TCU Football’s Saturday night loss to Ohio State was characterized by sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson’s erratic decision making.
Robinson stunted some flashes of brilliance, including a 51-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver TreVontae Hights, but showed his lack of on-field experience with two costly interceptions and a fumble.
“I have to be better,” Robinson said. “There were two plays that I just can’t do.”
In addition to Robinson’s errors, punter Adam Nunez dropped the ball and gave the Buckeyes excellent field position inside TCU’s 25-yard line late in the third quarter. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins found receiver K.J. Hill just two plays later to put the Buckeyes up by 12.
Head Coach Gary Patterson said the inexperience of his football team was a major factor in the turnover margin.
“We made mistakes,” Patterson said. “We have 37 new guys on this team. They fought their tails off. You have to correct and make the plays you’re supposed to make.”
Robinson’s miscues were the difference maker in the ballgame, accounting for 14 points in a game decided by 12. Nunez’s muffed punt led to seven more Buckeye points.
“We gave them 21 points,” Patterson said. “We did it to ourselves. You can’t beat yourself.”
With the Buckeyes leading by three in the first quarter, Robinson was sacked on his own eight-yard line by star defensive end Nick Bosa. The ball was recovered in the end zone by Ohio State for a touchdown, extending their lead to 10.
From that point, the Horned Frogs outscored Ohio State 21–9. TCU running back Darius Anderson and the offense gained momentum with the running game as all three TCU touchdowns came on the ground.
Anderson’s 93-yard touchdown burst was the longest rushing play in school history and was the largest play from scrimmage Ohio State has allowed in program history.
Anderson finished the night with 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Ohio State had difficulty matching TCU’s offensive tempo, leading to the scoring disparity.
With 5:54 remaining in the third quarter, Robinson rolled out to the left and attempted a shovel pass. The pass went right into the chest of Buckeye defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones who returned it for a 28-yard pick-six, putting the Buckeyes up 26–21.
Robinson called the interception a “horrible read.”
“The main thing with me is execution,” Robinson said. “We did better than SMU, but we definitely fell short and had a lot of plays we didn’t execute on. I need to keep my feet calm in the pocket and trust what I see. I still have a long way to go.”
The Horned Frogs never led again. An interception from Robinson on a very underthrown ball in the final minutes would seal the victory for Ohio State.
“One of the things that coach preaches to us is that things are going to go good and things are going to go bad,” said TCU senior defensive end Ben Banogu. “It’s how we act from that.”
Despite the inconsistencies, Robinson did not crumble under the bright lights of AT&T Stadium. He finished the night with 308 passing yards on 60 percent passing.
“I’m pretty impressed with Shawn,” Banogu said. “Things are going to go wrong and things are going to go right, but at the end of the day he just has to know who he is and he has to keep playing.”
Saturday’s primetime matchup was only Robinson’s fourth start. Patterson said he expects Robinson to continue to grow and is confident in a successful maturation process.
“In this kind of environment, what he’s doing and how he’s doing it, he’s a good football player,” Patterson said, “There are things that happened to him today that he’s not going to make the same mistakes again.”
Robinson will have an opportunity to prove he learned his lesson Saturday, Sept. 22 against the Texas Longhorns in Austin, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.