Ohio State football: As schedule toughens, Buckeyes focus on little things

Tim May
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Binjimen Victor (9) and running back Mike Weber (25) congratulate wide receiver Johnnie Dixon (1) on scoring a touchdown during the NCAA football game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Sept. 8, 2018. Ohio State won 52-3. [Photo by Adam Cairns]

Now for a real challenge: No. 4 Ohio State goes on the road for the first this season when it plays No. 15 Texas Christian on Saturday night in Arlington, Texas, and Ryan Day said the key for the Buckeyes is to keep doing what they’ve done best.

“We’re going to be who we are, do what we are good at doing,” Ohio State’s acting head coach said Monday. “When you start focusing on other things — like it being a big game — that’s when you get distracted. If you overthink it, you’re not putting your best foot forward.”

Reinforcing that notion again in the week’s buildup will be head coach Urban Meyer, who on Saturday will serve the final game of a three-game suspension for his handling of domestic-abuse allegations by a former assistant coach.

Like last week before OSU’s 52-3 win over Rutgers, Meyer will be involved with practice and game-planning. His message to the staff and players this week, Day said, essentially was for the Buckeyes to not think they’ve arrived because of lopsided wins in the first two games.

“We've got to make corrections and got to be critical of ourselves moving forward,” Day said was the order by Meyer, who wants his team to concentrate on correcting small mistakes that can get a team beat in a big game.

TCU, in the 18th year under coach Gary Patterson, is expected to present just such a challenge. The Horned Frogs, who also enjoyed one-sided wins the first two weeks, are aggressive on both sides of the ball, feature good speed at the skill spots and a dual-threat quarterback in Shawn Robinson who is more dynamic than the QBs the Buckeyes faced the first two games.

But the Buckeyes will be playing in AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, where they beat Southern California nine months ago in the Cotton Bowl. TCU and OSU are getting $5 million apiece to play at the “neutral” site.

“Certainly there will be a neutral setting and there will be some familiarity to it for us,” OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “But really, it’s a home game for them. It’s 30 minutes down the road” from TCU’s campus in Fort Worth).

Ohio State on Monday also announced that Buckeyes’ next home, against Tulane on Sept. 22, will kick off at 3:30 p.m. It will be televised on the Big Ten Network.


Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Football podcast: