Days after being named the No. 1 seed in the first College Football Playoff rankings, Ohio State came into its matchup against Maryland with clear intentions to set the record straight.
A year after the Terps took them to overtime in College Park — but ultimately lost 51-52 — the Buckeyes jumped out to a 14-0 lead on its first two drives Saturday. But instead of kicking the ball back to Maryland, the Buckeyes executed a perfect onside kick that was popped up in the air and found the outreached arms of wide receiver Chris Olave.
Ohio State (9-0, 6-0) took over its third drive of the game at its own 43-yard line and scored, building its early lead and proving that last year’s meeting was a fluke en route to a 73-14 win over Maryland (3-7, 1-6).
The Terps found themselves in a 21-0 hole for the fourth time this season, but against the Buckeyes, it was the first time it had occurred in the first quarter. At that first break, Ohio State had 192 total yards, while the Terps managed to pick up a single yard.
By halftime, Maryland was in a 42-0 hole.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields wasn’t fazed from Maryland’s defense, which had allowed 418.3 yards per contest entering Saturday’s matchup. The Terps were unable to get any pressure on the elusive Georgia transfer as he constantly found receivers within holes of Maryland’s zone and man-to-man defense.
Fields only played until halftime and finished 16-25 for 200 passing yards, 28 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. The Buckeyes finished with 705 total yards on offense, while Maryland had 139 yards.
While quarterback Josh Jackson started the game, fellow quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome replaced him in the second quarter. But neither signal callers could get any offensive momentum for the Terps against the Chase Young-less Buckeyes.
Jackson and Pigrome threw a combined 8-17 for 77 yards, one interception and one touchdown.
Maryland, which converts 34.8 percent of its third-downs, grabbed its only two third-down conversions in the fourth quarter.
In the third quarter, the Terps forced Ohio State backup quarterback Chris Chugunov, who replaced Fields, to fumble the ball off of a Keandre Jones strip sack. Maryland took over on its own 20-yard line, but Pigrome gave the ball right back to Buckeyes with his sixth interception of the year.
In the third quarter, Jackson, who took over for Pigrome midway through the quarter, connected with wide reciever Dontay Demus Jr. on a 26-yard touchdown pass. Running back Tayon Fleet-Davis added to Maryland’s third quarter touchdown with a 12-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to shorten the gap to 59-14.
With such a large gap between the two teams entering the second half, Ohio State replaced its starters with a lot of younger and backup players. And even though they allowed two touchdowns, the Buckeyes continued to pour on points to prove its worthiness of the No. 1 team in the nation, handing the Terps their fifth consecutive loss.
Three things to know
1. Ohio State’s defense did not miss a beat with Chase Young out. With Ohio State’s best player Chase Young missing the game due to a “NCAA issue,” the Buckeyes’ defense was still dominant. By halftime, Ohio State surpassed its 4.25 sacks per game average with five against Jackson and Pigrome for a loss of 32 yards in the first half. The Buckeyes finished with seven sacks for 50 yards.
2. Keandre Jones played well against his former team. Graduate transfer Keandre Jones took advantage of the opportunity to prove himself against his former team. Jones notched eight total tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in his return to the Horseshoe.
3. Maryland’s defense struggled to stop Ohio State. In the first half, Ohio State’s offense was firing on all cylinders, while Maryland could not force the Buckeyes into a single punt. Ohio State finished the half 6-for-6 in the red zone, and 11-for-12 for the game, and put the Terps into their largest deficit at halftime for the season. The Terps only red zone stop came from Jones’ strip sack in the third quarter.