TCU vs. Ohio State is College Football’s Big Game of the Week

September 13, 2018

These are great days. It’s what college football is all about and where the focus should be.

Excitement on campus, ESPN College GameDay and the distant whistle of a big game coming down the track. Don’t miss the 7:05 on Saturday — as the O’Jays sing in their ’70s hit “Love Train,” — “If you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you.”

It’s No. 4 vs. No. 15 in the featured game of the week in college football. This will be a test for both teams. You can almost hear the late, great iconic announcer Keith Jackson … “There’s Ohiooo State! And here come the Fuh-roogs!”

TCU football player KaVontae Turpin protects the football with both hands as two players from Southern chase the play.

KaVontae Turpin, seen here in a play against Southern, was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week following the 42-12 victory at SMU. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

Both teams have cruised through their first two games with wins.

Both teams have new starting quarterbacks with similar experience levels.

Both teams have loads of talent.

One team has lots of size.

One team has lots of speed.

Only one team will win — where does the difference show up?

Thankfully as we head into this one, we know that the weather will not play a factor in the game. It’s a dry, fast track at AT&T Stadium.

Neither TCU nor Ohio State has been taken to the mat yet in the young season. Ohio State hung 77 on Oregon State and then cruised over Rutgers last week. The Frogs’ biggest challenges so far have been lighting and weather delays.

Ohio State’s offense is a multiple system that uses a deep rotation of running backs and wide receivers, and all are strong with the ball. The offense also utilizes the tight ends well, mostly as blockers placed off the line of scrimmage. But watch out for the tight ends as pass targets near the goal line. Quarterback #7 Dwayne Haskins has taken over for J.T. Barrett. Much like TCU’s Shawn Robinson vs. Texas Tech, Haskins made one big appearance last year as the backup QB, taking over for an injured Barrett against Michigan and engineering a 31-20 win over the Wolverines. Haskins is six feet three inches tall and runs the offense well. There are many weapons and Haskins has a tendency to overthrow receivers — there’s an INT out there somewhere. Haskins hands it to #2 J.K. Dobbins, a well-built running back who is a double threat as a pass catcher out of the backfield. The Buckeyes’ #25 Mike Weber, Jr. gets his share of carries as well. The wide receivers are many. Ohio State returns its top six pass grabbers from last year, led by #1 Johnnie Dixon, who’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball. I also like #11 Austin Mack and #83 Terry McLaurin. All the wideouts are strong and will require gang tackling.

This offense works behind an experienced offensive line with three of five starters standing six feet seven inches, and all five are over 310 pounds.

Defensively, the Buckeyes feature one of the top two defensive lines in college football in their 4-3 scheme. Defensive end #97 Nick Bosa, younger brother of OSU great Joey (San Diego Chargers) warrants watching and double teams. He’s a speed rusher who nobody’s blocked yet in two games. Ohio State had 45 sacks last year and looks to match that number this year. The linebackers are large (all around 240 pounds) and the best of the bunch is middle linebacker Baron Browning, whose dad, Barry, played for TCU in the late ’90s. The secondary is solid as always, even though it replaces three starters. Amazing stat: Since 1997, Ohio State has had 33 defensive backs drafted to the NFL, with 13 of those being first-round picks! The coverage scheme involves lots of tight coverage and a lot of zone. The Frogs can use their speed to make plays underneath — watch for that.

The stage is set for a great night and a bowl-like environment early in the season. ESPN’s College GameDay is setting up and the show starts at 8 a.m. Then Frog fans, you need to get to Arlington and get ready. Get your Purple On – the Frogs, the home team, will be wearing purple chrome helmets. I don’t think you’ll want to miss this.

Get some rest.  Saturday’s coming.


Kick Em High!



Hundreds of TCU students, in the stands at TCU's season opener against Southern, hold up three fingers to indicate a third down. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

Horned Frogs and Buckeyes alike are expected to fill the 80,000-seat AT&T stadium on Saturday as TCU faces Ohio State. Photo by Glen E. Ellman