Ohio State vs Maryland

Ohio state Maryland

Ohio State returns to “The Shoe” to host Maryland at noon.

The Buckeyes will get their first home conference game with the Terrapins coming off a brutal loss to Iowa.

The good news for Buckeye fans is that Iowa exposed some holes in Maryland’s team in a year when it looked like the Terps might turn things around. Ohio State will get a demoralized and beaten down opponent that will be missing their best player.

Ohio State will still be trying to tinker with a new defense, and Maryland might be the team to help them get right.

While Maryland’s offense looked explosive early in the season, they played against some cupcakes early in the year. When they finally played a ranked team, it was a beatdown.

The Buckeye offense has had their way with Maryland’s defense since the Terps joined the Big Ten. Ohio State has scored no less than 49 points in every matchup, including 73 in 2019. The only game that was close was in 2018, when Ohio State had one of the worst defenses in their history, when Maryland scored 51 points.

This is the first game between these two teams since 2019, since a COVID-19 outbreak kept the teams from playing in 2020.

Since it’s been a while since Buckeye fans have seen Maryland, here’s what they can expect this Saturday.

Ohio State vs Maryland Preview

Maryland’s Offense Against Ohio State’s Defense

Taulia Tagovailoa has been on fire this season, but hit a brick wall against Iowa.

In the previous four games, he threw for 1,340 yards, ten touchdowns, and only one interception. Then the Hawkeyes came to town and Tagovailoa tossed four picks in the blowout loss.

One key factor that may have affected Tagovailoa was the crushing loss of his number one receiver. Dontay Demus suffered a gruesome leg injury in the first quarter, which sent the Terrapins into a tailspin. Even with missing most of that game, Demus leads the Big Ten in receiving yards, and that kind of loss will be tough to overcome.

While no one can match his receiving production, Rakim Jarrett and Chigoziem Okonkwo are comparable in scoring. With seven touchdowns between them, Tagovailoa will be leaning on both of them to help make up for the loss of Demus.

Ohio State’s defense will have a chance to attack a young quarterback who is down his favorite weapon. Tagovailoa looked lost without Demus, so Ohio State can capitalize and hopefully force some mistakes the same way Iowa did a week ago.

The Terp’s leading rusher is fifth-year senior Tayon Fleet-Davis. He has been with Maryland for five years now, but is finally carving out a leading role. His 331 rushing yards through five games this season is tied for his career high. He only has one 100-yard game so far, and that was in the opener against West Virginia. By and large, Maryland doesn’t use the run much. That looks to change in the near future, as their passing game inevitably takes a step back. Fleet-Davis averages seven yards per carry, so the Terps will lean on him as the season goes on.

Ohio State’s Offense Against Maryland’s Defense

Maryland has played some underwhelming competition, which has been something that has helped both offense and defense.

The Terps defense has put up solid numbers, but for the first four games of the season, the best team they played was West Virginia. The Mountaineers scored 24 points on Maryland, which was the most for the first third of the season.

But Iowa put 51 points on the scoreboard, and exposed key weaknesses in Maryland’s defense.

On the ground, Tyler Goodson sliced through the defense like a hot knife through butter. Through the air, Spencer Petras threw for three touchdowns and posted a 175.5 rating.

The most impressive player on the defense for Maryland is Durell Nchami. The linebacker has three sacks, but leads college football with 16 tackles for a loss.

The other player to look out for on defense is Nick Cross. He has two picks and 22 tackles so far this season.

But don’t be surprised if Okonkwo plays both ways. Not only does he have three receiving touchdowns, but he has two sacks on the year. If the Terps need him more on offense to help fill the gap left by Demus, then his impact on defense might subside.

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