Maryland heads to Columbus for the first time in program history to take on Ohio State in one of the cathedrals of college football. The Terrapins are facing a team that has won 18 straight games and a Big Ten record 25 conference games in a row. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 in the country and the last time Maryland played a top-ranked squad was November 13, 1999 when they went to Florida State. The Seminoles beat them 49-10 en route to winning the national title.
In order to be competitive in this game, Maryland must figure out a way to stop Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State's dynamic running back. He is one of the best in the country and his play down the stretch last season, and in the College Football Playoff, helped the Buckeyes win the national title. His offensive line has done a tremendous job for him this season. Elliott is averaging 7.3 yards per carry and has eight touchdowns through just five games this season. He has over 100 yards rushing in every game. Last week, Elliott rushed for 274 yards on just 23 carries and his three touchdowns helped Ohio State stave off the upset-minded Indiana Hoosiers.
If Elliott repeatedly breaks long runs in this game, the Terps have no shot. The Ohio State quarterback situation isn't as solid as it was a year ago. J.T. Barrett ran the offense like a finely tuned instrument by week six of last year but Cardale Jones has replaced him as the starter. Maryland's defense can certainly pressure opposing quarterbacks and they will have to get to Jones on Saturday. The Terps have 19 sacks through five games but they have yet to play against an offensive line as talented and powerful as this one.
On the other side of the ball, Maryland's quarterback is still undetermined. Randy Edsall listed Daxx Garman, Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe as co-starters this week and said that the starter may be a game-time decision. At this point, with reports surfacing that Edsall will be fired very soon (most likely after the Ohio State game), playing it close to the vest just doesn't make sense.
You know what you are getting from each starter. Rowe is the risk-reward option who has given you far more of the former than the latter. He leads the nation in interceptions and would lead the nation if he was his own team. Daxx Garman didn't look comfortable against Michigan but the Wolverine defense is great and Garman wasn't ready for them. He is the middle ground where he can challenge you a little with his arm but won't make as many mistakes. The third and final option is the conservative Perry Hills. Perry's idea of a long ball might be a 20-yard pass downfield. He is risk-averse so he doesn't turn the ball over much but the offense won't have a great rhythm with him under center. It is going to be one or more of those three.
Tune in to see whether or not Maryland can keep this one under 30. Today is probably the end of the Randy Edsall era at Maryland, an era that has given Terp fans brutal and gut-wrenching losses but also Wiz Khalifa quotes. In all likelihood, this game will probably be a big loss and Edsall will be shown the door within hours of the game ending.
Rankings and records:
#1 Ohio State: (5-0, 1-0)
Maryland: 2-3 (2-3, 0-1)
All-time record: Ohio State won the first and only game in the all-time series last year, 52-24, in College Park.
Vegas: As of right now, the line on this game has the Buckeyes as 33-point favorites. Is Ohio State the dominant team that they were last season? No. Can they beat a deflated and less-talented Maryland team by more than 33 points at home in front of their raucous home crowd? That's for you to decide.
How to witness
October 10th, noon (ET), Columbus, Ohio
TV: BTN. Eric Collins will be on play by play. Glen Mason and Rick Pizzo will be the color analysts.
Radio: Terrapin Sports Radio Network - Johnny Holliday (Play-by-Play), Tim Strachan (Analyst), Scott McBrien (Sideline); Flagships - WJZ-FM (105.7) / WJZ-AM (1300) / ESPN 980 (D.C.) Sirius 136, XM 196, and SiriusXM 196.
You can also hear the game on WMUC Sports Radio here.
Online streaming: The game will be streamed live on BTN2Go at noon (ET).