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Ohio State wins an improbable comeback over Maryland in OT

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The game was weird and crazy from beginning to end.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s game between No. 10 Ohio State and Maryland was a cavalcade of craziness from the very beginning. However, in the end, Ohio State found a way to secure an overtime victory, 52-51, thanks to a Herculean, record-setting effort by Dwayne Haskins.

In overtime, Maryland elected to either win or lose the game on a two-point conversion. Quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome threw a leading pass to an open receiver in the end zone, however, the pass wasn’t a tight spiral and the receiver tried to dive for the ball rather than sliding into the spot. The pass bounced incomplete—leading to the Buckeyes’ escaping out of the Old Line State with a victory.

The Buckeye quarterback broke the single-season OSU passing mark of 3,330 yards set by Joe Germaine in 1998. Additionally, Haskins snapped J.T. Barrett’s single-season OSU record of 35 touchdowns with three scores against the Terrapins. When the final whistle blew in College Park, Md., Haskins went 28-38 for 405 yards, three TDs and an interception.

On the ground, J.K. Dobbins had a masterful performance, as Mike Weber was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Dobbins was handed the ball 37 times, and hit a career-high 203 yards. He also tallied a touchdown, too. Ohio State is now 16-0 in games where either Dobbins or Weber eclipses the 100-yard rushing mark.

Two receivers broke the 100-yard mark in receiving yards: Terry McLaurin and Johnny Dixon. Dixon led the team in receptions with six, beating out McLaurin’s four. However, McLaurin led the team in reception yards at 118, while Dixon was close behind with the second-most at 102.

Ohio State outgained Maryland 688-535, but committed three turnovers to UMD’s one. However, a squandered chance in the first quarter by Maryland was one of the difference makers down the stretch.

Anthony McFarland, the Terps’ RB, had massive first quarter carries for touchdowns. At the end of the first half, he had 231 yards on the ground. He would go onto rush for 298 yards, the most ever surrendered by an Urban Meyer defense at Ohio State.

In just 59 seconds of game action, we had a touchdown and two turnovers. Maryland received the ball first and started on their own 20-yard line. After a one-yard loss by running back Anthony McFarland Jr., the rusher got the rock again on second down and found the near-side of the field completely desolate of defenders. He ended up sprinting 81 yards to the house for the game’s opening score.

Urban Meyer appeared irate on the sideline after his defense gave up the score. If he was mad over that, he was about to be five shades of red after the kickoff. UMD kicker Joseph Petrino shanked the kick 44 yards to the OSU21, and the ball was bouncing its way out of bounds. However, Terrapin cornerback Tino Ellis sprinted down the field and recovered the ball as the Buckeye receiving unit was waiting for the ball to go out of play. A disaster start for Meyer and the visiting team looked to be getting worse by the play.

And then Maryland made a mistake of their own.

On a trick play — a reverse jet sweep that had intentions of becoming a pass — the Terps coughed up the ball. Receiver Jeshaun Jones stumbled as he tried to make up yards, and put the ball on the turf; Buckeye linebacker Malik Harrison was able to get on top of the ball, sparing the potential for another (early) UMD score.

Finally with the ball, the Bucks made quick work down the field. Running back J.K. Dobbins had three straight carries, and put OSU on the UMD36. Even though the Scarlet and Gray worked this drive for 10 plays, they could only move 52 yards — settling for a 36-yard field goal by Blake Haubeil.

The 7-3 score would be short lived, as on the first play of Maryland’s new drive, McFarland took it to the house — on a run almost identical to his earlier score. This rush went 75 yards, and by the time the quarter ended, he had 153 yards on the ground.

Again, Ohio State would end a drive with 10 plays. However, unlike the first drive that yielded points, this drive didn’t; Dobbins was stopped on a fourth-and-1 from the UMD24. Maryland got the ball back, and kept up the momentum with a 52-yard completion from Tyrrell Pigrome to Dontay Demus. They nearly collected a third touchdown for the game on third down from the OSU19, as Jeshaun Jones was wide open in the corner of the end zone, but Pigrome’s throw sailed out of bounds. Petrino came out and made a 36-yarder, giving the home team a surprising 17-3 lead, which would be the score after the first quarter.

At least we had some comical stuff happening in the first quarter, as noted by this OSU penalty on their failed fourth-down conversion drive.

The second quarter got a little bit better for the Buckeyes.

Maryland closed their first drive of the quarter with a missed 49-yard field; it had the distance, but went wide left. On the first play after the missed kick, Haskins found Terry McLaurin wide open down the far side line for a 68-yard score. McLaurin roasted RaVon Davis in coverage en route to the score. (Note: Davis would have other miscuses throughout the remainder of the half). That completion moved Haskins into the No. 1 spot in single-season passing yards, unseating Joe Germaine’s 3,330-yard season of 1998.

With the Buckeyes back in the game 17-10, the defense needed to hold its own. It did not do that.

Tayon Fleet-Davis and McFarland picked up 10-plus yard carries, with McFarland securing 10 yards on a fourth-and-3 attempt. Javon Leake also entered the fray for the UMD backfield, and made an impact. The 6-foot sophomore had excess blocking to his left on a 16-yard scamper into the end zone — leaving him virtually untouched.

On the next possession, Ohio State’s game of catch-up continued once again. And once again, they found a way to chip away at the Terrapins’ lead. Thanks to a 39-yard connection with McLaurin, and a 20-yard rush from Dobbins, the Bucks were on the doorstep of the end zone. Dobbins, who took a risk by dangling the ball over the plain of the end zone on a jump, would lead a second-half charge by the offense — scoring their second TD of the quarter.

After Maryland’s next drive stalled out near midfield, the Buckeyes would, essentially, have the last possession of the half. Three Haskins’ completions to Parris Campbell, Johnny Dixon and Binjimen Victor set the Scarlet and Gray up at the UMD28. However, on the completion to Victor, Terrapin defender Smith was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after launching his mouth guard after protesting to the referee about Victor committing offensive pass interference.

On the next play, Smith was called again for a penalty; this time, it was a pass interference on an incomplete pass to McLaurin. OSU would get the ball on the UMD7, and were poised to tie the game up — that is, until disaster struck.

As Dobbins rushed up the middle, he fumbled the ball as he was tripped up from the side. The pigskin bounced forward and landed into the hands of UMD defenders for a touchback. A squandered opportunity at halftime kept the Terps in the lead.

Below are some stats from the first half. Of note, McFarland’s 231 first half yards were the most ever yards surrendered by an Urban Meyer OSU team.

Starting with the ball in the third quarter, the Bucks had the chance to tie things up early. Instead, they quickly found themselves in a 14-point hole again. On the second play of the half, Haskins rifled a pass that was deflected into the hands of Davis. Those first half miscues were atoned, as the interception was returned for a 37-yard score.

Like clockwork, once they had the ball back, the Buckeyes carved into the deficit. In less than three minutes, the offense moved down the field and got seven points back. With the help of a 15-yard facemask penalty on UMD’s Kerian Howard, and a third down defensive pass interference call on Rayshad Lewis, Haskins and the offense were in Terp territory. Once they made it to the UMD40, the Bucks converted three-straight plays for first downs. On the fourth play, Haskins deked a tackler and dove across the end zone plain for the TD.

Maryland only compiled 19 yards of offense in the third frame, but still clung to a 31-24 lead, thanks in large part to two OSU turnovers.

OSU started the fourth quarter with the ball (on their own 44) following a Maryland punt. With a sense of urgency, the Buckeyes were a team on a mission. Three straight carries by Dobbins got them down to the UMD27. Then, Haskins, who was rushed out of the pocket, fired down the sideline to tight end Luke Farrell.

Farrell hauled in the pass at the six. Now with first-and-goal, the Buckeyes used two rushes with Dobbins — getting to the UMD1. On third down, Tate Martell was brought in at QB, but didn’t get to snap a play, as Isaiah Prince was called for false start. Martell went back to the sideline, as Haskins came back in for the third-and-goal attempt from the six. Somehow, Haskins’ throw to KJ Hill, who had a man all over him, was caught in the end zone. It all nearly unraveled, but the Buckeyes tied the game at 31-31 with 12:21 remaining in regulation.

Maryland then pulled together a drive of their own that included everything OSU fans feared: big rush from McFarland, a trick play, and a touchdown. Before McFarland left the game with an apparent shoulder injury, he broke off a 27-yard rush in the waxing moments of the drive. On a fourth-and-8 from the OSU46, the Terps faked a punt. Punter Wade Lees hit Tavion Jacobs on what appeared to be a screen; Jacobs would end up going 12 yards for the first down.

Three plays later, Pigrome hit Jones with a 27-yard over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone. Jones juggled the ball with a Buckeye all over him, before establishing possession (and one foot in bounds) for the score.

After a four minute drive that lead to a Haskins one-yard score, the Terps got the ball back with 3:35 left and started on their own 39. In one play, they were on the OSU1, thanks to a 60-yard haul by Darryl Jones. A pass interference call on Damon Arnette kept the ball in UMD’s possession, as Pigrome launched an uncatchable ball on third down. With UMD doing run plays that were getting stopped, Meyer was forced to burn all three timeouts for the Buckeyes. On third-and-goal from the one, McFarland checked back into the game and got the carry. He was wrapped up, but fumbled the ball reaching out for the goal line. Somehow, a teammate was there to scoop the ball in the end zone. Touchdown Maryland—and they had a 45-38 lead with 1:32.

Demario McCall took fielded the ensuing kickoff at the eight, and took it 42 yards to midfield. Two completions to Campbell got the Buckeyes down to the UMD20 with 1:02 remaining. Ohio State then got down to the seven after a Haskins rush (attributed with a facemask on UMD). Now with 54 seconds and a first-and-goal, Haskins threw an incompletion across the middle to Hill. After a defensive hold on Davis, Haskins hit Victor for a three-yard TD to tie the game at 45-45.

Forty seconds remained in regulation, and UMD returned the ball to their own 32. Pigrome made quick work again, finding Jacobs for a 30-yard completion down the OSU38. However, two sacks would end regulation, courtesy of Chase Young and Dre’Mont Jones.

That would send us to overtime.

Ohio State lost the coin toss, but got the ball first after Maryland deferred. After a nine-yard rush from Dobbins, second and third down materialed zero yards. On fourth-and-1, Haskins aired it out to the flat to Rashod Berry, who trucked his way 11 yards down to the UMD5. On the next play, a 15-yard facemask penalty from Pridgeon was followed up with a pass interference call on Maryland. Back on the five-yard line, Haskins took the ball up the middle for the game-leading score. The extra point connected, and OSU had their first lead at 52-45.

In the bottom half of the first overtime, UMD needed just one play to score. McFarland took a jet sweep 25 yards for touchdown on the near side. But hold the phone, the play went under review and was overturned; McFarland was spotted down at the one. Matt Canada, the Terps head coach, decided to go for two. The two-point conversion fell incomplete from Pigrome.

Ohio State survived, 52-51.

Up next is for Ohio State is Michigan. The Game is slated for noon ET in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 24. FOX will broadcast the contest.