ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Big defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones returned an interception thrown right at him 28 yards for one of No. 4 Ohio State’s three touchdowns in a four-minute span of the third quarter in a 40-28 victory over No. 15 TCU on Saturday night.
The Buckeyes (3-0), in their last game without suspended coach Urban Meyer on the sideline, finally went ahead to stay with that spurt that started when Dwayne Haskins Jr. threw a short pass that Parris Campbell turned into a 63-yard touchdown.
“Once we found (the momentum), we had to hold on to it,” Jones said.
Ohio State still trailed 21-19 after a 2-point try failed, but TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson was under pressure on the ensuing third down when he tried to shovel a pass to his running back — but instead it went to Jones, the 286-pound tackle who rumbled to the end zone. The next drive for the Horned Frogs (2-1) ended with a blocked punt, and two plays later Haskins threw a 24-yard TD to K.J. Hill.
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“Getting through this game, the way it went down, we knew there were going be ebbs and flows in a game like this,” acting coach Ryan Day said. “We knew that were going to be times when we’d hit adversity and we’d have to stick together at times like that. I thought we did and we really turned the momentum there in the third quarter.”
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 10-0 lead after All-America defensive end Nick Bosa’s strip-sack in the end zone, a fumble that was recovered by Davon Hamilton for a touchdown.
But Bosa left the game with an apparent left groin injury when rushing after Robinson early in the third quarter. Bosa could be seen pointing at his groin area when sitting on the turf after the play, and went to the locker room with Ohio State down.
By time Bosa got back on the sideline in street clothes late in the third quarter, the Buckeyes were leading for good.
Darius Anderson had two rushing TDs for TCU, including a school record 93-yard sprint that was the longest play from scrimmage ever against the Buckeyes. Anderson added a 16-yard score when he dived to the left pylon to make it 21-13 before Ohio State’s quick scoring spurt.
The game was played at the NFL home of the Dallas Cowboys, about 20 miles from the TCU campus — and where they Buckeyes won the national championship four seasons ago. That was after Ohio State jumped past Big 12 co-champions Baylor and TCU into the fourth and final playoff spot for the inaugural College Football Playoff.
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Ohio State: The Buckeyes went undefeated without Meyer, who completed his three-game suspension for mismanaging domestic-abuse allegations and other misconduct by former assistant Zach Smith. “We’re just so excited to get coach back,” Day said. Ohio State and Haskins, the sophomore quarterback starting his third game, passed their biggest tests. Haskins (24 of 38 for 344 yards and two TDs) was able to withstand the pressure by defensive end Ben Banogu and the Frogs.
TCU: The Horned Frogs overcame some early mistakes, including a holding call that wiped out a touchdown run before a missed field. Robinson was involved in all three turnovers (two interceptions and the fumble on the sack), but the sophomore quarterback was solid going 24-of-40 for 308 yards and a touchdown. “What he’s doing, how he’s doing … we had a shovel pass call, probably our fault,” coach Gary Patterson said. “As far as looking at everything else, I thought he handled it well.”
Ohio State’s victory over TCU looks more impressive than lopsided wins Saturday by No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Georgia, so there is always the possibility of the Buckeyes gaining a spot. Regardless, after a couple of easy wins, they proved themselves worthy of their high early ranking. TCU likely will slip a few spots, but is a Top 25 team going into their conference schedule.
Ohio State is back home Saturday to play Tulane in its final game outside of Big Ten play.
TCU opens Big 12 play at Texas next Saturday.
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