Ohio State (4-1) comes into their game against Maryland (3-1) as 31-point favorites, which seems like a lot. The Terps have road wins over Texas and Minnesota, and have done that with two different quarterbacks. Getting a third road win this week, however, will be the tallest order of the season for Maryland.
How do we here see the game going? Like this.
The buildup continues for the Buckeyes as we creep into October and more meaningful football games. Maryland’s rushing attack will be a handful as they average 233 yards per game coming into the contest and are led by Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison III. This will be a huge test for the Ohio State linebacking unit as they will be tested with misdirection, so we will see if the likes of Jerome Baker, Chris Worley and Dante Booker play with more discipline.
Third-string Max Bortenschlager provides an occasional run threat but will not be effective in the passing game due to accuracy issues. Another multiple interception game awaits the defense as Bortenschlager would struggle to hit the broad side of the Berlin Wall if it were still standing.
As for the Buckeyes, they will likely exploit the passing defense of Maryland who currently ranks 94th nationally in passing yards per game. Look for the Buckeyes to attack the Terps horizontally, playing under the zones and steering clear of middle linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. I expect Barrett to throw for 250 yards with K.J. Hill due for a big day in the stat column.
Ohio State overcomes a slow start and some big plays by the Terrapins to pull away in the second half.
Ohio State 52, Maryland 20
For the second week in a row, OSU comes in as basically a 30-point favorite against an opponent who shouldn’t be a member of the Big Ten. I don’t know when Ohio State/Maryland is going to stop feeling like a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game instead of a conference matchup, but I’m not there yet.
This looked like a potentially dangerous game after week one, but has been downgraded from DEFCON 2 to DEFCON 4. The Terps are down to their third-string QB, who is easy to remember since my son is also named Bortenschlager.
The real star of the offense is RB Ty Johnson, who averaged 9.1 yards per carry last season, but has slumped all the way down to 8.9 yards per this fall. Might be time to bench him, imo.
Johnson has put up 132, 124, 25, and 130 yards in their four games. I bet you can guess which one they lost. If you can stop Johnson, you can stop Maryland, and the Buckeyes should be able to at least contain him.
Ohio State 42, Maryland 17
Ever since week one, Maryland has been in the back of my mind as the type of team who could beat the Buckeyes. They aren’t great by any means, but they have some really talented skill position players. After watching Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill go down, my concerns have gone away for the most part. The Terrapins have a very talented duo at running back in Ty Johnson (411 yards, 8.93 ypc) and Lorenzo Harrison III (201 yards, 4.37 ypc) and they can make the Buckeyes hurt if the linebackers struggle with gap assignment.
Offensively, the Terrapins come at you a lot like UNLV did a few weeks ago. Pound the ball over and over with running backs who have big-play abilities and get the ball to their playmaking WR, who is DJ Moore. The junior receiver has 30 catches, 403 yards, and 5 TDs on the season. Defensively, the Terrapins will have major problems stopping the Buckeye running attack. The Longhorns didn’t have a chance to establish their ground game, but Chris Warren III did average over 5 yards per carry in the contest. Then against UCF, the Golden Knights ran for 250 yards. As good as Maryland is offensively, I think their defense will be a major liability against the Buckeyes.
In the end, I think the Buckeyes will roll and continue to build on what they have been doing offensively and the defensive line will continue to dominate.
Ohio State 49, Maryland 13
I keep hearing that Maryland is getting better, and that’s probably true. I also keep hearing that I should be a skeptic about the improvement the Buckeyes are showing because of who they have played. I don ‘t buy into that. Yeah, the competition isn’t the very best, but it isn’t total chump-change either.
On defense the OSU defensive backfield is getting better. On offense the receivers are beginning to look more and more competent and confident. I’m still not completely sold on the linebackers yet, but I think the Buckeyes are slowly improving their way toward being a very good team this year.
Even if the linebackers are just average this week it will be too much for Maryland. OSU’s ground game will produce, and the passing game is likely to see a fair share of man coverage, and they seem to like that. The offensive line is doing a better job of protecting Barrett. This one is all Buckeyes.
Ohio State 54, Maryland 17
Maryland has one of the best football player names in the country in QB Max Bortenschlager. Unfortunately, cool names don’t win games. The third-string QB will face a talent level he’s not seen this season, and that will put a lot of pressure on him. Maryland does tend to cause a little heartburn though when they face the Buckeyes with a backup QB.
The defensive backfield will shine this week. The true test will be their ability to stay disciplined and shut down a big play RB in Ty Johnson. If the Silver Bullets can keep him under wraps, it will be a big day.
The offense will continue to improve, and J.T. Barret’s confidence will continue to grow. Having a 1-1A combo of Dobbins & Weber, and that #2 option of McCall, will be Barrett’s best friend. The pressure will lighten for him, and the air attack will benefit tremendously. I do see this game being closer than a lot of people do right now though. Vegas has made the Buckeyes a 30-point favorite. I think it’s closer, more in the 10-17 point range.
Ohio State 38, Maryland 21
Maryland put up a dominant performance against both Texas and Minnesota and they are ranked 24th in the country in rush offense. They look better this year than they did a year ago, so I am expecting to see them make some big plays and put up a fight.
Ohio State needs to be strong defensively. The Terrapins’ Ty Johnson, DJ Moore, and Lorenzo Harrison III are playmakers for the Maryland offense. The Buckeye secondary has struggled early on, and I think this will be a good test for them.
Maryland has improved and we will see that, but I don’t think his game is a matter of them being so much better than they have been in the past. I don’t think that there is any way Ohio State will be weak enough for them to really have a chance at winning this game. In every match-up against Maryland, the Buckeyes have scored at least 49 points. This game won’t be a blowout like last year, and Maryland will look good, but Ohio State will just be better.
Ohio State 52, Maryland 24
As the lone staff member to correctly pick Ohio State’s score from last week, I believe that entitles me to some type of prize. I know — I want to be in the music video for Spectacular Failure’s October release, “Love Tracked Mud In My House”.
Maryland is an upgrade over Army, UNLV, and Rutgers. While Ohio State has dominated Maryland the previous three outings, D.J. Durkin is certainly improving the Terrapins. Urban Meyer was effusive in his praise for the job Durkin has done in his press conference on October 2nd.
D.J. Moore could cause problems for the Ohio State secondary. I am wondering if Denzel Ward is going to be tasked with covering him. Maryland was able to get its running game going at Minnesota and that figures to be the same game plan against the Buckeyes. Ohio State wins this, but I would be surprised if the Buckeyes are blowing out Maryland in the first half.
I like Ohio State to pull away in the fourth quarter, with the superior depth and team speed being too much for Maryland to handle.
Ohio State 42, Maryland 24
Last week I felt pretty good about the Buckeyes shutting out Rutgers. I don’t feel so good about the same thing happening this week against Maryland. Terps third-string quarterback Max Bortenschlager has played not-terribly in two extended outings this season, so he may be able to sustain a drive or two. The best news for Maryland is that he needs to be respected enough to where he can’t be ignored by the defense.
Don’t get me wrong, the Buckeye defense is going to focus on stopping the run first-and-foremost, but Bortenschlager should be able to make them pay a time or two with some play action. There is also the simple fact that the Buckeye linebackers are going to be tested in this one big time, as will the OSU defensive line. Missing Dre’Mont Jones here should not be ignored. Jalyn Holmes will be playing out of position, which then also shortens the rotation at defensive end. The OSU defensive line is deep enough to accommodate, but it’s not nothing.
Right now, the Ohio State passing game is looking better than it has looked in any of the past three seasons. That’s not exactly saying much, but again, it’s not nothing. Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins should be in heavy rotation, which will also free up the passing game. The Buckeye offense is clicking right now, and should continue making noise on Saturday. Yes, I know it doesn’t mean anything until they do it against Penn State. This isn’t Penn State.
Ohio State 52, Maryland 17