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Ryan Day’s first staff decision removes interim tag for Brian Hartline

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Ryan Day may have to wait for one more game to really be Ohio State’s head coach, but the successor to soon-to-be-retired Urban Meyer is already working to put together his coaching staff in Columbus. On Saturday, Day’s first official staff decision was made with the removing of an interim tag for wide receivers coach Brian Hartline. Hartline was officially elevated to being the permanent wide receivers coach for Ohio State moving forward.

“Brian is a terrific young coach and mentor to our players and I am thrilled he is on our staff permanently now,” Day said in a released statement. “Brian was displaying outstanding leadership qualities when he was a quality control coach, and his efforts coaching the wide receivers this season are a huge reason we are Big Ten champions and headed to the Rose Bowl.”

Hartline joined the Ohio State coaching staff in 2017 as a quality control coach with the wide receivers. He was named interim wide receivers coach following the dismissal of former receivers coach Zach Smith this summer.

Ohio State wide receivers played a huge role for the Buckeyes this season en route to a Big Ten championship run that will take the team out west to play in the Rose Bowl next month. Ohio State receivers caught 291 passes for 4,211 yards and 43 touchdowns, fueling a run to being a Heisman Trophy finalist for quarterback Dwayne Haskins. All are new school records for receivers, which were led by Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin and K.J. Hill. Freshman Chris Olave proved ready to step up in a big spot too with a breakout performance in the regular season finale against Michigan to clinch the Big Ten East Division.

Time will tell if Day feels a need to make any further staff changes once the season is complete and the Buckeyes officially move into the post-Meyer era under Day’s leadership.

Ohio State has late first-half breakdown but leads Michigan at halftime, 24-19

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Ohio State had a 21-6 lead in the final minute of the first half. Then, just a couple of plays later, it was a two-point game. But before the end of the half was over, Ohio State padded their lead in a wild final minute of the first half and the Buckeyes have a 24-19 lead on the Wolverines at the break.

Dwayne Haskins has thrown three touchdowns in the half, including two to freshman Chris Olave and things were looking quite rosy for the Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium Saturday afternoon. But a late touchdown drive by Michigan on a pass from Shea Patterson to Nico Collins was quickly followed by a special teams disaster on a fair catch that gave Michigan another quick possession. A quick touchdown and a failed two-point attempt cut the Ohio State lead to 21-19, but Haskins and company quickly moved down the field to get into position for a field goal after being held out of the end zone.

After the Ohio State defense forced a three-and-out to open the game, the Buckeyes offense got the first points of the game on their first offensive series. Dwayne Haskins got the drive started with a nine-yard run, picked up a first down two plays later with a 16-yard pass to Parris Campbell and ended the drive a few plays later with a 24-yard pass to Chris Olave, who had a clear path to the end zone on the left side of the field. Ohio State became the third team this season to score any points on their first offensive series against the Wolverines, joining Notre Dame and Northwestern.

Michigan managed to cut into the lead but failed to get into the end zone. A dropped pass for what would have been a touchdown by Zach Gentry left Michigan to settle for a field goal from the Ohio State 13-yard line, and a chance to convert a short fourth down at the Ohio State 42-yard line was thwarted by having to burn a timeout for too many men on the field and followed up by a false start penalty to force Michigan to punt. Ohio State capitalized on that opportunity by going 80 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 14-6. Once again, Olave was the receiver catching the football for the score.

Haskins has thrown three touchdowns in the game so far, with his third going to a wide open Johnnie Dixon on a 31-yard pass later in the second quarter. Late in the firts half, Michigan needed to get something to be optimistic about and they certainly did with a fantastic effort by Collins for a much-needed touchdown, which was followe dby a special teams mistake by Ohio State on the ensuing kickoff.

Patterson quickly completed a touchdown pass to Chris Evans but Patterson was taken down for a loss on the two-point conversion attempt.

Ohio State gets the ball to start the second half. The winner of this game wins the Big Ten East Division and advances to the Big Ten championship game to face Northwestern next week in Indianapolis. A spot in the College Football Playoff also is potentially on the line as well, perhaps more so for Michigan than Ohio State.

Late touchdown gives Ohio State 7-3 lead in defensive battle with Michigan State

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You want defense and punting? Ohio State and Michigan State have you covered up in East Lansing. The Buckeyes and Spartans are in a battle for second place in the Big Ten East Division and points appear to be at a premium this afternoon in Big Ten play. At halftime in Spartan Stadium, Ohio State is leading Michigan State 7-0 thanks to a late touchdown drive capped by a short touchdown pass from Dwayne Haskins to Parris Campbell form the one-yard line.

The Big Ten’s leading rushing defense of Michigan State has not allowed Ohio State to get their running game going. J.K. Dobbins had just 11 rushing yards with five minutes to play in the first half, and that was nullified by Haskins being taken down for a loss of 11 yards in the half. Haskins now is up to 23 yards. Michigan State’s running game has fared only marginally better with a combined team rushing total of 10 yards. Connor Heyward had zero rushing yards in the first half.

In need of a spark, Michigan State has switched quarterbacks as well with Rocky Lombardi taking over for Lewerke late in the first half.

Michigan fans are likely paying close attention to this result, as it will impact the division-clinching scenarios for the Wolverines. A win by Michigan State could mean Michigan can build a two-game cushion on Ohio State in the Big Ten standings with a win against Rutgers later today. A win by the Buckeyes will leave the possibility of a regular season finale to determine the Big Ten East crown on the table.

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.