Outscoring its opponents 129-34 while amassing exactly 1,300 yards of total offense, acting head coach Ryan Day has a lot to be excited about as his 2-0 Buckeyes head to Arlington, Texas this weekend to take on No. 14 TCU in a prime time showdown.
Of course, beating the Horned Frogs will pose a much stiffer test than the Buckeyes have faced so far this season which means reducing unforced errors will be paramount if Day's squad hopes to advance to the winner's circle.
Speaking with the assembled media Monday, Day noted how the margin for error shrinks against better competition and how that message isn't lost on the staff and players.
Q. Do you worry at all them getting too confident going into a game like this?
COACH RYAN DAY: I think that, you know, when the games get tighter, every play matters even more. And so the mistakes are still there. We talked about that in the meeting yesterday. The mistakes are still there.
You know, we can't -- like for instance, the interception in the red zone two games ago, or, you know, a play with false starting or sack on third down; those plays in a big game are going to show up even more. They are still there and we have to correct them and that's the sign of a mature group is you can win a big game, kind of like we have last two games but then come to work and be critical of yourself and take the coaching so that we make the corrections to keep building.
Day noted the forced throw from Dwayne Haskins in the red zone resulting in an interception against Oregon State and while the pass pro has yielded just two sacks through the first two games, left tackle Thayer Munford gave up a pretty weak one last weekend with an assist from running back J.K. Dobbins.
The Horned Frogs defensive front will certainly create more pressure than Ohio State has seen thus far and it will be up to offensive line and running backs to keep a clean pocket.
The Buckeye defense also had its share of mental and execution errors against Oregon State leading to a host of chunk plays though Greg Schiano's group showed improvement last weekend. Eliminating big plays will again be a chief focus this weekend in Arlington especially with stud receiver and return man KeVontae Turpin lurking along with dual-threat quarterback Shawn Robinson and others.
Just as important, the Buckeyes are once again racking up penalties at an alarming rate, something we've become accustomed to during Urban Meyer's run in Columbus.
|YEAR||PENALTIES PER GAME||NATL RANK||PENALTY YARDS PER GAME||NATL RANK|
Ohio State tallied six penalties for 50 yards in the season opener and backed that up with a ridiculous 11 flags for 120 yards against the Scarlet Knights bringing their two-game total to 17 for 170. The poor start has Ohio State back in familiar territory among the nation's leaders in penalties.
The offensive line has already committed four false starts, one by left guard Malcolm Pridgeon who also has two holding flags to date and faces a tough test Saturday as TCU's Cory Bethley will likely line up across from him early and often.
On defense, cornerback Jeffrey Okudah has a trio of flags so far and defensive end Chase Young racked up two 15-yarders last weekend though Schiano is rightfully bullish on that not being a long-term problem.
The yellow litter on the field has yet to hurt Ohio State but it would be wise to cut down on the free plays and yardage handed to opponents through the first two games if it wants to keep the margin for error reasonable against a good team on the road.