Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

September 11, 2018 at 9:30 pm.

Buckeyes try for win No. 901 against TCU

Fourth-ranked Ohio State takes aim at victory No. 901 in school history on Saturday night when it travels to Arlington, Texas, for a marquee matchup with No. 15 TCU at AT&T Stadium.

The Buckeyes will be without coach Urban Meyer on the sideline for the third straight game while he completes his university-imposed suspension for his handling of the sexual assault allegations involving former assistant coach Zach Smith.

Meyer is allowed to coach the team for the second week but just not on game day. He will be heavily involved in the game preparation for the Horned Frogs.

“Like I said last week, everything in terms of week-to-week stuff with coach, we have been game planning all together, so he’s had a huge amount of input,” acting coach Ryan Day said Monday.

The Buckeyes became the second FBS program to chalk up 900 wins in program history with a 52-3 rout of Big Ten opponent Rutgers last Saturday in rain-soaked Ohio Stadium. They polished off the Scarlet Knights by displaying a dynamic offense led by quarterback Dwayne Haskins for the second consecutive game and an improved defense that gave up just 134 total yards and one second-half field goal.

The offense has proved to be alarmingly effective so far. It ranks second nationally in scoring at 64.5 points per game and second in yards with a 650-per-game average and in average yards per play at 8.1.

Haskins and backup Tate Martell combined to complete 30-of-33 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions against Rutgers. Nine receivers finished with two or more catches, led by Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill with five each and Johnnie Dixon with four receptions and two touchdowns.

Asked what has made the offense so effective, Day said, “Probably our depth and just talent overall. You know, you look all across the board, we’re pretty deep. A lot of playmakers. So when you get the ball to those guys in space and you can stretch the ball vertically and horizontally, you can really be explosive. That matched with the tempo and our ability to protect right now is good.”

TCU’s defense will present more of a challenge this week. The Horned Frogs rank sixth in the nation in total defense.

“They have been together such a long time that you are not going to get anything free,” Day said. “You’re going to have to earn everything that you get.”

Ohio State’s defense, led by bookend pass rushers Nick Bosa and Chase Young, got much better against Rutgers after giving up 31 points in the opener to Oregon State. This week figures to be more of a test against TCU, which has blown out Southern and SMU to open its schedule.

“They are a really talented offense,” Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “It all starts with the offensive and defensive lines. Their offensive line is as good as any in the Big Ten.

“This is a very athletic, fast, productive offense.”