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Three takeaways from Maryland football’s 66-17 loss to No. 7 Ohio State

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The Terps’ lack of defense and injuries derailed their upset efforts.

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics
UMTerps

Maryland football came into Columbus, Ohio searching to bounce back after its first loss of the season when it fell to Iowa, 51-14.

However, the Terps were not able to complete the job as the Ohio State Buckeyes rolled over them, 66-17 as they dropped to 4-2 on the season.

Maryland started off the day getting on the scoreboard first. They won the coin toss and elected to receive the kickoff. Maryland closed out its first drive of the game with a field goal however from there, the game seemed to spiral far out of Maryland’s reach.

Ohio State continued to drive the score up, not punting once for the entirety of the matchup. The only drive that ended without a score for the Buckeyes was their final one of the day in which they turned the ball over on downs.

Maryland’s offense could not find momentum for most of the game while its defense was unable to make the stops necessary as the Terps converted just five of their 15 third-down attempts and the Buckeyes had success on seven of their 11 attempts.

“We just got to get back to our basics really, get back to fundamentals,” defensive lineman Sam Okuayinonu said. “We just gotta move on, get some guys healthy and move on to Minnesota.”

Here are some takeaways from Saturday’s matchup.

Maryland’s wide receivers are stretched thin.

After Dontay Demus Jr. went down with a right leg injury against Iowa, Maryland entered this game without their No. 1 receiver. However, just minutes into this matchup, Jeshaun Jones also went down with what appeared to be a lower-body injury and did not return for the remainder of the game.

A receiving corps that was once described by head coach Michael Locksley and the rest of the team as being incredibly deep and a “pick your poison” group, has quickly turned into a room with limited options.

To finish the first half, 10 Terps recorded a reception and quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 157 yards with two of his receivers out of the game.

The majority of the receptions came from running backs and tight ends as tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo led the group with four receptions for 45 yards. Wide receivers Darryl Jones, Carlos Carriere and Brian Cobbs all picked up two receptions each while Tayon Fleet-Davis, Corey Dyches, Marcus Fleming, Challen Faamatau, Jeshaun Jones and Isaiah Jacobs each had one catch.

“Every receiver, they all work hard,” Tagovailoa said. “Today I think they did a pretty good job.”

The Terps finished the game with 13 different receivers touching the ball, however, they were still unable to truly move it down the field and convert their drives into points.

Tagovailoa finished the game completing 28 of his 39 attempted passes while throwing for 279 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

If Jeshaun Jones is out for an extended period of time, the Terps will be without two of their top receivers in him and Demus Jr. forcing them to have to readapt their initial strategy.

“We went from a position of strength there at the receiver position to possibly now being down two of those guys,” Locksley said. “But as with anything in our program, that means that we’ve got to develop some of these younger players to be able to take up the slack and pick up where some of these older players have left off.”

The Terps’ secondary could not contain the passing game.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 406 yards and tied his career-high passing touchdowns with five before exiting the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Maryland’s secondary was without both Jarkorian Bennett and Kenny Bennett, both impact players for the Terps. Jakorian Bennett co-leads the team in interceptions with two and also has the most pass breakups on the team with five. Kenny Bennett has recorded three pass breakups on the season behind Jakorian Bennett as well as Nick Cross and Tarheeb Still who had four apiece coming into this matchup.

Jakorian Bennett and Kenny Bennett were out for the game each with hamstring injuries, Locksley disclosed after the game.

Maryland let up the most yards it has all season, both in the air and in total allowing the Buckeyes to pick up 432 passing yards and 166 rushing yards for a grand total of 598 yards on the day for Ohio State.

Ohio State had seven different receivers touch the ball, three had five or more catches and two had games with over 100 receiving yards.

Wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson each collected two touchdowns as well as 120 and 84 yards, respectively. Running back TreVeyon Henderson also added one touchdown to the receiving party as he went 4-4 on the day.

Maryland’s secondary was leaving Ohio State’s receivers wide open down the field giving Stroud many opportunities to make big plays and drive his team into the end zone.

Maryland is not able to keep up with the top of the conference.

After a blowout loss to then-No. 5 Iowa at home, the Terps traveled to Columbus and were not able to hold on once again.

The Terps allowed Ohio State to score touchdowns on five of its six first-half drives. The only drive in the first 30 minutes of play that did not end in a touchdown for the Buckeyes was one in which they took over with 18 seconds to go in the half leading to Stroud taking a knee.

Maryland’s first-half drives were not reminiscent of anything the Buckeyes were putting together. The Terps started out seemingly put together. After Jeshaun Jones went down with the injury, Maryland marched the ball down the field as Joseph Petrino nailed the 48-yard field goal to put the Terps up, 3-0.

However, it all seemed to move downhill from there.

After Stroud and the Buckeyes responded with a touchdown, Maryland went on to punt the ball on back-to-back drives before getting on the board once more, this time with a touchdown. However, each time Maryland went back on offense, its defense had allowed Ohio State to drive up the score making it more difficult for the Terps to close the lead.

The final two drives of the first half for the Terps ended in a turnover on downs followed by a punt. Maryland could not string together what it needed to inch its way back into the game.

“When you look at this, we played number five and number seven and we’re obviously not there yet,” Locksley said.

The second half told a similar tale.

Maryland’s first three drives of the half ended in punts, two of those being three-and-outs. On their final drive of the third quarter, the Terps found the end zone for the second and final time today as Tagovailoa completed the pass to Jarrett, his only of the day.

The next two drives ended in interceptions and the final one closed out the game.

Ohio State, on the other hand, continued to convert its drives into scores. The Buckeyes scored three consecutive touchdowns before ending the game on its final two drives, hitting a 32-yard field goal and the turnover on downs.

Locksley explained after the game that if the team hopes to rise to the level of play they aspire to be at, they continue to do work through recruiting and roster development to be able to compete and teams such as Iowa and Ohio State.