Ohio State's Struggles During Its Win Over TCU Reveal Areas of Needed Improvement

By Kevin Harrish on September 16, 2018 at 1:40 am
Ohio State's win revealed the team is far from perfect.
© Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State went on the road – though technically a neutral site – notched a statement victory over a top-15 team, stayed undefeated, and proved it can hang with top competition.

It's cause for celebration from the Buckeye faithful, but still, it was far from pretty from start to finish.

The Buckeyes walked away with the win, and it was fun to watch, but this game revealed Ohio State still has a lot to work on.

Defensive Woes

TCU is without a shred of doubt the most talented team Ohio State has faced this year offensively, but the defense looked completely out of sorts at times, resulting in huge chunk plays for the Horned Frogs.

The Buckeyes allowed a 93-yard run and catches of 51, 42 and 34 yards and gave up a total of 511 yards. A defense doesn't typically give up those kind of numbers or big plays and come away with a victory.

The silver lining is that the Buckeyes did force three turnovers, and didn't turn the ball over themselves.

Struggling to Score

As unbelievable as it sounds looking at the final score, the Buckeyes had problems putting the ball in the end zone on Saturday night – at least offensively.

It took Ohio State offense 38 minutes of game time to finally find the end zone despite reaching the TCU side of the field six times in the first half. Those six drives resulted in three punts, two field goals and a missed field goal.

The defense was able to pick up the slack, scoring two touchdowns by itself and keeping the game close until the offense began to find pay dirt, but that was far from an ideal performance from the offense for at least two third of the game.

Third Down

Ohio State entered the game as the top team in the country at converting third downs, getting a first down at a NCAA-best 79 percent, but struggled to pick them up all game on Saturday night.

The Buckeyes opened the game 0-for-3 on third down, and finished just 4-for-12. TCU was a talented and aggressive defense going against a young quarterback making his first-ever start against a ranked opponent, but I'm sure Ohio State would have liked to be better on the game's most important down.

Low Snaps

It never cost the Buckeyes greatly, but center Michael Jordan struggled to get the ball to Dwayne Haskins all game, delivering so many low snaps it was quite honestly impossible to keep count.

Though it never led to a turnover or really even a broken play, it noticeably affected the rhythm of the offense on multiple occasions and forced a young quarterback to handle one more thing while making his first big-time start.

Special Teams

Ohio State's specialists are usually reliable and a strength of the team, but that wasn't totally the case on Saturday night. There was nothing disastrous, like a bad snap, a blocked kick or a botched hold, but they weren't as effective as you'd like to see.

Sean Nuernberger hit field goals from 20 and 30 yards away, but missed a 38-yard kick that would have but the Buckeyes up at halftime. And though he did down five punts inside the 20-yard line, Drue Chrisman did not have his best day punting, averaging just 37.2 yards per punt, leaving two short towards the end of the game.

None of it proved too costly to the Buckeyes, but it wasn't the performance Ohio State has come to expect.

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