Tempo was the operative word at AT&T Stadium on Saturday night in primetime as No. 15 TCU gave No. 4 Ohio State everything it could handle and took a surprising 14-13 lead into halftime of a fun back-and-forth game down in the Metroplex.
The Horned Frogs looked dangerous from the get-go, marching right down the field as part of a 69 yard opening drive that unfolded at lightning speed before the Buckeyes could even get going. However, a holding penalty took away a touchdown on the drive and then the team wound up missing a field goal attempt.
Ohio State converted on their initial field goal attempt but it was star defensive end Nick Bosa who forced the first touchdown of the game, bursting out of his stance to strip quarterback Shawn Robinson — with Davon Hamilton falling on the ball in the end zone for the score. It was a break for the Buckeyes that the play wasn’t looked at closer as replays appeared to show at least one player touched the ball while out-of-bounds, which would have made the play a safety.
Those five points were notable considering the Horned Frogs answered right back with another lightning-quick drive down the field. Robinson, who finished the half with 134 yards, made several impressive downfield throws and set up tailback Sewo Olonilua (30 yards rushing), who sliced his way through to the end zone for a score. TCU was not done however, responding later in second quarter with an incredible 93 yard Darius Anderson run that featured the speedster breaking a tackle and bursting down the sidelines to set off a raucous celebration among the purple-clad fans in Arlington.
Anderson’s sprint to the end zone was the longest run from scrimmage in Horned Frogs history — and doubled as the longest play the Buckeyes had ever given up. Considering the history of both programs, that’s makes the run even more incredible.
Remember, this is the first time Ohio State has really been tested by a good team after two early blowouts of bad teams to begin the season. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins wasn’t quite as sharp as he was in the first two weeks but still finished with 148 yards passing. He was hurt a bit by drops from his receivers while running backs Mike Weber (32 yards) and J.K. Dobbins (65 yards for the Texas native) kept the chains moving for the most part.
Garry Patterson almost always gives ranked teams a game and that looks like the case once again. Both sides sport quality defenses but the skill position talent for both teams on offense has really been the story so far in this one. The second half awaits as both teams find themselves locked into a good one with serious College Football Playoff implications.