Boy. That Escalated Quickly!
That's right! This week's column is Anchorman-themed (just from the first one y'all)! The reason for doing so is two-fold. One, this movie has a plethora of quotable lines for my headings. Two, this movie brings a smile to our faces and that is exactly what is needed after watching and experiencing last Saturday's game. Last Saturday's game was so depressing that the first place I went after Yom Kippur ended (Mind you I had been fasting for 28 hours straight. 28 HOURS of no food and no water!) was R.J. Bentley's. BENTLEY'S! I can't make that kind of thing up. Maryland wasn't just served a slice of humble pie. They got this treatment instead. In addition to telling me that life was like a box of chocolates, my mom also said not to play with my food so let's get right to the carnage.
I mean that really got out of hand fast!
Maryland looked great last Saturday...up until the opening kick-off. Then Ohio State marched down the field and scored a touchdown on their opening drive. C.J. Brown then missed a wide-open P.J. Gallo on Maryland's opening drive. What did Ohio State do? They went down and scored again. In the first six minutes of the second quarter, the Buckeyes added another 10 points making the score 24-3 with 8:59 left in the half. Now we get to the sequence that every Maryland fan wishes they could have back.
Maryland took over at its own seven with a little less than a minute and a half left in the first half. C.J. Brown threw a momentum killing interception right to an Ohio State player who took it back to the one yard line. Ohio State scored on the next play to make it 31-10. That play in my mind ended the game. Maryland was never going to come back and beat Ohio State when they were down by 21 points. Unfortunately for the Terps, J.T. Barrett and Ohio State still planned on playing the second half. They put up another 21 points in the half en route to a humbling 52-24 blowout.
I'm not prepared. Really I'm not.
Ron says this as he is going onstage to play jazz flute. The more and more I watched the game last Saturday, the more and more I realized that Maryland should not be confused with the traditional elite Big Ten powers. Maryland simply isn't there yet. They got worked over by a much more talented football team. Ohio State came in and took what they wanted. Maryland was the just the poor sucker who lost their lunch money.
Maryland's defense looked completely unprepared for Ohio State's read-option attack. You and I could have could have run the ball for the Buckeyes and at the very least put up good numbers with those kinds of massive running lanes. Maryland wasn't ready for Ohio State's offensive or defensive lines and they had their way with Maryland and dominated both lines of scrimmage.
The Terps were forced to eat some crow last Saturday at Byrd Stadium in front of a national TV audience. They weren't ready for the spotlight. They weren't ready for the pressure. They weren't ready for the moment and they ultimately weren't ready for the team they faced.
Brian I'm going to be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.
The Terps were on fire last Saturday and not in a good way. Think less Alicia Keys 'This Girl is on Fire' and more Jerry Lee Lewis' 'Great Balls of Fire' and Usher's 'Burn'. They got burnt badly on offense and defense. Let's address the offense first. Maryland only managed to gain a paltry 310 total yards of offense last Saturday. Maryland ran the ball 24 times for 66 yards. That is 2.8 yards a carry. Let's take a look at most of Maryland's rushing performances this season.
Ohio State: 2.8 yards per carry
Indiana: 3.4 yards per carry
Syracuse: 2.8 yards per carry
South Florida: 2.9 yards per carry
Maryland cannot run the ball. Ohio State has a phenomenal front seven but Maryland has shown that it can't even run the ball against mediocre opponents like Indiana and South Florida. With no help in the run game that means that Maryland had to turn the pass. Uh oh.
The stat lines for Maryland's quarterbacks were:
C.J. Brown: 11/18 for 71 yards, no touchdowns and a very, very costly interception that in my opinion ended the game before the first half even ended.
Caleb Rowe: 13/22 for 173 yards, a touchdown and three hard to watch interceptions. One was on an overthrown ball but the other two hit receivers and were tipped. Those can't be put entirely on Rowe. 14 of Maryland's 24 points were scored with Rowe leading the offense. He didn't play well last Saturday but he didn't play as poorly as C.J. Brown did. The fact that it has come to that is depressing.
Now let's head to the other side of the ball. Try not to get too defensive.
Maryland simply could not get Ohio State's offense off the field. The Buckeyes were 8-14 on third down conversions and they wore Maryland down. Ezekiel Elliott had 139 yards on 24 carries and the Buckeyes ran 53 times for 269 yards as a team. Ohio State is one of the more well balanced offenses in the country and J.T. Barrett threw for 267 yards. They did whatever they wanted to on offense and Maryland looked incapable of stopping them. After successfully pulling off the " bend but don't break" approach, Ohio State broke Maryland last Saturday. They broke the Terps like Bane broke Batman in 'The Dark Knight Rises'. Repeatedly.
The front seven of Maryland couldn't stop the run and the secondary allowed five catches of at least 25 yards against the Buckeyes. They allowed explosive play after explosive play. The secondary played just as poorly and got beat just as badly as the front seven did. Maryland failed to get pressure from anyone not named Andre Monroe. Iowa is a very physical football team and Ohio State just handed them a great blueprint of how to beat Maryland. Let's hope the Terps make the most of the bye week.
I don't know how to put this but I'm kind of a big deal.
Let's talk about J.T. Barrett. He is really, really good. He looked like he was in complete command of the offense and I was completely wrong about his level of preparedness coming into this game. It helped that Maryland's defense was pretty terrible on Saturday but much of that was due to Barrett.
Barrett was nearly flawless throwing the football. He was 18/23 for 267 yards, four touchdowns and no picks. He also ran 16 times for 71 yards and a score. Accounting for over 330 yards of offense and five touchdowns is no small task but J.T. Barrett made it look easy last Saturday. He was in the zone and he would not be denied. Ohio State did about as good a job as you can do in executing a game plan and making the game manageable for Barrett. If Barrett continues to play like this, expect another Ohio St.-Michigan St. game to determine who will most likely be the Big Ten champion.
I'm in a glass case of emotion!
I have so many feelings about this game. I just wish they still had pay phone booths for me to shut and scream in. An interesting stat from the game is that Maryland didn't have a single punt return. Not one. I was disappointed that I didn't get to see Will Likely try to make a play in the open field. Speaking of disappointments, in addition to the incredibly disappointing team performance, Maryland had two of them at quarterback last Saturday.
Randy Edsall said that C.J. Brown is still the quarterback of this team but he still got benched because of his poor play and Brown knows that he can be replaced at any moment by Rowe. I'm not sure where his confidence level is but it can't be high. I think we should end the charade and go with one quarterback. If the Caleb Rowe era is going to start at Maryland, he should get the first team reps during the bye week and during the week of the Iowa game.
It looked like Brown was starting to figure things out against Syracuse and Indiana but he got hurt against Indiana and played terribly against Ohio State. The quarterback controversy is back in full force among fans and the media and it isn't stopping with the bye week. We will see how much time Edsall gives C.J. Brown to try and spark the offense before putting Rowe in. If Brown can't pull it together during the Iowa game (which he has an extra week to prepare for) than he needs to be benched in favor of Rowe.
I'm proud of you fellas. You all kept your head on a swivel and that's what you gotta do when you find yourself in a vicious cockfight!
Say what you will about their performance (They flat out stunk and I have said a lot in this space already to that point) but I didn't think that Maryland gave up last Saturday. Did they look hopelessly outmatched? Yes. Did they know they were going to lose by a lot? Yes. Did they roll over? No. They at least had the decency of trying to finish strong. Last year, this team rolled over and quit in Tallahassee against FSU in a game that they ended up losing 63-0 (in case you forgot). This is team that has some pride and I was pleased to see that they had taken that step forward from last year as a football team.
People know me.
Most college football fans don't know who Brad Craddock is. But they should. America doesn't love field goal kickers as much as they love quarterbacks and skill position players. Most people only knew who Roberto Aguayo (the reigning Lou Groza Award winner) is because FSU steamrolled people last year and he plays for them. Craddock has NFL material written on him. He was making 60 yarders in warm-ups before the Ohio State game and he nailed a school-record 57 yard field goal to get Maryland on the board. Count on Craddock being in serious contention for the Lou Groza Award this year. He is someone that should get more love from people nationally and should get more love even from Maryland fans.
And when it comes to Ohio State, sophomore defensive end Joey Bosa is fun to watch. He did his best J.J. Watt impression and manhandled both of Maryland's offensive tackles. Joey Bosa is a stud and he will be playing on Sundays for years. Count on it.