ARLINGTON, Texas — Soon after Ohio State stepped off the plane Friday afternoon, one of the seven Texans on the team put the moment into perspective.
“I just heard J.K. Dobbins say he likes the smell of the air down here,” acting head coach Ryan Day said of the sophomore running back. “He was smiling, so he was happy about that. It’s good for those guys to get back home, see some family here and get a chance to play in front of them.”
It hasn’t been all that long. They were here nine months ago to beat Southern California in the Cotton Bowl. They’re back to take on TCU in the same venue, AT&T Stadium, on Saturday night.
It will be the Buckeyes’ first true test of the season after a 2-0 start with lopsided wins over Oregon State and Rutgers. It also will be Day’s first major game as acting coach, a role he will relinquish next week when Urban Meyer returns from a three-game suspension.
“You come to Ohio State to play in games like this,” Day said when asked if there were any butterflies for him. “Players come here to play (in them) and coaches come here to coach in games like this … and we’re excited about it.”
Much of Ohio State’s performance will rely on the play of starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., who has had the hottest beginning to a career for any Ohio State quarterback.
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“He’s had a great week of practice,” Day said. “So we expect him to play the way he played the first two games.”
With a travel roster of 74 players, several scholarship freshmen did not make the trip. Day confirmed one of those left behind was running back Brian Snead, but he offered no reason for it.
Snead had risen to No. 3 on the depth chart behind Dobbins and Mike Weber. Freshman running back Master Teague III, who also played in the firsts two games, is on hand.