Ohio State football has rolled two overmatched opponents by a combined score of 129-34.
They will face much stronger competition this Saturday in Arlington, Texas when they face No. 15 TCU.
The Horned Frogs are 2-0, and have similarly dominated their opponents, beating Southern 55-7 and SMU 42-12.
Their defense, with six returning starters has been especially stifling. They are paced by Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Ben Banogu, who has a sack, a forced fumble and two quarterback hurries this season.
There's also Corey Bethley, whose three sacks lead the team and are already more than he had all of last season, during an All-American Freshman campaign.
Ty Summers was a high school quarterback before his college coaches moved him to linebacker. Sound familiar? Well, Summer's measurements (6'2", 235 pounds), as well as his biography are similar to former Buckeye Darron Lee (6'1", 232 pounds). One slight difference? In coach Gary Patterson's 4-2-5 scheme, there are typically only two linebackers on the field at a time, so Summers is now listed as a defensive end.
And, indeed, no discussion of the Horned Frogs defense would be complete without mentioning Patterson.
The former defensive coordinator was elevated to head coach in 2000, but has continued to put his stamp on that side of the ball.
They are aggressive, especially on first down.
Depending on who is describing their system, you will see it said that Patterson divides his defense into either two (front six/secondary) or three (front six/strong side of the secondary/weak side of the secondary) parts. In each case, the goal is the same: limit the chance that a mistake in one area of the field will result in a set of cascading errors elsewhere, limit the knowledge any one player has to have to do their job, and maximize confusion for opposing offenses.
"They have a hybrid linebacker who has the ability to play coverage, but then also get in the box and get his nose dirty," said Ohio State acting coach Ryan Day. "The matchups are difficult, because coach Patterson recruits to that defense."
As for TCU's offense, receiver KaVonte Turpin has been explosive. He has 8 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. (He also has a punt return touchdown, which marked the school record fifth special teams score of his career.)
The man throwing him the ball is sophomore Shawn Robinson, who has completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 336 yards and 4 touchdowns. He has thrown a single pick, and that only came after his first 70 career passing attempts. That beats out some guy named Andy Dalton (66 attempts) for the best, or at least the least turnover prone, start to a quarterback's career under Patterson.
Robinson is also a shifty runner, so much so that he paces the team in rushing yards.
As a result, Ohio State asked Tate Martell to do a little double duty this week. Not only was he preparing to be OSU's second-string signal caller, but he also put in a bit of scout team work.
Buckeye defensive back Jeffrey Okudah, who faced Robinson in high school, called him "a stockier Lamar Jackson kind of player."
- TCU has two Ohio natives on their roster, neither is a significant contributor, although Andrew David (Massillon) has handled some of the kickoff duties this year. Ryan Martin (Hudson) is a junior wide receiver.
- Ohio State last played the Horned Frogs in 1973, but they still have one player who has faced the Buckeyes. Linebacker Jawuan Johnson recorded a season-high five tackles against the Scarlet and Gray as a redshirt freshman at Northern Illinois in 2015.
- The Horned Frogs have three coaches who played in the NFL. On that list is Jeremy Modkins, who played with the Browns in 2006.
- TCU is 44-17 in road and neutral site games since 2009.
- They have not allowed a second-half point yet this season.
- They are 19-1 the last four seasons when winning the time of possession battle.
- Kind of a weird number: Both Ohio State and TCU have lost one fumble this season, but the Buckeyes have put the ball on the ground twice, while the Horned Frogs have done so seven times.
- Dating back to last season, TCU has played three straight games in which they have scored a punt return TD.
- TCU is 5-5 in its last 10 games against top-five opponents with only two of those games occurring at home, and they are 5-1 against Big Ten times with Patterson at the helm.
- The Horned Frogs will have two honorary captains this week. One is NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson. The other is Jack Spikes, who is being recognized not only for being an All-American fullback, but also for scoring a touchdown against the Buckeyes in TCU's lone win in this series, an 18-14 victory in 1957. (They are 1-4-1 overall.)