There are some games in which the word ‘upset alert’ is thrown around that make you really scratch your head looking back on what people saw to make them think that. This Maryland game, with many describing as a trap game and a game to look out for, really showed to be anything but. Yes, Maryland looked impressive against Texas and handled business against Minnesota, but they were not at all ready for the Buckeyes.
In a day in which the Oklahoma Sooners and Baker Mayfield went down at home, the Buckeyes must be feeling great about their recent form and their hopes at a playoff spot come January. With yet another blowout in the books, it’s starting to feel like the reserves have been getting just as much playing time as the starters—which is a really good sign for the future.
Maryland has always felt like a slightly upgraded Rutgers in the Big Ten pecking order and today they showed that well they’re a slightly upgraded Rutgers. It wasn’t as easy a win as it was against the Scarlet Knights but it certainly was easy. The Big Ten East sure looks like it will be coming down to Ohio State and Penn State for the second year and all eyes will be on Columbus for the Oct. 28 showdown.
Blue chip stocks
Binjimen Victor, WR: Another game and another dazzling touchdown catch by Binjimen Victor. Victor seems to always have exceedingly good foot placement and is a master at the toe drag before going out of bounds. At 6-foot-4, he doesn’t have a problem getting over cornerbacks and as we continuously see this by and large pays off for him. Despite his relatively low yardage and catch total (55 yards on 4 catches), no one is surprised when he comes up with it in the end zone in often spectacular fashion.
Parris Campbell, H-Back: Coming into this year I really wasn’t sure how the transition of Campbell from WR to the hybrid role we saw Curtis Samuel at last year and the answer has been not too hard. After burning UNLV on a spectacular touchdown, Campbell continues to show what he has. A 24-yard run late in the second quarter saw him blow by defenders and spring electrifyingly fast up the right side of the field and into the end zone. He also was one of the few bright spots of the special teams; once again, he seemed on the verge of taking a kickoff to the end zone and it is only a matter of time before he finally breaks through on one.
J.T. Barrett, QB: Barrett continues to impress this season after suffering long standing questions on his accuracy and role as a starting quarterback. Despite those doubts, Barrett has had a solid season and further solidified that against Maryland. Going 20/31 with 3 TDs, including some sharp looking first half bullets, Barrett has seemingly done better as this season has gone on. Perhaps it’s been the pressure from Haskins chomping at the bit, or perhaps last year wasn’t indicative of how good he is at quarterback for Ohio State.
J.K. Dobbins, RB: Another game and another show by the true freshman running back. Seemingly always shifting between the tackles and creating lanes for himself, he had another stellar day finishing with 96 yards on 13 carries—and with a well-deserved touchdown. The only reason Dobbins isn’t higher is because of a nasty fumble when after several Maryland players hit him the ball popped up and out. Head Coach Urban Meyer is not a fan, nor is anyone, of fumbles but after being taken out for a series in lieu of Mike Weber he was right back at the spot he has earned for himself.
Baron Browning, ILB: The Ohio State linebacker core seems to find new ones seemingly every week, with Tuf Borland already proven to be a solid linebacker this year, it was Browning’s turn to turn some heads. The true freshman had a stand-out day with 6 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. With great quickness and a big frame adept at run-stopping, Browning will undoubtedly hear his name called more in the rotation. In fact, with him and Borland both to be around at OSU for years to come this could turn into one of the best LB rotations in the country.
Special Teams. It was not a solid game for one of Meyer’s favorite unit, special teams. The most glaring deficiency came with the kick return for a touchdown from Maryland’s Ty Johnson. Outside of that there was a missed field goal, a botched extra point attempt, a blocked field goal, and yet another kickoff out of bounds. With so much going wrong for them this game hopefully they get a chance back at the drawing board to figure out what when wrong and how they can fix it before they really need to be relied on. Luckily against Maryland it wasn’t especially important, but against teams like Penn State and Michigan, special team mistakes, as we saw last year, can be the difference.
BUY: The receivers. After a lot of questioning and a lot of dropped balls it seems like ‘Zone 6’ is finally up to the task. There seemed to be many less dropped balls and much more solid route reading and position this week than previously. Granted, it’s the Maryland defense, but playing well against a solid B1G Ten team should inspire confidence in the unit. If they can continue their high form and they’re at times incredible catches look out for them to continue to be more of a factor.
BUY: The Defense. Once again, the vaunted silver bullets have stepped up to the task and shown that they are not to be messed with. After a very rocky start to the season, not allowing Maryland to get over 50 yards until the fourth quarter is an incredible stat. Holding them to 66 yards for the game in total in an absolutely dominating performance is what everyone thought this unit was capable of heading into the season. The fact that Maryland completed just three passes the entire game is indicative of how well they have been playing.