Posted on September 12, 2018, by Travis Pulver
Ohio State fans know better than to overlook a team that is good but not great. It wasn’t known early last season how good Oklahoma would end up. A few years earlier, they didn’t expect Virginia Tech to give them the fight that they did. Both times, the Buckeyes lost. So, when they travel to Texas to face the TCU Horned Frogs Saturday night, fans are not going to get too overconfident.
They know what can happen if you do—and the Horned Frogs do have enough talent to take advantage of a slow start or lackluster play by Ohio State.
But will it come down to something like that? Is Ohio State going to need to wake up late in the game to pull out a win? Or will TCU pull off the upset?
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No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes
This will be the last game the Buckeyes will not have head coach Urban Meyer on the sideline. But he has been at practice so the only thing they really miss out on is whatever second-half adjustments he thinks need to be made.
But so far, they really haven’t had to make many. That could be because of two things—weak opponents (Oregon State and Rutgers), the team is just that good or a combination of the two.
J.K. Dobbins (27 carries for 147 yards and one touchdown) is off to a respectable start. But the more productive running back has been Mike Weber so far (28 carries for 217 yards and three touchdowns). Dwayne Haskins has gotten his career off on the right foot completing nearly 80 percent of his passes for 546 yards, nine touchdowns, and one interception.
With the opponents they’ve played, the defense looked like what you’d expect—a dominant force that offensive coordinators should fear. But Rutgers and Oregon State didn’t exactly put up much of a fight.
No. 15 TCU Horned Frogs
In recent years, TCU has been known for having one of the better defenses in the country. They appear to have just such a defense again. But much like Ohio State, they’ve just been beating up on soft opponents so far.
But the bigger concern may be their offense. They have a dual-threat quarterback at the helm again in sophomore Shawn Robinson. He’s been effective enough in the passing end of the game so far. But has yet to throw for more than 200 yards (182 versus Southern and 154 against SMU).
Is he going to be capable of getting the job done against a team like Ohio State?
Fans will have to wait until Saturday night to get that question answered. TCU head coach Gary Patterson has taken an approach they should like. He had this to say after the win over SMU:
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ll keep working. Just gotta keep getting stronger, keep getting better. Obviously, this is a great win.”
So—who’s going to win?
Both teams have taken a cautious public approach to this game talking about how it will not define their respective seasons—and their right. Ohio State’s will be defined by Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin (if they make it to the Big Ten title game).
TCU’s will be defined more by Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. Which is good because while they will give Ohio State a good fight, they are overmatched in this one. The Buckeyes are better in just about every facet of the game.
The prediction: It will be a close game in the first half, but as TCU’s defense wears down, Dwayne Haskins will take over. Ohio State wins and covers the spread (13.5 points).