Maryland football faces another one of its yearly tests, as the team travels to face No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday.
The Terrapins are reeling with a 3-6 record after a 2-0 start to the season, meanwhile the Buckeyes come in sporting an 8-0 record and were named the current No. 1 overall seed by the College Football Playoff Committee on Tuesday.
Here is some of what to expect from Ohio State on Saturday.
As per usual, a powerful offense
Ohio State often possesses one of the top offenses in college football, and Maryland has experienced it first-hand with the Buckeyes averaging 55.4 points per game through five matchups against it.
This year marks the first time that the Terrapins will face an Ohio State team not coached by Urban Meyer, but first year head coach Ryan Day has the Buckeyes averaging 48.2 points per game — which is good for third in the nation.
Part of the reason for just about no drop off between staffs is the addition of transfer quarterback Justin Fields from Georgia. The former No. 2 overall recruit in 2018, according to 247 Sports Composite, stepped in after obtaining a waiver and has captained the Buckeyes like a veteran.
Through eight games, Fields has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 1,659 yards, 24 touchdowns and just one interception. Not only are the numbers impressive, but Fields has a knack for making plays thanks to his mobility and composure in the pocket.
On top of his pocket presence, Fields has been able to use his legs in the event of things breaking down — another dimension to his game. On 76 rushes, Fields has tallied 319 yards and nine more touchdowns to his season total.
Thanks to Field’s dual-threat talent, Ohio State has been able to benefit in terms of its scheme because defenses are often spread out trying to play things safe.
Running back J.K. Dobbins has led the way on the ground with 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns, while Master Teague III has added 588 yards and four touchdowns of his own on the ground.
One of the more dominant run defenses
The Buckeyes come into Saturday’s matchup with the No. 2 total defense in the nation, and one of the biggest reasons is opponents averaging just 91.5 yards per game on the ground.
Against Florida Atlantic to start the season, the Buckeyes lined up with three down linemen and two linebackers set to fill gaps. The linemen do well to stuff the middle, and after a well-timed delay, the backers move in and fill the remaining holes.
Even against Wisconsin and 2018 Doak Walker Award-winning running back Jonathan Taylor, Ohio State’s run defense was tuned in and prepared. Taylor tallied just 52 yards on 20 carries — a season low — as well as the only matchup in 2019 he has not scored a touchdown.
The best individual defensive player in the nation
Anyone who has tuned in to college football in 2019 has heard about Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and his dominance of the game this season.
As a pass rusher, Young uses both speed and strength to create advantages against opponents. A fluid combination of finesse and power moves against tackles gives opposing quarterbacks very limited time in the pocket and requires some attention to be diverted to watch for when he breaks through.
So far in 2019, Young has tallied 29 tackles (22 solo), 13.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and one pass deflection.
Even when he doesn’t get to pad his stats, Young’s presence creates issues for opposing offenses. Against Nebraska, Young was able to switch things up and attack the right tackle from the inside, flushing quarterback Adrian Martinez to his right and forcing a sidearmed throw on the run, which resulted in the first of three first half interceptions.
Maryland fans may recognize Young’s name, as the DeMatha alumnus and Maryland-native was often tied to the Terrapins throughout his recruitment in the Class of 2017 — where he was a five-star recruit and the No. 7 overall player, according to the 247 Sports Composite.
The bottom line
Things are not getting easier for Maryland as the season turns to a close after a 38-7 homecoming loss to Michigan.
Saturday’s game against the Buckeyes also stands as the final straw in the scarce possibility that the Terrapins can reach bowl eligibility. But, with Ohio State’s strengths being in a powerful offense, a strong rushing defense and forcing mistakes by opposing quarterbacks, things are not looking positive for Maryland.