Prior to each Ohio State game this year, LGHL is going to bring you some “bold predictions”. This will include somewhere around five predictions for the game, whether it be passing yards, points scored, sacks, or a number of other things that we could see happening during the game.
We’d love to hear your bold predictions. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your bold predictions in the comments.
TreVeyon Henderson will break the Ohio State single game rushing record
Yes, it’ll happen. That’s because Maryland has the fifth-best scoring offense and fifth-worst scoring defense in the Big Ten. What does that mean? The Terps can put up points, but can’t stop opposing offenses (though their rushing defense is decent, allowing just 118.4 yards per game). And as we’ve seen from earlier this season, Ohio State’s defense has had trouble stopping offenses itself.
It’s a perfect situation for Henderson to break Tre Sermon’s record: a game in which he’ll stay in the lineup because things will be closer longer, and will likely hear his name called well into the fourth quarter. 314 yards? It just might happen.
Ohio State’s secondary will bring home another pick-six
The question is... who?
Freshman defensive back Cameron Martinez had the Buckeyes’ first pick-six of the season against Tulsa. Sophomore safety Ronnie Hickman had his against Akron. True freshman cornerback Denzel Burke, Hickman’s teammate in the secondary, did it last week against Rutgers. Yes, that’s an interception returned for a touchdown in each of the last three games for Ohio State.
Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa has thrown six picks this season, though that’s somewhat misleading, since five came against Iowa last weekend. Regardless, the junior quarterback has got to be rattled after that performance, and he’ll be facing a hungry secondary that’s getting stronger each week.
Jeremy Ruckert will haul in a career high in receptions
So maybe this will never happen, but the senior tight end tied his career high last week against Rutgers with four receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown. This week, maybe we’ll see a little more action with quarterback C.J. Stroud getting more comfortable with his tight end.
It’s a long shot, but as Brett mentioned in this week’s preview, Ruckert needs just three more touchdowns to tie Jake Stoneburner’s career record for receiving touchdowns by a tight end. The tight end position really hasn’t been a big part of Ohio State’s offense for a while, so it’s particularly exciting when we can see them worked in the rotation.
Ohio State and Maryland will combine for 100+ points
The over/under for this afternoon is set at 71 points, but that feels low for two Big Ten teams that have had somewhat mediocre defensive performances through the non-conference slate, but offenses which have put up big numbers.
Ohio State is averaging 45 points per game — the best in the Big Ten. Maryland, meanwhile, is putting up a very respectable 32.6 points per outing. No, that’s not close to 100, but Ohio State has put up 50+ in its last two games versus Rutgers and Akron. Maryland took a huge step back last week, with just 14 points against Iowa, but has shown a much more potent scoring offense at other points this season.
The Buckeyes and Terps have combined for at least 70 points in five of their six historical matchups, and dropped a collective 103 in the pair’s 2018 matchup in College Park, which Ohio State won 52-51 in overtime. It just might happen again.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, we’ll see a game with less than 10 combined points
Okay, this might just be a pipedream, thinking back to Iowa’s 6-4 victory over Penn State in 2004. Yes, it was the most boring game ever, but the final score still makes me giggle.
The Nittany Lions are traveling to Iowa for one of the first top-10 matchups in the Big Ten in recent memory that does not involve Ohio State. And while I love the idea of a low-scoring game, Iowa and Penn State are certainly not the same teams of yore. In fact, one could even reasonably argue that both have offenses, with each team putting up more than 30 points per game.
However, while offenses are bigger, they have the two best scoring defenses in the Big Ten, with the Hawkeyes allowing a mere 11.6 points per game and Penn State 12. And it might just be the low-scoring game of the season — though it’ll have some competition from Michigan State vs. Rutgers, Michigan vs. Nebraska and Wisconsin vs. Illinois.
...Wow, some teams in the Big Ten really hate offense.