The Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to College Park, Maryland for the final home game of the 2022 regular season. It has been four years since the last time Ohio State was in SECU Stadium, when Ohio State narrowly escaped being upset by Maryland, 52-51.
It is against that backdrop of history, when Ohio State was on the road before coming home to Ohio Stadium to take on That Team Up North, that Buckeye fans should be focused upon for this game. While Maryland has lost its last two games on the road by a combined score of 53-10, the Terrapins have enough talent at key positions to keep pace with the Buckeyes.
While the oddsmakers have Ohio State as a comfortable 27.5 point favorite, it would be wise for Ohio State fans to remember that Maryland only lost at Michigan by 7 points on Sept. 24. If the Buckeyes are thinking ahead to The Game, this could provide some anxious moments.
Below are Three Things To Watch from Maryland as the game kicks off on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET.
- The Ohio State running game vs. Maryland’s defense
I recognize that Maryland’s pass defense is very susceptible to the... well, pass, with the Terrapins giving up an average of 232 yards per game. While C.J. Stroud and his talented receivers should be able to put points on the board, I am thinking the Buckeyes are also going to look to get their running game going, espcially in the second half.
With the uncertain health status of Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson, it also leads me to believe that other players such as Dallan Hayden, Chip Trayanum, and Xavier Johnson are going to get the bulk of the carries this week. Yes, I wrote Xavier Johnson. On our latest Silver Bullets Podcast, I mentioned to my podcast partner Michael Citro that Johnson is the Buckeyes’ Swiss Army knife, capable of playing and producing at a variety of positions. While Johnson made the move to wide receiver, and has contributed there, he also was a high school running back, and demonstrated versus Indiana his talents from there.
2. The Ohio State secondary vs. Maryland’s passing game
Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa has been battling injuries ever since the Terrapins defeated Northwestern 31-24 on Oct. 22. Even so, Tagovailoa is a talented passer who is capable of putting up big yardage against his opponents, as he demonstrated in a win over Michigan State (314 yards) and a controversial loss to Purdue (315 yards).
The Ohio State secondary has been also battling injuries, which makes me believe Ronnie Hickman will need to once again serve as the stabilizing force for the Buckeyes. No matter if Tagovailoa is looking for WR Rakim Jarrett (37 receptions) or TE Corey Dyches (29 receptions), I expect Hickman to be there to make the tackle and limit the yards after the catch.
3. Last call for the reserves
If Ohio State gets out to a decent lead, I will be shocked if Ryan Day keeps his starters in for much of the second half. As Ohio State fans know, the Buckeyes are battling injuries throughout their team, and Ryan Day needs his team as close to 100% as it can possibly be for The Game. Bringing in the reserves on both sides of the ball will make sense for what lies ahead on Nov. 26.
Looking at the weather forecast for College Park, it should be in the mid-40s, but not rainy or windy. My expectation is Ohio State builds a comfortable lead at the half, then Ryan Day channels his inner Woody Hayes and focuses on burning clock with the Ohio State running game in the second half, already thinking about all of the ‘M’s that need to be blocked off with red ‘X’s when the team returns on Saturday night. I have it Ohio State 35, Maryland 14.