Ohio State at Texas Christian

The Sports Xchange

September 12, 2018 at 5:13 pm.

GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
SITE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
TV: ABC
SERIES: Ohio State leads TCU, 4-1-1
RANKINGS: Ohio State No. 4; TCU No. 15

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Buckeyes

–QB Dwayne Haskins has shown in Ohio State’s first two games that he’s not overwhelmed as a first-year starter. In fact, he has looked quite comfortable in blowout wins over Oregon State and Rutgers. Last week against Rutgers, Haskins was on target, completing 20 of 23 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. That gives him 546 yards and nine touchdown passes in the two games.

His ability to throw the deep ball is reflected in three touchdown passes of 38 yards or longer against Rutgers. The sophomore’s numbers could be even better, but he’s sharing time with redshirt freshman QB Tate Martell, who was impressive in his own right against the Scarlet Knights, completing 10-of-10 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 96 yards on eight carries and one touchdown.

–WR Johnnie Dixon is Ohio State’s home run hitter. Two of his four catches last Saturday against Rutgers went for touchdowns — a 38-yarder to begin the game and a 44-yarder to open the third quarter. Both passes were thrown by QB Dwayne Haskins. Dixon also had two scoring receptions in last year’s game with Rutgers.

The fifth-year senior had eight touchdown receptions last year and averaged 23.4 yards per catch. Knee injuries had slowed Dixon in his first three years at Ohio State, but he was finally able to showcase his talent last year while playing in 13 of 14 games. Since last season, Dixon has 23 catches and 10 of them are for touchdowns.

“We have a group of guys who can do the same thing,” Dixon said of Ohio State’s talented stable of wide receivers.

–DE Chase Young is a disruptive force on the opposite end of the defensive line from preseason All-American DE Nick Bosa. Against Rutgers last Saturday, Young led Ohio State with two sacks totaling 18 yards in losses and added a pass breakup. Young was ejected late in the game after two personal foul penalties — one for spiking the ball and the other when he came onto the field from the sideline to celebrate.

Horned Frogs

–RB Darius Anderson is by far TCU’s most explosive and dependable playmaker. A would-be 1,000-yard rusher in 2017 if not for a season-ending foot injury suffered against Oklahoma in Norman, Anderson will be leaned on heavily to move the chains if the passing game fails or offensive line falters. He had 69 yards on nine carries last week in the win over SMU and has 109 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries for the season.

–QB Shawn Robinson is the first TCU quarterback to win his first three starts since Jeff Ballard won 11 straight from 2005-06. He did not have an interception in his first 70 pass attempts at TCU, the longest streak by a quarterback to begin his career under coach Gary Patterson.

–LB Ty Summers has been Mr. Production for TCU, needing just 66 tackles to become the all-time tackling leader in the Gary Patterson era. He played quarterback in high school, so he has position flexibility, too, playing linebacker and defensive end. Summers ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash in the spring and has recorded a 36-inch vertical. He has seven stops, two of them tackles for a loss, and sack through the first two games.

KEYS
TO THE GAME

Win or lose, the Ohio State game will not define TCU’s season

There’s no doubt that Saturday’s game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, between No. 15 TCU and fourth-ranked Buckeyes is big for both teams. Nor is there any question that the contest will have an impact on just who gets a spot in the College Football Playoffs.

But Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson said Monday that the game will not define his team’s season.

“It’s win or lose, and then your season is going forward or getting over with,” Patterson said about the Ohio State game. “The worst thing we could do at TCU is put all of our balls in one basket. If you can win it, you’re going to be part of that [playoff] conversation. If you don’t win it, you don’t.

“But we’ve got Texas next week, start of Big 12 Conference play, then Iowa State before we get a break.”

TCU (2-0) struggled early on against Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex rival SMU before rolling to a 42-12 win on the road last Friday. The Horned Frogs’ KaVontae Turpin had a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown, caught a 42-yard pass from Shawn Robinson for another score and made a critical tackle after a Robinson interception that kept the SMU defender from a pick-six.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Patterson said after the win over SMU. “We’ll keep working. Just gotta keep getting stronger, keep getting better. Obviously this is a great win.”

With the eyes of the college football world on this week’s game, TCU understands the importance of this game even as it downplays it. The Horned Frogs are unfazed by being a two-touchdown underdog and linebacker Alec Dunham said his team is confident.

“Confident is a good word,” said Dunham, who returned a fumble 25 yards for a touchdown against SMU. “But I would just say more we have to go into the week and get prepared. When we go in Saturday I want to say, ‘I’m going into Ohio State prepared versus confident.'”

Meanwhile, Ohio State (2-0) heads to Arlington on the heels of a 52-3 sandblasting of Rutgers at home last Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. built off his five-touchdown performance in Week 1 by completing 20 of 23 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns in the win over the Scarlet Knights before exiting in the third quarter.

Ryan Day’s three-game stint as Ohio State’s acting head coach will end this week, but he has learned in his six weeks filling in for suspended Urban Meyer that the pressure is there every week and that labeling a game “big” over any other is a mistake.

“If you don’t think it’s a big game, try losing it, you know?” Day said Monday.

“They are all big. … Every game you’ve got to be ready, you’ve got to be prepared and do a great job. When you come to Ohio State and you play at the highest level of college football, you have to bring your ‘A’ game every week. That’s not any different this week.”

TCU and Ohio State are meeting for the seventh time in their history and first time since 1973. The Buckeyes hold a 4-1-1 series edge with all six previous meetings in Columbus. The Horned Frogs’ lone victory was an 18-14 decision in 1957.

 

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