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Meyer’s back, but No. 4 Buckeyes managed fine without him

September 21, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, watching on TV at home while serving a suspension, got so worked up during the TCU game last week that he had to leave the room when the Buckeyes struggled.

“I only watched the good plays,” Meyer said this week. “I couldn’t take it. My daughter kept me updated.”

Ohio State came from behind to beat then-No. 15 TCU in Dallas, giving Ryan Day a 3-0 record as acting head coach. Meyer will get to watch his No. 4 Buckeyes (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) from the sideline again Saturday when they host Tulane. He’s now done with his university-imposed three-game suspension for mismanaging former assistant Zach Smith, who was accused of domestic violence and other bad behavior.

Meyer said this week he was “devastated” to be away from the players. Meyer said the worst was training camp, which began two days after the university put him on paid leave and launched the investigation.

“That’s when you build your team, and that’s why I stay in a hotel with them,” he said. “It’s very difficult.”

Meyer said he was impressed with how his team operated without him, especially against TCU.

Players say Meyer will be ready to go Saturday.

“I expect a really hyped-up coach, a lot of excitement, a lot of energy, a lot of juice,” quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. predicted.

Here are some other things to look for in Saturday’s game:

BIG UNDERDOGS

The Green Wave (1-2) come in as five-touchdown underdogs, so it should be a happy homecoming for Meyer and another tune-up game for the Buckeyes before playing Penn State at Happy Valley next week.

“Really big team,” Tulane coach Willie Fritz said of Ohio State. “They’ve got great speed on both sides of the ball, they don’t make a lot of mistakes. They’re really sound.”

BOSA HURTING

Ohio State’s All-American defensive end Nick Bosa will be out after suffering a groin/abdominal injury early in the third quarter against TCU. Meyer said Thursday Bosa has had surgery on a “core muscle” and will be out indefinitely.

DRE’MONT DIGGING IN

Not having to face one of the most elite defensive players in the nation might be an advantage for the Green Wave, right? Maybe, but they better take note of where tackle Dre’Mont Jones is lining up.

Jones was named Big Ten defensive player of the week for his performance against TCU. He intercepted a shovel pass and rumbled for a 28-yard touchdown that was part of a third-quarter scoring flurry that put Ohio State ahead to stay. He also had two tackles for losses, including a sack.

PROTECTING BANKS

The play of Tulane’s senior quarterback Jonathan Banks has been encouraging, despite the team’s inability to protect him and score late in their two losses this season.

Banks has completed 48 percent of his passes for 651 yards and five touchdowns. He leads AAC in passing yards per completion, averaging 17.6 yards. He has two or more touchdown passes three of his last five games.

The bad news: Banks was sacked six times by UAB and threw an interception, the first in his last 98 passing attempts. One of the fumbles was scooped and turned into a touchdown by the Blazers.

FIRST TIME IN THE ’SHOE

Fritz said he and his players are excited about their first visit to storied Ohio Stadium.

“I’m sure our guys will enjoy the atmosphere,” he said. “Heck, I’m looking forward to it. It’s a big venue, you always hear a lot about playing in the Horseshoe. You’ve got to soak it in for a little bit, and then it’s over and you play between the white lines.”

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