Before progressing too far into my article, first I want to give praise to the Terrapins. Ohio State was on the ropes for most of the game, and that is a credit to Maryland’s coaches and players. It may sound overly optimistic, but Penn State and Michigan had better beware of their upcoming trips to College Park, Maryland later this season. The Terrapins are a good football team.
Let me get into the areas of concern, which Maryland definitely exposed, even in the 37-17 win, that qualify as five alarm fires for Ohio State...
- The Ohio State offensive line
Ohio State’s offensive line gave up three sacks, five tackles for loss, and generally made things especially difficult for Ohio State to develop any offensive consistency. With a tough road game at Purdue on the horizon, followed up by an anticipated top-five home clash against Penn State, Ohio State will need to fix whatever is ailing the offensive line — and fast.
2. Ohio State’s running game
I joked previously about the lack of “Three Yards And A Cloud Of Dust”, but Ohio State is simply unable to run the ball consistently. Chip Trayanum emerged with a strong effort, carrying the ball 20 times for 61 yards and a crucial touchdown, but Ohio State needs to be able to run the ball well against Big Ten opponents, no matter which B1G opponents they are facing.
Collectively, when Kyle McCord’s sacks are factored into the rushing total (see point No. 1 up above), Ohio State averaged only 1.9 yards per rush. Ugh.
3. B1G officiating
This last point is going to come across as a pure homerism, and I will gladly take criticism for this point, but what in the name of Ed Hochuli is going on with the officiating and Ohio State this season? On two separate occasions this season, The Big Ten has had to contact Ohio State head coach Ryan Day to apologize for blown calls.
What are they going to do after this game, when Ohio State defensive lineman Tyleik Williams was blatantly held on a play that was not called, and the result was a Maryland touchdown the illegal motion penalty on Xavier Johnson that was openly questioned by FOX commentator Joel Klatt, or the Mean Girls temper tantrum call on Ryan Day for 15 yards? Take your pick, B1G officials. These are the kind of mistakes that could help to derail Ohio State’s season.
Time for a deep breath. Ohio State is 5-0, and they just defeated a team that is going to be playing in a good bowl game this season. Taulia Tagovailoa is not going to be the top NFL draft choice his older brother Tua was, but Taulia has established himself as one of the better quarterbacks in college football. The Ohio State defense should be happy with holding Maryland to 17 points.
Ohio State is still undefeated, and have to get themselves mentally prepared for a trip to West Lafayette, Indiana — a place that has been extremely difficult for Ohio State to win at over the years. Tune into the Silver Bullets Podcast with Michael Citro and I to get our further thoughts on this game, and do what is necessary to make sure you have your Peacock account all squared away before next Saturday at 12:00 p.m. ET.