Anyone who thought Ohio State was going to Waltz Across Texas in its first difficult game of the season should have heeded the words of the famous Texan crooner Buddy Holly: That’ll Be The Day. TCU gave the Buckeyes everything they could handle, but OSU persevered for a coming-of-age win. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein

Offense (4)

There were times when it looked more like a velvet Elvis than actual art, but these things will happen when the other team can actually tackle, pressure the quarterback and defend the pass. Still, except for some drops, the Buckeyes mainly purred, largely because Dwayne Haskins can throw every single pass.

Defense (4)

Again, there were some unsightly gashes, but they can be attributed to the step up in competition — like facing major-league pitching after having seen nothing but rookie-league cheese. The Buckeyes gave up 511 yards but tilted the game with Kid Bosa’s strip sack and Dre’Mont Jones’ pick-six.

Special teams (3)

It is tempting to say OSU was lucky that TCU was flagged for an illegal pass on the would-be touchdown return of a kickoff, but Justin Hilliard forced the bad throw by roughing the, uh, passer. Drue Chrisman didn’t finish with a great punting average, but he pinned the Frogs deep a couple of times.

Coaching (4)

Ryan Day’s internship went about as well as it could, right? Not only did Ohio State emerge unscathed despite stubbing a toe while doing the Texas two-step, but the Buckeyes — and Day — learned a little about themselves the way they emerged from the fire sweaty and nervous but otherwise intact.

Fun (4)

It was a weird, complicated night. Ohio State fans dominated the seating arrangements at Jerry Jones’ paean to opulence, but for a while it looked as if the largest cheers would be reserved for the pregame as fans watched Joe Burrow lead LSU’s comeback. In the end, the invading Nation left happy.

Opponent (4)

Shawn Robinson’s guile at quarterback and Gary Patterson’s defensive schemes had OSU searching for answers until a four-minute stretch of the third quarter. Then, in the blink of an eye, TCU letdowns on defense, offense and special teams were enough to leave the Frogs gigged and open to dissection.

Officiating (2)

Maybe the officials would like to see receivers and defensive backs armed with swords so they could duel against each other as they scrap like twin brothers running down the field. The interference calls have become as predictable as a coin toss. All in all, lots of misses, a few hits.

rstein@dispatch.com

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