Maryland football nearly shocked the college football world on Saturday, but instead fell in overtime to No. 9 Ohio State, 52-51.
After the unlikeliest of afternoons saw the game heading to overtime tied at 45, the Buckeyes got the ball first in the extra period, and quarterback Dwayne Haskins found the end zone on a five-yard rush for his sixth total touchdown of the day. Anthony McFarland extended the overtime on the very next play with a 24-yard rush, to set up a one-yard Tayon Fleet-Davis score to make it 52-51. Interim head coach Matt Canada went for the win, but a Tyrrell Pigrome missed Jeshaun Jones in the end zone to conclude a crazy afternoon of football.
It took McFarland just a half to break the freshman record for single game rushing yards he set just a week earlier, finishing with 298 yards on 21 carries with two scores. He’d go to the locker room before coming back in and setting up a score at the end of regulation and one to answer a Buckeyes score in overtime. Pigrome was solid starting in place of Kasim Hill, finishing 6-of-13 for 181 yards and a score. He kept finding answers to the Buckeyes, until he couldn’t.
The Terps struck first, with McFarland taking the ball 81 yards on the second play from scrimmage. Then to further shock everyone watching, Maryland ended up in another Rutgers situation and fielded its own kickoff. Ohio State would take the ball right back on a Jones fumble, but the most unexpected start this season for the Terps and took all but two minutes to unfold.
Maryland bent, but didn’t break, coming up with a sack and holding the Buckeyes to a field goal on the ensuing possession. Then Maryland lined up for its next series, and McFarland took it to the house again. After getting stuffed on his first run, the freshman had taken each of his next two touches for scores, the second clocking in at 75 yards. The Terps had a 14-3 lead after just six minutes. The Maryland defense held on fourth against Ohio State on the next drive, then Joseph Petrino nailed a field goal a couple plays after a 56-yard bomb from Pigrome to the 6’4 Dontay Demus. After a quarter, Maryland led Ohio State 17-3.
McFarland nearly broke a third long touchdown, but had to settle for a 52-yard gain after being forced out of bounds. The Buckeyes pushed the Terps back over the next three plays before Petrino had his first missed field goal of the year on a 49-yard attempt. Haskins sent a 68-yard pass to the end zone to bring Ohio State back within a score, but Maryland responded with a drive ending with a Javon Leake 16-yard touchdown to take a 24-10 lead.
Another deep Haskins throw set up a J.K. Dobbins dive over the goal line, and the Buckeyes looked to be moving in to position to tie the game at the half. Instead, a goal line fumble gave Maryland the ball and go into halftime with a 24-17 lead over the No. 10 team in the nation. The Buckeyes had taken the statistical lead by the end of the half though, running 39 plays to Maryland’s 29, but outgaining the Terps just 342-337.
The Terps gave Haskins whiplash to start the second half, with RaVon Davis intercepting his first pass attempt of the third quarter and taking it to the house. Haskins brought the score to 31-24 by capping off a Buckeyes’ drive with a two-yard quarterback keeper. Haskins lost the ball later in the third, as Tre Watson came up with Maryland’s second fumble recovery of the day. Nothing would come of it, though, and after a couple inconsequential drives on both sides, the score would stand entering the fourth quarter.
The Buckeyes tied it at the start of the final period with a methodical drive that ended in a six-yard touchdown pass. McFarland added another long run to his tally with a 27-yard rush to keep give a Maryland drive some life before going into the medical tent on the next play. Three plays and two stuffed runs later, punter Wade Lees kept Maryland alive with a completion to Taivon Jacobs on fourth-and-6. The Terps retook lead with just under eight minutes remaining in the game with a 27-yard score from Pigrome to Jeshaun Jones.
A Haskins score tied the game for the first time of the afternoon, but Pigrome then launched a 60-yard pass to Darryl Jones on the very next play to give Maryland a first-and-goal from the Buckeyes’ 1-yard line. A false start pushed the Terps back to the six, but a pass interference gave Maryland a new set of downs on the 2 with 2:00 on the clock. A mistake led to a score, as McFarland fumbled on the goal line before Chigoziem Okonkwo recovered the ball in the end zone.
The Terps gave up the tying score with just 40 seconds left on the clock, as Haskins found an open receiver in the end zone. Pigrome found Jacobs to kick off the next drive with a 30-yard completion, but was then sacked twice to end regulation. Maryland ultimately came up one play short in overtime.
The Terps conclude their season on the road next weekend against No. 20 Penn State at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Three things to know
1. Maryland almost did it. The Terps nearly took down the top-10 Buckeyes, which is significant despite the loss. Maryland was not expected to be competitive in this outing, and instead was a couple plays from toppling the best team in the conference. Maryland still doesn’t have a win over Ohio State, ever, but this is its highest output against this squad. It came down to one play, and the Terps just missed it.
2. Anthony McFarland is a cheat code. The back broke Maryland’s single-game rushing freshman record last week, then set a new high against the Buckeyes. McFarland finished the day with 298 yards, five runs of over 20 yards and an average of 14.3 yards per carry.
3. Maryland misses a chance to steal bowl eligibility. The Terps absolutely weren’t supposed to be in this game. Maryland nearly capitalized on a series of big plays to topple the giant, but more importantly, nearly stole its sixth win. Next week won’t be any easier against Penn State, and, now, you have to wonder if the Terps will have anything left in the tank.