The Horned Frogs of TCU have a season determining game in week three. The Ohio State Buckeyes travel to Texas to take on the 2-0 Horned Frogs in Jerryworld. This is the premier game of week three as it will be televised on ABC and ESPN’s College Gameday is coming to Arlington to add even more anticipation. The Buckeyes are still without Urban Meyer. Up to this point, that hasn’t really mattered as they’ve dismantled two power five opponents, if you can call them that, in Oregon State and Rutgers; racking up 129 total points.
The Horned Frogs have also blown out two opponents, but haven’t played any truly talents teams as yet. TCU has beaten Southern U and SMU by a combined 97-19.
Saturday will be a huge game for TCU and the Big 12, TCU is going to have to bring their A game all night. Hopefully Lee Corso can loan me some headgear for this one.
The Buckeyes have looked dominant without Urban Meyer on the sideline. As alluded to above, interim head coach Ryan Day has done is lead the Buckeyes to a couple beatdowns of Rutgers and Oregon State. OSU now has to take the road for the first time in 2018 and heading down to Texas to take on a Big 12 opponent is never easy, especially when it’s Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs.
When looking at the Buckeyes, it all starts with quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr filling the shoes of Big Ten legend JT Barrett, Haskins has thrown for 9 touchdowns in two games. He’s already up there in the Heisman conversation. Both of those games also saw some time from 5-star redshirt freshman Tate Martell. It’s safe to say Ohio State is set at quarterback for a couple years.
Mike Webber is the running back and is completely electric. He is only 5-foot-10, but he can really hit that extra gear when it comes to sprinting. When he runs up the middle his cutting ability is eye-opening, and he is a big play threat every time he touches the ball.
Wide receiver Terry McLaurin has just five catches but has turned them into 172 yards and three touchdowns. He and Parris Campbell complement each other well. Campbell has 9 catches this season for 86 yards and two scores. He’s a more reliable short-gain receiver for Haskins. KJ Hill is the team’s second leading receiver, with 11 catches for 107 yards, he’s failed to find pay dirt. Johnny Mack and Austin Dixon are both one catch away from 100 yards. These five receivers put together a very deep and talented group of weapons at Haskins’ disposal.
The offensive line is unreal. Center Micheal Jordan is one of the country’s best, and his 6-foot-7, 312 pound size is off the charts. The whole Buckeye line is an average 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds. That’s tremendous for the college game, and teams are going to struggle trying to get into the backfield.
The defense is one of the best across the country. The pressure the Buckeyes produce on defense is scary. Ohio State runs a 4-3 defense that gives linebackers the responsibility of determining whether it’s a run or pass play, leading them to either blitz against the run or drop into coverage against a pass. Seems simple to scheme against, right? Well, ask every team the Buckeyes have whooped the last couple of years and that might change your mind. Even in a perfect world, meaning TCU schemes perfect, they’re still going to have to stop the front four that is full of NFL caliber talent. Potential number one overall pick Nick Bosa anchors a very strong OSU defensive line. In less than two games, he has produced three sacks, two fumbles, and five tackles for loss. The defensive line also has Robert Landers and Dre’Mont Jones who shed blocks like no one’s business up front. Jonathan Cooper works opposite Bosa and is a legit pass rusher but has yet to get it going this season.
Malik Harrison and Baron Browning both are starting linebackers and have potential to finish the season with north of 60 tackles. Sophomore Pete Werner is an emerging star and is third on the team with seven tackles. The reason the linebackers struggle to get tackles is because almost no plays get past that defensive line.
The pass defense has been stellar so far this year; allowing less than a 50 percent completion percentage and about 140 yards a game. Corners Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette Jr are both juniors and play great coverage. Jordan Fuller starts at free safety and has been pretty quiet and unneeded, that means OSU is playing great coverage elsewhere. The strong safety is a split between Isaiah Pryor and Jahsen Wint. Wint is third on the team in tackles and I predict he gets the start Saturday night.
TCU has had a lot of concerns through two games, even after going 2-0 and being ranked 15th in the country. The main concern has been the passing game. Shawn Robinson is a question mark and his inexperience is a big reason why Vegas has Ohio State as 13-point favorites. Robinson had a fairly good performance against Southern, but not so much versus SMU. He needs to play well for TCU to have a shot.
The run game averages about six yards per carry, but that number is not likely to hold up. If TCU can average even four yards a carry Saturday night though, that will be a win for the Horned Frogs. KaVontae Turpin and Jalen Reagor have been Robinsons go-to receivers and it’s a very nice duo to have. The O-line has yet to have a real test this season but as a unit they are pretty experienced and one of the better ones in the Big 12.
The defense has been outstanding this season. They have not allowed a second half point yet and have held teams under 225 yards per game. SMU and Southern U have only put up 19 points combined against the Ben Banogu led defense. Banogu has had a slow start to the year only talking two tackles and a sack. Ty Summers also creates pressure and the secondary is very experienced and has played very well so far.
TCU needs to play their game. This is a huge early season test and a win would catapult them in the rankings. Gary Patterson is about as excited for a game as he’s ever been and hopefully the whole team channels that energy. Losing by 13.5 seems like a stretch, there isn’t that much of a talent gap here. The Horned Frogs have a legit shot.
Keys To The Game For TCU
Compete In The Trenches – Can the Horned Frogs get in the back field despite having about a 4 inch and 50 pound disadvantage in the trenches. This is so important because it is imperative that TCU doesn’t give Mike Webber space. TCU is average and I’m sure Nick Bosa, Robert Landers, and Dre’mont Jones will be licking their chops at the sight of the TCU offensive line. On both offense and defense the Horned Frogs need to play better than expected or this one could get ugly.
Keep It Close – Ohio State’s starters haven’t seen the fourth quarter in about eight months. TCU needs that to change. Make the OSU offense, led by underclassmen, make a play late in the game. Dwayne Haskins is relatively untested, he did play well late at Michigan last season though. If TCU can have a lead with two minutes left I really think that the Horned Frogs can shut down the Buckeyes in that situation.
Shawn Robinson – TCU is going to need a lot from Sophomore Shawn Robinson. After a great start vs Southern U he really struggled vs SMU only completing 53% of his passes for one touchdown and one interception. If the Horned frogs want to compete with one of the nations best, they need that percentage near 70 and alot more production. I do expect Robinson to play a lot better in the biggest game of his life, just how well he plays will be the deciding factor in my opinion.
TCU keeps this game close all night. The Buckeyes are going to need other players besides Nick Bosa to make plays on defense in order to win this game. Gary Patterson uses his great coaching and finds a way to stump the Ohio State defense. TCU should create either a special teams touchdown or a defensive one especially with Turpin and Davis returning punts. I think this game turns into a Southern shootout and it’s hard to pick a Big Ten team over a Big 12 one in that type of game, but I’m doing it anyway.