Arlington, Texas • Fourth-ranked Ohio State overcame the adversity of Urban Meyer’s absence and its toughest test so far — and is still undefeated for the return of the suspended coach.
Trailing No. 15 TCU and with star defender Nick Bosa in the locker room because of an apparent left groin injury, the Buckeyes scored three touchdowns in a four-minute span in third quarter — including a 28-yard interception return by big defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones — in a 40-28 victory Saturday night.
“Once we found (the momentum), we had to hold on to it,” Jones said. “We had to rely on each other.”
Parris Campbell turned a short pass from Dwayne Haskins Jr. into a 63-yard touchdown to start the quick scoring spurt.
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 right 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.
“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.”
Meyer completed his three-game suspension for mismanaging domestic-abuse allegations and other misconduct by former assistant Zach Smith. Meyer was able to take part in practice the last two weeks, but will be back on the sideline when the Buckeyes play their final non-conference game at home next Saturday.
“We’re just so excited to get coach back,” Day said.
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 10-0 lead after All-America defensive end Bosa’s strip-sack in the end zone, a fumble that was recovered by Davon Hamilton for a touchdown.
But Bosa left the game after rushing 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.
“Usually in early games, big games, you lose them more than you win them,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Can’t give them (20) points. Outside of that I thought our team played a really good football game. Ohio State’s a good football, got to give them a lot of credit.”
No. 1 Alabama 62, Mississippi 7 • In Oxford, Miss., Tua Tagovailoa threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns, Jerry Jeudy caught two scoring passes and Alabama buried Mississippi. Alabama (3-0) gave up a touchdown on the first play of the Southeastern Conference opener, but responded by scoring the next 62 points. The Tide’s offense had 516 total yards and was so effective that Tagovailoa’s evening was over by midway through the second quarter.
No. 2 Clemson 38, Georgia Southern 7 • In Clemson, S.C., Travis Etienne ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers (3-0) and Trevor Lawrence threw for 194 yards, including a 57-yard score to fellow freshman Justyn Ross in their first meeting with Georgia Southern (2-1) of the Sun Belt Conference. The crowd of 79,844 had sun and a mild breeze early in the day before bands of gray clouds arrived and the wind picked up before halftime as Hurricane Florence approached. No. 3 Georgia 49, Middle Tennessee 7 • In Athens, Ga., Jake Fromm threw three touchdown passes and Elijah Holyfield ran for 100 yards, each playing only the first half for Georgia. Georgia (3-0) led the Blue Raiders (1-2) 42-7 at halftime. No. 5 Oklahoma 37, Iowa State 27 • In Ames, Iowa, Kyler Murray threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns and Oklahoma held off Iowa State in the Big 12 opener for both teams. Marquise Brown had 191 yards receiving and a TD to help the Sooners (3-0), a year removed from a stunning home loss to the Cyclones, extend the nation’s longest road winning streak to 17 games. No. 8 Notre Dame 22, Vanderbilt 17 • In South Bend, Ind., Jalen Elliott knocked the ball loose from Vanderbilt receiver Kalija Lipscomb with 1:07 remaining to give Notre Dame a fourth-down stop and the Fighting Irish held on for a victory over the Commodores. Tony Jones Jr. finished with 118 yards on 17 carries for Notre Dame (3-0). No. 11 Penn State 63, Kent State 10 • In State College, Pa., Trace McSorley accounted for five touchdowns and broke Penn State’s record for rushing scores by a quarterback. He has 24 rushing TDs, two more than Daryll Clark’s previous mark. No. 16 Mississippi State 56, Louisiana-Lafayette 10 • In Starkville, Miss., Nick Fitzgerald accounted for 350 yards of offense and six touchdowns to lead Mississippi State over Louisiana-Lafayette. Fitzgerald ran for 107 yards and four touchdowns, and also completed 14 of 21 passes 243 yards and two touchdowns.
No. 19 Michigan 45, SMU 20 • In Ann Arbor, Mich., Shea Patterson threw three touchdown passes to Donovan Peoples-Jones, helping Michigan pull away to beat SMU.
The Wolverines (2-1) didn’t score until Ben Mason converted a fourth down with a 1-yard TD run midway through the second quarter.
No. 21 Miami 49, Toledo 24 • In Toledo, Ohio, Malik Rosier threw for two touchdowns and ran for three more to help Miami beat Toledo. The Hurricanes (2-1) never trailed and led 21-0 late in the first half, but Toledo (1-1) twice pulled within a touchdown. No. 24 Oklahoma State 44, No. 17 Boise State 21 • See Page C6