Buckeyes’ offense clicking
COLUMBUS — Many expected the Ohio State offense to be extremely potent.
But scoring at a tune of almost 65 points a game might have seemed even a bit far fetched to the most loyal Buckeye fan.
Regardless, the Ohio State offense has clicked all on all cylinders in blow-out victories against Oregon State (77-31) and Rutgers (52-3). And while red-shirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins has garnered much of the attention, he’s been by no means been alone.
Whether it’s the passing game, which has accumulated 700 yards and accounted for 10 touchdowns, or the ground game, which has gained 600 yards and scored seven touchdowns, the Buckeyes are dancing to all of the tunes. And taking that a step further, it’s been done by a host of people, too.
“You know, you look all across the board, we’re pretty deep,” Ryan Day said. “We have a lot of playmakers. So, when you get the ball to these guys in space and you can stretch the ball vertically and horizontally, you can really be explosive.”
If that’s accurate, and it’s proven be, the Ohio State offense is chalk full of TNT.
Whether it’s been Hasking throwing deep to Johnnie Dixon, underneath to Austin Mack, to the flats to Paris Campbell or on post patterns to Terry McLaurin, the Buckeyes’ passing game has looked unstoppable.
Obviously, a step up in competition is forthcoming Saturday night when the Buckeyes vist AT&T Stadium to take on No. 15 ranked TCU.
“They have all the answers (defensively),” Day, who completes his duties as interim coach for the suspended Urban Meyer this week, said. “Any time a defense has been together that long, they have seen so many different things come their way.”
Seeing so many different things is one thing, but seeing so many different people is another. Can the Horned Frogs keep up? Day and Meyer, who is working with the team during practice, are stressing that they can because the last thing anyone wants to see is complaceny.
“When the games get tighter, every play matters even more. And so the mistakes are still there,” Day said. “The mistakes are still there. We have to correct them and that’s the sign of a mature group is you can win a big game, kind of like we have last two games but then come to work and be critical of yourself and take the coaching so that we make the corrections to keep building.”
TCU has been impressive in its victories, but neither has come against a Power 5 opponent. The Horned Frogs thumped both Southern (55-7) and SMU (42-12), so they’re clearly getting their first real test, too.
As Meyer has stressed seemingly every time he’s spoken about any game, but especially in big games, the plan to win for the Buckeyes doesn’t change. Taking care of the ball and being able to run the football are of the utmost importance.
While Mike Weber had the big game during the opener against Oregon State, sophomore J.K. Dobbins was more of the go-to-guy in the ground attack last week. Look for those two to hav e a big part of the Buckeyes’ game plan this week, too.
“You have to really follow the plan to win even more because every play is so much more important,” Day said. “We are going to be who we are and do what we do. I think when you start to stray and focus on other things, like it being a big game, that’s when you get distracted. If we start to overthink it or anything else, then we are not putting our best foot forward. .If we are very, very critical of ourselves, then we have a chance to be as good as we want to be.”
While it’s a big game for both teams, Patterson knows and has stressed to his team this week that plenty of season — including the entire Big 12 slate– still lies ahead, so putting too much stock into the Buckeyes could be problematic.
“I talk all the time about (scheduling) and during the non-conference, I feel like you should play one game you should win, a 50-50 game and a stretch game,” Patterson said. “We have to play better than what we have. You want to win the game, but you also want to get better.”
Though it’s technically a neutral site, TCU is clearly the home team since ‘Jerry’s World’ is just 30 minutes from its campus in Fort Worth. However, the Buckeyes are clearly no strangers to the building. They won the College Football Playoff there in 2015 and last season won the Cotton Bowl there against USC.
“A lot of guys on the team know that stadium so that is good, but a lot of guys on the team don’t,” Day said. “At the end of the day, it just comes down to going in to play. Obviously (it’s) a beautiful stadium and they will have a great crowd, so it will be a hostile crowd.”