Well, that was fun, yeah? Ohio State, with Ryan Day as the acting head coach for the final game before Urban Meyer returns, took care of business in Arlington, Texas against TCU, 40-28. It wasn’t a pretty game, and when the Buckeyes were trailing 21-13 in the third quarter, there were certainly plenty of concerns.
However, a Parris Campbell touchdown, a Dre’Mont Jones Piesman worthy pick-six, and a K.J. Hill touchdown later, and Ohio State had a 12-point lead. The Buckeyes never looked back after the electric third quarter, striking once more in the fourth and shutting TCU’s offense down to lock up their first top-25 win of the season.
As with any win of this magnitude, and in a game that was that close for a large portion of the 60 minutes, there are plenty of things to take away, and that means there are plenty of things for us to buy and sell in this week’s Stock Market Report.
Dre’Mont Jones, DT: I think Dre’Mont Jones was the most important player of this game for Ohio State. Six tackles, two of which were for a loss, a sack, two passes batted, and of course, the biggest play of the game, his spectacular shovel pass pick-six that gave Ohio State a lead that they wouldn’t look back from.
Jones was completely unblockable all night long, and in a game where much of the talk was focused on Nick Bosa’s uh, groin, the star of the line, and the team as a whole, was Jones. He’s been excellent all season, but this just furthers the theory that Dre’Mont Jones may be the best player on this entire Buckeye line.
K.J. Hill, WR: Looking for the best receiver on the roster? Look no further than Arkansas native K.J. Hill. Often forgotten over the past few years, Hill has been a model of consistency, catching everything thrown at him, and picking up yards exactly when Ohio State needs them most.
He was clutch on several third down catches, and if it wasn’t for his sure hands, there may have been a very different result here. Hill finished with six receptions, 95 yards, and a touchdown.
Dwayne Haskins, QB: I’ve joked about it in the past, but honestly, Dwayne Haskins may make this column every single week this year. While his stats this week weren’t as gaudy as they were in the first two games of the year, Haskins was still a star in this game. And, if Dre’Mont isn’t the reason for Ohio State’s momentum shift in the third quarter, Dwayne is.
He stayed calm even when the Buckeyes were trailing 21-13, delivering a strike to Parris Campbell, and Parris did the rest, picking up 63 yards and finding the endzone to cut the deficit to two.
Facing heavy pressure all night, Dwayne stood tall in the pocket, and delivered passes right where they needed to be on his way to a 344-yard, two-score performance.
Jonathan Cooper, DE: Jonathan Cooper, filling in for Nick Bosa after he went down for the game with an “abdominal injury”, looked exactly how you’d want a former five-star defensive end to look. There was very little— to no— drop-off between the two players, as Cooper played for basically the entire second half, and did an excellent job in all facets of the game.
He helped stuff the run, he set a great edge when TCU tried to run outside, and even picked up a big sack. Obviously a long term injury for Bosa would be bad news for Ohio State, as any injury to a player of his caliber would be. However, Ohio Sate is in good hands with Cooper, and he proved that on the biggest stage tonight.
J.K. Dobbins, RB: There was a general feeling this week against TCU’s aggressive defense that J.K. Dobbins could be in for a big game, and that was proven correct all game last night. Dobbins was able to dodge over-pursuing defenders throughout the game, and came up huge in the second half.
His quick feet and elusive escapability made him the perfect fit for this game-plan, and it was really shocking to see so many handoffs going to Mike Weber rather than Dobbins, especially late in the game. Weber is a great running back, Dobbins is a great running back, but in this game, Dobbins was the great running back. Ohio State should have stuck with the hot hand.
The cornerbacks: A lot can be said about Ohio State’s defensive backfield through three games, but I think after this game, it’s safe to say that the issues are not at cornerback, but rather at safety. The four main corners, Damon Arnette, Kendall Sheffield, Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade (Shaun Wade hive stand up!) all looked very solid.
Against a great receiving group, they only allowed a couple of big plays, and were able to keep TCU’s passing game, specifically the down field passing game, contained very well. Arnette was beaten a couple of times, as were Wade and Sheffield, but the only truly big pass of the game, a 51-yard touchdown to TreVontae Hights, was the fault of safety Jahsen Wint, not a cornerback. Maybe one of these guys (Wade or Okudah) should be given a shot at that open safety slot next to Jordan Fuller.
Gimmick play calls: They mostly stopped after the first half ended, but in the first 30 minutes, Ohio State had several very questionable play-calls. The two that stand out the most roughly an hour after the game ended are the failed attempt at running the wildcat with Parris Campbell on 3rd & 1 that resulted in a false start, and the six-yard loss on a jet sweep, end-around to Campbell.
There’s no reason for Ohio State to be calling plays like this. Ohio State was bigger and stronger than TCU, and they needed to be playing like it. That means running the ball up the middle or off tackle, and throwing the ball down the field. If TCU is bringing pressure, throw a bubble screen or a slant. But there’s no reason for Ohio State to be calling trick plays against a team like TCU. Stick to what works. The offense needs to stop getting too cute, before it really comes back to bite them.
Sell: Bill Davis. Bill Davis is a bad football coach, and being friends with Urban Meyer should not save his job. The linebackers have gotten significantly worse since he was hired, and there’s no reason for him to be on the staff next week, let alone next season.
Buy: Ohio State is the only playoff contender in the Big Ten. It was a really, really bad day for the Big Ten. Pretty much every Big Ten West team managed to lose to a G5 team; the most important of which was probably Wisconsin falling to BYU. While the East still has strong teams like Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State, Ohio State is on a different level. There’s no excuse for Ohio State not running the table in the conference this year.
Sell: Michael Jordan’s snaps. I think Michael Jordan is an excellent guard, and probably the most talented lineman on Ohio State’s team. I also think that moving him to center, for the first time in his career, two weeks before the season was a bad idea. His snaps were low and slow all night long, and there’s no reason a program like Ohio State should be struggling with something like that. Move Mike back to his natural position, and find a true center to take over in the middle.