The Buckeyes appeared dominant a week ago, until things slowed down in the second half. Oddly enough, that’s when things started to not go TCU’s way either. The difference is, Ohio State was far more consistent, and they didn’t let up that much in the second half. TCU didn’t have a choice, but they can’t afford that tonight.
Quarterback Xavier Garcia-Allen has got the legs working, but that’s because halfback Frost Carlson has been phenomenal for Ohio State and has gone unsung in the league. While XGA is developing in the pocket, he hasn’t looked bad. Receivers Speedy Johnson, Lawrence Lexington, and Willow Hayes all made plays a week ago. The underappreciated aspect of this offense has been tight end Jacob Flores, who will be able to help set the edge for Carlson and XGA.
Alright, now for the Ohio State defense, which has been the real talk. They forced four turnovers a week ago, and linebacker Scottie James was behind two of them. Linebacker Martavis Marriott will be in position to limit the running game. And that leaves safety Kevin Brackett to lead the secondary. A secondary that consists of corners Tom Pence and Juan Cantu. Good luck throwing the ball into that mess.
The Horned Frogs are going to be in a tight spot. Quarterback James Kovach threw three picks a week ago, and this secondary is an upgrade over that one. That’s not a good thing. Kovach has got to be careful today, and he can be helped by receivers Jared Tetonis, Horace Lynch, and Bill Volk. Oh, and halfback Koda Adok putting up 100 yards tonight on the ground would be great.
The TCU defense, perhaps surprisingly, actually looked really good. Defensive ends Jabril Jackson and Marlon Davis will create havoc in the rushing and passing game. The linebackers Aaron Davis and Xavier Colon are no slouches either. And then the secondary will make plays too. Corner Dale Higgenbottom and safety Stokely Ferdinand can make just as many plays.
HB Frost Carlson vs. LB Aaron Davis
This matchup is pivotal. If Ohio State plans on leaning on their running game, then that means Carlson will have to make major plays. For that to work, Carlson will have to run through Davis. Otherwise, Davis will be having a nice game, essentially crippling the Ohio State defense by limiting Carlson.
The Buckeye offense wins their games by one method. The running game, by way of XGA and Carlson. But, this TCU defense will be ready to attack Ohio State. Unfortunately, if they’re put in short fields, they’ll be in a tough predicament. And, they can’t afford that. Expect a defensive battle, but only one team will be left standing. The one with the more consistent offense.
OHIO STATE 24, TCU 21