Having completed the non-conference schedule, including a nail-biter last-second win over Notre Dame to close things out, Ohio State resumes Big Ten play this coming Saturday — having already defeated Indiana in the season opener — at home against Maryland after getting a week off. The Terrapins are a perfect 5-0 to begin the year, winning every game on their schedule by more than two scores as they come off a 44-17 win over the Hoosiers. The two undefeated B1G sides face-off at noon on FOX.
All lines courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Spread: Ohio State -19
The last time we saw Ohio State, they were scoring a virtually walk-off touchdown against Notre Dame to escape South Bend with a 17-14 win. Kyle McCord had his ups and downs in the game, but he was nails on that final drive, converting a 3rd-and-10, a 4th-and-7 and a 3rd-and-19 en rout to the game-winning score — a 1-yard TD run by Chip Trayanum. Emeka Egbuka was the star of the show through the air, catching seven passes for 96 yards, and TreVeyon Henderson had a big touchdown run of 61 yards to open up the second half. The Buckeyes had 366 yards of offense against a Notre Dame team that currently ranks seventh nationally in total defense.
Defensively, it was an uncharacteristically poor game from Ohio State’s linebackers, but the Silver Bullets made up for it with a strong showing from the secondary and the interior defensive line. The Buckeyes stopped Notre Dame twice on downs, held them to 5-of-12 on third and fourth downs, and made some key plays when it mattered most in the fourth quarter. J.T. Tuimoloau came up huge late, blowing up an option run and breaking up a screen pass to help Ohio State get the ball back for what would be the deciding drive to end the game. Denzel Burke, Lathan Ransom and Sonny Styles all showed out as well.
Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is coming off a dominant performance against Indiana, throwing for 352 yards and five touchdowns with no picks in his team’s 44-17 win. Tagovailoa is off to a great start through five games, passing for nearly 1,500 yards with 13 TDs to only three INTs. It was an unusually quiet game for Roman Hemby, rushing for only 54 yards against the Hoosiers, but the junior running back has been strong this season with 426 yards from scrimmage and four scores. The Terps’ wide receiver trio of Jeshaun Jones, Tai Felton and Kaden Prather have been excellent, with Felton’s 134 yards and three TDs leading the way against Indiana.
For as good as Maryland’s offense has been, its defense has been equally impressive. Senior DB Beau Brade leads the way in the tackles department with 26, while adding a pick and three PBUs. Yet to allow more than 20 points in a game, the Terps rank fifth in the Big Ten in scoring defense (13.2 ppg) and are tied with Minnesota for most interceptions in the B1G with eight. Tarheeb Still has been the leader of the secondary, already recording three picks with 21 total tackles and two TFLs. Maryland also ranks fourth in the conference with 13 sacks on the year. They’re led in that category by Caleb Wheatland’s 2.5 sacks, but nine different guys have gotten to the quarterback at least once.
This is a much improved Maryland team from years past, and one that can provide a legitimate threat to the big three in the Big Ten East. It will be another test for Ohio State’s defense, as Mike Locksley’s group features a very experienced quarterback and skill talent that can attack in a variety of ways. The Buckeyes had an extra week to prep for this one, and will hopefully clean up the play-calling issues that have hampered what should be a more explosive offense if ran correctly. Ryan Day’s teams have outscored Locksley’s 182-61 in the three meetings between the two head coaches, but it won’t be as easy this time around.
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