Urban Meyer and Ohio State came to College Park on Saturday with an offensive game plan predicated on power-running and options plays, and a defensive plan based on building pressure from a dominant line. The Buckeyes executed well, and Maryland didn't. The university's first Big Ten football home game got ugly fast, and the Terps fell by a final score of 52-24.
On an individual level, here's our weekly evaluation of whose stock is up, whose is down and whose is holding:
Jacquille Veii had a nice afternoon against the Buckeyes. He took his only carry for 11 yards and presumably would have gotten a few more had the umpire not (unfortunately, for him) been standing in his way. In the way of receiving, he caught four balls for 78 yards, including a 60-yarder where he turned on the burners to set up a Maryland touchdown. Veii, as has become the norm, looked explosive on the couple of touches he had.
Andre Monroe notched two sacks against the Buckeyes – or, twice the amount of sacks the visitors' offensive line allowed in its last two games combined. Monroe did a nice job as an edge-rusher on Saturday and made a couple of run-stopping tackles as well, finishing with five total tackles. He continues to be one of the conference's better pass-rushers, and his importance to the Maryland defense only grows in Quinton Jefferson's absence.
(Hat tips to kicker Brad Craddock, who we'll have more on this week, and receivers Stefon Diggs and Marcus Leak.)
Caleb Rowe offered a mixed bag in one half of play. He threw three interceptions, none of which came on good throws but two of which were more bad fortune than anything. He led the Terps to 14 points in the second half on a little more than 200 total yards and generally kept the offense moving at a better pace than his team's starting quarterback. Randy Edsall said after the game that ...
... C.J. Brown remains the Terps' starter, but Brown couldn't possibly have solidified that status with his performance against the Buckeyes. Brown was lousy aerially and on the ground, throwing for 71 yards and running for negative three. He had a couple of bad misses on his first drive, most prominently an overshoot of a wide-open P.J. Gallo on the Terps' second offensive play. In the event Brown starts again in two weeks' time against Iowa, he'll need to be much better. If Saturday was any indication, he doesn't have a lot of leash.
Strong rebound potential
Sean Davis had a hard go of things against J.T. Barrett and the Ohio State receiving corps. Davis made at least one nice special teams tackle, but he was beaten in last line of coverage on a couple of Buckeye touchdowns. Ohio State's Devin Smith roasted him on a 30-yard post route where Davis, lined up as a slot cornerback, lost a step early and could never recover. Davis's ideal role is a pure safety, but with Maryland's injuries at cornerback, the Terps need him to be better in sets where he lines up one-on-one against receivers, and in simple over-the-top reads.
Ryan Doyle and Michael Dunn – and, to an extent, the entire offensive line – were fighting a losing battle from the start. The Buckeyes' four down defensive linemen are all studs, but none more than sophomore defensive end Joey Bosa. In the four games preceding this one, Bosa had forced three fumbles, all leading to Ohio State touchdowns. Saturday, he had his way with both Doyle and Dunn, as he lined up on either side of the Maryland line (often depending on where Maryland placed its tight end) and had 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Dunn, in particular, has made a lot of progress this year, but he didn't do a good job against Bosa or any of Ohio State's edge-rushers Saturday. Doyle was beaten cleanly way too often at right tackle. Neither was able to facilitate handoffs toward the outside or the kinds of option pitches Ohio State ran so well. It was not a good day for either one of the Terps' starting tackles.