DraftKings Sportsbook odds: Ohio State -27
The elements were no issue for Ohio State this time around, as the Buckeyes thoroughly dispatched Indiana in the snow by a score of 56-14. C.J. Stroud bounced back from a career-low performance against the wind at Northwestern to throw for nearly 300 yards with five touchdowns against the Hoosiers, while OSU ran the ball for 340 yards on 7.9 yards per carry as Ryan Day continues to try and get the run game fixed. Defensively, Ohio State held Indiana to just 269 total yards while racking up four sacks and a whopping 10 tackles for loss.
At this point, the biggest roadblock facing the Buckeyes’ offense — outside of play-calling on 3rd-and-short scenarios, which Day admits has been bad — is the injury bug. Seemingly every week Ohio State is without a handful of important guys, and that was no different on Saturday. TreVeyon Henderson was in a boot on the sideline during the game, and by the end of the fourth quarter Miyan Williams joined him on the sideline. This was in addition to the Buckeyes still being without star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba as well as the somewhat surprising absence of Dawand Jones, though Josh Fryar filled his role admirably.
Defensively it was more of the same for Ohio State, as Jim Knowles continues to earn his paycheck week in and week out. It’s seemingly a new star on that side of the ball each game, and this time it was Lathan Ransom. The safety racked up nine total tackles to finish second on the team, while adding 1.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup. It was also a big game for Jack Sawyer, who made his presence felt with 1.5 sacks, including a huge sack of Dexter Williams to close out the first half. It was also nice to see Knowles able to switch up his defense on the fly, as Indiana replaced the pocket-passing Connor Bazelak for the dual-threat Williams early in the contest.
Next up, Ohio State will take on the Terrapins of Maryland. It has been quite the up-and-down season for Mike Locksley’s group, sitting at 6-4 on the season overall after dropping each of their last two games. It was especially ugly for Maryland this weekend, failing to score against Penn State in a 30-0 loss. The Terrapins managed just 134 yards of total offense, with Taulia Tagovailoa passing for a skinny 74 yards on 22 attempts as Maryland rushed for 1.6 yards per carry as a team. On the flip side, the Nittany Lions put up over 400 yards of total offense.
Maryland’s offense was supposed to be its strong suit this season, but things have not gone according to plan — especially lately. Their offense ranks 69th in the country scoring 28.3 points per game, but they have put up only 10 points combined over their last two contests against Wisconsin and Penn State. The Terrapins have gotten some strong individual performances, with Tagovailoa putting together a good year on paper with over 2,100 yards to go along 14 touchdowns to only six interceptions, and Roman Hemby has provided a surprising spark on the ground with his 815 yards rushing and seven TDs, but overall the offense has been largely inconsistent.
The Terps have been about middle of the pack defensively in the Big Ten, sitting at 8th in the conference allowing 28.6 points per game. Defensive backs Beau Brade and Dante Trader Jr. have led the way on that side of the ball for Maryland, ranking first and second respectively on the team in total tackles while each hauling in a pair of interceptions. Up front, defensive lineman Greg China-Rose has led the way in the sack department with four. Overall, the Terrpains rank 9th in the Big Ten in sacks (21), 11th in interceptions (7), and have not done a great job of getting off the field on 3rd down, sitting 10th in the conference (41.4%) in that department.
It’s not a surprise to see the big spread between these two teams, but Maryland can potentially do some things to give Ohio State a bit of a challenge. If they can protect Tagavailoa a little bit in this game — which is a big ‘if’ going up against this OSU defensive line given the Terps allowed seven sacks against Penn State — then maybe a guy like Rakim Jarrett and these other receivers can test the Buckeyes’ secondary. It is unclear who all will be available for Ohio State from an injury standpoint on Saturday, but regardless we are staring down the barrel of 11-0 OSU vs. 11-0 TTUN come Nov. 26.
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