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Ohio State blows past Tulane in Urban Meyer’s first game back

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Ohio State had been getting past opponents with relative ease without Urban Meyer on the sidelines. With him, nothing has changed. As expected.

In Meyer’s first game back, No. 4 OSU, which entered the game as 37.5-point favorites, barely covered the spread in blowing past overmatched Tulane 49-6 in Columbus. The head coach had missed the first three games of the season, wins over Oregon State, Rutgers and TCU, because of a suspension stemming from his handling of domestic abuse allegations involving one of his now-former assistants.

As has been the case thus far this season, the Buckeyes were led by first-year starter Dwayne Haskins.

In the first half alone, Haskins completed 21 of his 24 passes for 328 yards and a career-high-tying five touchdown passes.  His passer rating for the first two quarters?  A fairly-impressive 262.6.  Those would serve as Haskins’ final numbers as he watched from the sidelines the entire second half.

Haskins has now thrown 16 touchdown passes in the first four games against just one interception, and that lone pick came in the season opener against the Pac-12 OSU.  For the season, he’s also completed 75.7 percent of his 115 pass attempts.

It’s the touchdown tosses, though, that are defining the strong-armed sophomore.

Parris Campbell caught eight of Haskins’ passes for 147 yards and two of the touchdowns.  All of those numbers came in the first half as well.

Overall, Ohio State held a 570-254 advantage in total offense.  Tulane managed just 2.4 yards per carry — on 41 attempts — in the contest.

OSU will jump back headfirst into Big Ten play with a huge East Division matchup against No. 10 Penn State in Happy Valley.

Miscues from No. 15 TCU allow No. 4 Ohio State to storm back for win to go 3-0 without Urban Meyer

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Everybody wondered how No. 4 Ohio State would fare in their biggest non-conference test of the year that also doubled their final game without head coach Urban Meyer. As it turns out, not too shabby.

The fourth-ranked Buckeyes used a series of third quarter miscues from a pesky No. 15 TCU squad to flip momentum and help storm away with a 40-28 victory on Saturday night and move to 3-0 on the season.

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins didn’t quite look as good as he did in the team’s first two games but he eventually was able to figure out Gary Patterson’s difficult defense as the night went on. The budding Heisman candidate left AT&T Stadium with 24 completions for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns while tailback J.K. Dobbins, playing in his home state once again, rushed for 121 yards on the ground. Fellow back Mike Weber chipped in with another 64 on the ground, many of which were runs that helped salt away the game by running clock down the stretch.

Far more impressive was the Buckeyes defense. Despite allowing over 500 yards, the group forced three huge turnovers — two for touchdowns — recorded three sacks and seven tackles for loss. Though attention in Columbus will turn to the return of Meyer next week, the status of star defensive end Nick Bosa will also be front and center for the team after he was injured in the third quarter with what was officially labeled a lower abdomen strain.

The final scoreline didn’t properly indicate how close the Horned Frogs kept his one for most of the night. Signal-caller Shawn Robinson threw for 308 yards and a touchdown (two INTs) while really pushing the tempo early in the game to catch the Buckeyes off-balance. Darius Anderson also introduced himself to a national audience, finishing with 154 yards and a pair of touchdown runs, the first of which went 93 yards along the sidelines that doubled as the longest run in school history and the longest given up by the powerhouse on the other sideline.

If there was one regret for Patterson however, it likely came in a four-minute stretch that all but doomed TCU due in part to their own miscues.

It all started by giving up a Parris Campbell screen play for 63 yards, with the OSU receiver weaving his way to the end zone and through a few arm tackles. On the next series, Dremont Jones stepped in front of a shovel pass and looked much more like a fullback than a defensive tackle as he slipped two tackles and wound up in the end zone.

The Horned Frogs thought they could swing momentum back and made the gutsy call to try some trickeration on the ensuing kickoff. After having a player lay flat in the end zone, the return man was supposed to lateral the ball to him but wound up throwing an illegal forward pass on a play that could have gone for a touchdown. The special teams woes continued on the same series as a bad snap on the punt led to the kick getting partially blocked. Ohio State promptly scored on the next snap with a 25 yard touchdown pass and turn a one-time deficit into a 12 point lead that kept growing as the second half continued.

As a result, the Buckeyes will remain in the thick of the College Football Playoff conversation as they look to be carrying the banner for their conference after a rough Saturday in the Big Ten. Bosa’s health will be a big concern going forward given his obvious impact but attention will no doubt turn to the return of Meyer next week against Tulane at the Horseshoe.

Still, OSU was certainly pushed at time by a TCU team that used tempo effectively throughout the night and look like they have the kind of playmakers to push Oklahoma in the Big 12. They’ll have to regroup quickly in Fort Worth given the upcoming slate but there’s no shame in losing to the Buckeyes based on what we saw in Arlington.

No. 4 Ohio State continues to be be light years ahead of Rutgers

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Rutgers (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten) made some halftime adjustments and put together their best offensive possession of the game on their first possession of the second half before kicking a field goal from 41 yards out. The field goal ended a 10-quarter scoreless drought for Rutgers against No. 4 Ohio State (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten), but that was the highlight of the day for the Scarlet Knights. Once again overpowered in every facet of the game against the Buckeyes, Rutgers was simply no match for the Big Ten favorites. Ohio State continued their dominance over Rutgers since the two became Big Ten division foes with a 52-3 victory.

Ohio State has won all five meetings between the two schools since Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014. The Buckeyes have now outscored Rutgers 271-27.

Dwayne Haskins passed for 233 yards in his second start for Ohio State, with four touchdowns. His backup, freshman Tate Martell, was 10-of-10 for 121 yards and rushed for 63 yards, highlighted by a 47-yard touchdown run and picking up his first career touchdown pass. J.K. Dobbins got an early rest after rushing 12 times for 73 yards and a score. Johnnie Dixon caught two touchdown passes and Parris Campbell caught five passes for 64 yards and a score for the Buckeyes.

The win was the second blowout win for Ohio State in the absence of head coach Urban Meyer, who is serving a three-game suspension. Next week, Ohio State leaves the comforts of home in Ohio Stadium for a matchup with TCU in Arlington, Texas. It will be the final game without Meyer as head coach and should be the most challenging game in this three-game stretch to open the season.

Meyer is scheduled to return to the Ohio State sidelines in Week 4 when Ohio State hosts Tulane, a week before traveling to Penn State for another Big Ten contest.

Rutgers will be back on the road next week and will also play a Big 12 opponent. Rutgers travels to Kansas, with the Jayhawks fresh off a long-awaited road win against Central Michigan.

Two more draft-eligible Buckeyes opt to remain at Ohio State

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It’s been a banner day for Ohio State when it comes to staving off the NFL for another year.

Earlier in the day, wide receiver Parris Campbell announced that he would be eschewing the NFL draft and returning to the Buckeyes for the 2018 season.  Not long after, another receiver, Johnnie Dixon, along with defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones announced that they too opted against declaring in order to come back to OSU for another season.

The return of Jones is the more surprising of the two most recent ones as he had been viewed in some corners as a potential first-round pick.

Dixon led the Buckeyes in receiving touchdowns with eight and yards per catch at 23.4.  For the season, he totaled 18 catches for 422 yards, both career highs

Thus far, Ohio State has lost cornerback Denzel Ward (HERE), defensive end Sam Hubbard (HERE) and linebacker Jerome Baker (HERE) to early entry into the draft.  The deadline for the rest of the draft-eligible players to declare is Jan. 15.

No. 8 Ohio State awaits CFP fate after toppling No. 4 Wisconsin to take B1G title

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It wasn’t 59-0, but it might be just enough to do the job. On the same stage that Ohio State used a Big Ten Championship win over Wisconsin to launch an 11th hour run to the College Football Playoff and an eventual national championship three years ago, No. 8 Ohio State hopes to do the same after taking down undefeated No. 4 Wisconsin 27-21 to win the Big Ten title.

J.T. Barrett famously did not play in the 2014 rout, but the fifth-year senior created his own legend by leading the Buckeyes to the win six days after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to lead the Buckeyes with 211 passing yards, 60 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.

The win pushes Ohio State to 11-2 on the season and gives the Buckeyes two wins over top-10 foes, bolstering the Buckeyes’ case as they look to edge 11-1 and fifth-ranked Alabama to reach their third Playoff in four seasons — all of which would come under controversial circumstances. The 2014 blowout of Wisconsin — with Hall of Fame Badgers coach Barry Alvarez serving on the selection committee — allowed Ohio State to pass both TCU and Baylor on Selection Sunday. A year ago, Ohio State became the first non-conference champion to reach the Playoff, beating out a 2-loss Penn State team that both won the head-to-head matchup over the Buckeyes and and claimed the Big Ten championship.

And now Ohio State looks to become both the first 2-loss team and the first team to suffer a blowout loss to reach the 4-team field.

Trailing 21-10 at the half, Wisconsin pulled within one score with a 46-yard Rafael Gaglianone field goal to open the third quarter, but Ohio State answered with a 27-yard Sean Nuernberger boot. 

The score remained at 24-13 when Barrett tossed his second interception of the night, which Leon Jacobs grabbed and returned to the Wisconsin 48-yard line. Given the short field, Wisconsin’s offense charged to its first offensive touchdown of the night, a 1-yard Chris James plunge that literally ripped the Lucas Oil Stadium turf in two.

After a 15-minute delay in which grounds workers repaired the field, Alex Hornibrook found Troy Fumagalli for a 2-point conversion to pull the Badgers within 24-21 with 12:39 remaining. 

Ohio State’s next possession consumed 7:19 of the clock over a 15-play march, extended by a 4th-and-1 conversion by Barrett, but stalled at the Wisconsin 3. A 20-yard Nuernberger field goal did not put Wisconsin away, but did force the Badgers to score a touchdown to win instead of needing a field goal to tie.

Wisconsin moved only 19 yards on the ensuing possession, as Paul Chryst bet on his defense by electing to punt on a 4th-and-3 from his own 38 with 3:20 to play and a full compliment of timeouts. That gamble paid off when Barrett threw behind a wide open J.K. Dobbins on 3rd-and-5, giving Wisconsin the ball back at its own 30 with 2:59 to go.

Wisconsin moved the ball as far as the Ohio State 43, but a called holding penalty and a missed pass interference flag pushed the Badgers back to a 1st-and-20 and the drive could not recover. Hornibrook fired three straight incomplete passes and was intercepted on fourth down by Damon Webb to allow Ohio State to seal the win.

A Wisconsin turnover started the scoring. The Badgers moved into the Ohio State red zone on their first possession, but Hornibrook’s lob near the end zone was intercepted by Denzel Ward at the 4-yard line. The Buckeyes needed only four plays to traverse the 96 yards ahead of them, the last 84 coming on a Barrett pass to Terry McLaurin to open the scoring.

Barrett then gifted Wisconsin a touchdown with a 9-yard pick-six to Wisconsin’s Andrew Van Ginkel. He quickly erased that score, though, completing a 4-play, 75-yard drive with a 57-yard snatch-and-dash to Parris Campbell, giving Ohio State a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

After three straight three-and-outs, Ohio State again put together another blitzkrieg drive, this time moving 82 yards in three plays, 77 of which came on a Dobbins run. Barrett pushed the lead to 21-7 with a 1-yard plunge one play later.

Needing a score to stay in the game, Wisconsin drove to the Ohio State 37, but Chryst elected to punt on a 4th-and-3 instead of going for it or kicking a 54-yard field goal. The decision immediately worked out, though, when Van Ginkel forced a Mike Weber fumble at the Ohio State 11, leading to a 28-yard Gaglianone with 3:42 left in the half. 

Nuernberger’s 43-yard field goal on the final play of the half was blocked.