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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.

Tate Martell throws first career TD as Ohio State is routing Rutgers

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Dwayne Haskins has thrown for three touchdowns and freshman Tate Martell has thrown his first career touchdown as Ohio State is on cruise control against Rutgers in Columbus this afternoon. Ohio State is leading the Scarlet Knights in the Big Ten opener for each school, 35-0 at halftime.

Rutgers has traditionally struggled mightily when taking to the road against the top teams around the Big Ten, and today is proving to be no exception to that rule. Rutgers started the game by fumbling on the third play of the opening drive, which led to an Ohio State touchdown (Haskins to Johnnie Dixon). Rutgers then punted on their next five possessions, with four three-and-outs in that stretch. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s offense has only had to punt twice. Ohio State has out-gained Rutgers 310-49 and has 19 first downs to just three for Rutgers.

J.K. Dobbins has the only rushing touchdown for the Buckeyes so far. Dobbins has rushed for a game-high 73 yards too. Mike Weber has added 33 yards in the running game. Both should have an early rest in the second half, if they are used at all.

Martell’s first career touchdown pass was to Terry McLaurin, a 51-yard play.

Go ahead and Sharpie Ohio State in for a 2-0 start, including 1-0 in Big Ten play.

Alabama tops preseason Super 16 poll from FWAA and National Football Foundation

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Another day, another hour, and another top spot in a preseason poll for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Alabama was the most popular pick for the top spot in the preseason Super 16 Poll from the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. Alabama received 36 first-place votes to stay comfortably ahead of No. 2 Clemson. The Tigers received 14 first-place votes and Georgia and Michigan State each picked up one first-place vote.

The voters certainly are leaning toward Wisconsin as the top Big Ten team. The Badgers ranked fourth overall, two spots ahead of Ohio State. If the playoff were determined by this preseason poll, Alabama would play Wisconsin and Clemson would face Georgia. Washington would be the first team out. The Huskies coming in at No. 5 likely means a good number of voters believe Washington will open the season with a win against Auburn in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game as well, and that would certainly create a playoff-or-bust season for Washington out of the gates.

One team that has received some good offseason buzz that failed to crack the Super 16 was West Virginia. A trendy pick in the Big 12 for some, the Mountaineers were the first team out of this particular preseason poll.

No Group of Five programs made the Super 16 cut, although UCF, Boise State, and San Diego State all received at least one point in the voting.

Here is how the preseason Super 16 poll breaks down:

  1. Alabama (36 first-place votes)
  2. Clemson (14)
  3. Georgia
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Washington
  6. Ohio State
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Miami
  9. Auburn
  10. Penn State
  11. Michigan State (1)
  12. Notre Dame
  13. Michigan
  14. Stanford
  15. USC
  16. TCU

In the interest of full disclosure, three College Football Talk contributors are voting members in the Super 16 Poll; myself, Bryan Fischer and Zach Barnett). The poll is made up of members of the FWAA and College Football Hall of Famers with an emphasis on geographic balance. New polls will be updated every Monday this season, with the exception of the post-Week 1 poll, which will be released on Tuesday, September 4.