
“I do know Coach Meyer is fairly excited,” Haskins mentioned after throwing for 344 yards and two touchdowns. “I do know he is most likely doing his little shadow boxing in the lounge proper now. I am positive we’ll see him [Sunday] for conferences. He’ll be fairly jacked up.”
In a soccer sense, it is time for Buck Nuts all over the place to be jacked up. They’d the bulk of followers in AT&T Stadium, a spot the place the Buckeyes had gained the primary Faculty Soccer Playoff in 2015. It is also a spot they hope to return Dec. 29 for the Cotton Bowl semifinal.
However there are questions past Meyer. For the primary time this season, Ohio State was held with out an offensive landing in a half. It was apparent early on that TCU wasn’t Oregon State and Rutgers, which have been outscored 134-29 in OSU’s first two video games.
Ohio State’s protection by no means did appear to get used to TCU’s tempo. Darius Anderson’s 93-yard speeding landing within the first half for the Horned Frogs was the longest play from scrimmage ever in opposition to Ohio State. All-American defensive finish Nick Bosa was misplaced to what was reported to be a groin damage.
TCU deserves a load of credit score for extending a 14-13 halftime result in 21-13 on Anderson’s 16-yard scoring run 4:17 into the third quarter. Did the Buckeyes blink? Nearly.
“All of us seemed one another in a the attention and mentioned, ‘Look, this sport’s not over. We’re solely down by some extent. That is the worst half of soccer we have most likely performed this season. We have now a lot room to develop,'” mentioned defensive sort out Dre’Mont Jones.
About 5 minutes later, Jones plucked an errant Shawn Robinson shovel go out of the air and rambled 28 yards for a 26-21 Ohio State lead.
Earlier, Bosa’s strip sack had allowed teammate Davon Hamilton to scoop up the fumble for a 10-Zero Buckeyes lead.
Nonetheless, it was off evening at Jerry World for Ohio State as a result of, for as soon as this season, an opponent punched again in opposition to the Buckeyes. TCU was greater than sport, coming this shut to asserting itself as a participant on the nationwide stage.
The Frogs look ok to problem Oklahoma within the Large 12. A playoff berth is likely to be an excessive amount of to ask, however you higher imagine they’ve seemed on the calendar. There are 105 days left till the CFP semis.
“Here is what I believed,” TCU coach Gary Patterson mentioned. “I believed we did not permit them a landing within the first half defensively, they usually turned up the knob and we needed to do higher.”
For now, it is time to keep in mind the Buckeyes for who they’re proper now. Now we all know why Ohio State followers have been clamoring for Haskins. The sophomore patiently waited his flip by J.T. Barrett final 12 months.
In three video games, he has accomplished 78 % of his passes and thrown 11 touchdowns. The offensive line that outweighed TCU’s defensive position by a median of 47 kilos lastly asserted itself and guarded him.
Even with out Bosa, this appears to be like like an elite protection.
Now, all Ohio State has to do is add the brand new man to the combo. That blend features a stew of anticipation and uncertainty.
“He is chomping on the bit,” mentioned energy coach Mickey Marotti, Meyer’s closest confidant on the employees, “most likely pacing in his home.”
All of it additionally begs one other query: Why have not the Buckeyes cracked whereas controversy has swirled round them?
“On the finish of the day, how we take a look at it’s, everyone has moments and occasions of their lives,” Landers mentioned. “This can be a second the place … some of us felt like God hand-picked us for this example.”