ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — No more acting for Ryan Day after more than a passing performance. Urban Meyer is back full time as Ohio State’s coach.
Day can return his complete attention to being offensive coordinator and position coach for young quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. after the pair got the fourth-ranked Buckeyes off to a 3-0 start without Meyer on the sideline.
“Is there an A-plus-plus,” Haskins responded when asked what grade he would give Day as the acting head coach during Meyer’s three-game suspension that ended after a 40-28 win over TCU.
On a Saturday when seven Big Ten teams lost to unranked teams, the Buckeyes got through their biggest test so far against the Horned Frogs, who dropped two spots to 17th in the AP Top 25 poll Sunday.
“Just trying to get the quarterbacks better, trying to help the offense as best we can. And then, you know, when coach isn’t here, keeping the thing going,” Day said. “Our goal was to get 3-0 so that when coach got back, he had a team that was 3-0. That goal is accomplished, but we have a lot ahead of us.”
The Buckeyes will be in Ohio Stadium for the third time this season, the first with Meyer, when they play Tulane next Saturday.
That should be another easy win for Ohio State — like Oregon State and its conference opener against Rutgers before TCU — leading into a Sept. 29 showdown at No. 10 Penn State that likely will have huge implications on which Big Ten team, if any, gets a shot at being in the College Football Playoff.
“Coach Day did a good job of keeping the system going,” senior running back Mike Weber said. “Everything we do on a daily basis didn’t change because (Meyer) was gone. … I think we did a good job of keeping our heads forward and not worrying about the situation. When he came back in practice, it was like he never left. He did a good job of keeping our heads right for the long run and now he’s back, so we get to rolling.”
Meyer had been able to take part in practice the last two weeks, after being restricted from the team through its preseason camp. But Meyer had to miss three games as part of his penalty from Ohio State for mismanaging domestic abuse allegations and other misconduct by former assistant Zach Smith. The day before he holds his first weekly news conference with reporters, he gave a one-one-one interview with ESPN .
The Buckeyes were down 21-13 against TCU until three touchdowns in a four-minute span of the third quarter after their All-America defensive end Nick Bosa left the game with an apparent left groin issue. His status was uncertain, but the Buckeyes have some extra time before playing the Nittany Lions.
Haskins had a pair of touchdown passes in that quick spurt — with running back Parris Campbell taking a short pass 63 yards to the end zone and K.J. Hill grabbing a 24-yard TD. In between those scores, 286-pound defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones returned an interception 28 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and the Buckeyes blocked a punt.
Bosa had already had an impact, with a strip-sack of TCU’s Shawn Robinson in the first quarter. The fumble was recovered in the end zone by Davon Hamilton for Ohio State’s first touchdown.
“I do feel a little bit of relief right now after that game. But I got so much help from these players and from the coaching staff,” Day said. “A little bit of relief, but still got a long way to go here.”