COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State so far proved it can dispense merciless beatings to opponents it is supposed to beat. The Buckeyes will learn more about their potential when they travel to Arlington, Texas, this week to face another AP Top 25 team in TCU.
This will be the first real measuring stick of the season for the No. 4 Buckeyes, a road game in front of what essentially will be a home crowd for TCU, whose Fort Worth campus is a half-hour drive from AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
A few sure things have emerged so far for Ohio State: New starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. can stand up against a rush and deliver pinpoint passes in stride to any one of a cadre of talented receivers. Either one of the pair of tailbacks, Mike Weber or J.K. Dobbins, is capable of breaking loose for big plays.
And the No. 4 Buckeyes (2-0) can operate just fine without suspended coach Urban Meyer on the sideline.
“We’re pretty deep, a lot of playmakers,” said acting coach Ryan Day, who will run the show on game day one more time before Meyer is allowed to return for the Sept. 22 matchup against Tulane. “When you get the ball to those guys in space and stretch the ball vertically and horizontally, you can really be explosive. Our ability to protect (quarterbacks) is really good right now, too. So the rhythm has been good.”
The Buckeyes have piled up 1,300 offensive yards in the first two games against overmatched teams. Haskins has thrown for 546 yards and nine touchdowns with one interception. And because those contests were well in-hand by halftime, he hasn’t even played a full game yet.
The No. 15 Horned Frogs (2-0), who routed SMU last Saturday , will present a more complicated challenge.
“They have all the answers,” Day said of the experienced TCU defense. “Any time a defense has been together that long, they’ve seen so many things come their way, so they have adjustments, they make quick adjustments, they know how you’re trying to attack them.”
Parris Campbell , who has been on the receiving end of two of Haskins’ TD passes, said the culture of the program is that the quality of the opponent doesn’t matter; the intensity of the preparation is always the same.
“I think honestly going in it’s going to be about us just continuing to show who we are as an offense, who we are as a defense, who we are as a whole team,” Campbell said. “So I think it’s just more internal. It’s not about who we play, it’s about us at all times. I know if we go into this week preparing the way we can prepare, we’ll be fine.”
Day said Meyer “had a huge amount of input” in game planning last week, his first back with the team. He’ll be with the players again this week but not coaching during the game.
Meyer was sanctioned by the university for his mismanagement of fired receivers coach Zach Smith. An investigation found that Smith had been accused of domestic violence and other bad behavior, some of which Meyer had been aware of.