Nobody may have higher expectations for how the Buckeyes will fare against Maryland than the oddsmakers. While none of us think that a 30-point line is an exaggeration, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has spent the week talking up Maryland and how improved they are.
By tonight we will know if that line was expected or yes, an exaggeration.
But before the game is played, we make our own expectations and exaggerations for the upcoming game.
Kevin Noon - 250/250 club
Over the past three games that the Buckeyes have played against Maryland they have put up an average of 538 yards against the Terps and that was capped off by 591 last year along with 62 points. While I think 62 points may be out of reach this year, I think the yardage total is well within reach. Now, the points may follow, you just never know with Ohio State's offense making short throws and getting big results.
I certainly do not see 500 yards out of reach but I think that Ohio State will hit 250 yards both rushing and passing. Urban Meyer talks about wanting that kind of offense that has that kind of balance. I think that this is a perfect game for Ohio State to get that. There will be more premium to run as Meyer wants to get both JK Dobbins and Mike Weber more involved and the Buckeyes will not be looking to back down off of the passing game.
In fact, Ohio State has not hit 500 yards only once against Maryland, that was in 2015 when Ohio State had 499 yards, and that game was much like some games this year, passing for over 300 yards and rushing for less than 200 yards. I just don't see Meyer along with Kevin Wilson going away from the run unless Maryland sells out against the run for four quarters and just forces Ohio State to pass all game long. I think at some point Ohio State's passing game will be too much for Maryland to ignore and it will soften up the defense and allow the tandem to go wild and hit that 250 mark.
Colin Gay - J.T. Barrett runs over Maryland defense
If you look at one thing that hurt Maryland in its only loss of the season, UCF ran all over the Terrapins. Averaging 6.4 yards per rush, the Knights had three rushing touchdowns in the 38-10 win. The leading rusher? Quarterback McKenzie Milton, who had 94 yards on the ground on six carries.
The quarterback rush was part of the problem with Maryland's defense against Ohio State last season. In the 62-3 loss, the Terrapins, despite limiting quarterback J.T. Barrett to 4.3 yards per rush, allowed his to get into the end zone twice.
Barrett has shown that he can make plays with his legs. The fifth-year quarterback had a season-high 78 rushing yards last week against Rutgers and has scored twice on the ground this season.
Barrett will utilize the quarterback rush effectively against the Terrapins, rushing for over 60 yards for the fourth time this season and score at least once.
Nick McWilliams - Airing it out again
J.T. Barrett has strung together three efficient games through the air in the last few games. The Buckeyes have been finding the end zone thanks to his decision making, and that should continue against Maryland.
The Terrapins have allowed 260 yards passing per game to opponents, and Shane Buechele of Texas torched the secondary to open the season. Barrett has posted 13 touchdowns this season, but has yet to truly enjoy a lot of yardage against a weak secondary.
Like Buchele did to open the college football season up, Barrett will have plenty of chances to pick up big chunks of yardage. In terms of yardage, it should be a season-high day for the fifth-year quarterback.
Barrett gained 304 yards through the air against Indiana in Week 1, and Saturday is a prime chance to put up a 300+ yard passing effort again. Expect the Buckeyes to test out a few more downfield passes against Maryland
Kevin Noon - Two non-offensive touchdowns
Last season, predicting defensive scores would have been low risk, the Buckeyes were scoring on defense at a staggering rate. That success has not been there this year. That is not a case of the defense just underachieving but the opportunities have not presented themselves. Now, for my exaggeration to happen, the Buckeyes don't need to rely only on the defense, special teams count too here. I just think that with a lackluster punter for Maryland and Parris Campbell getting close on kickoffs that a special teams touchdown is due and adding a defensive score to the mix would get the Buckeyes to two.
At first I had this listed as three scores but that is not an exaggeration, that is beyond a far-flung reach. But if Ohio State is able to get two scores outside of the offense, that would put other teams on notice that the defense may be back and the special teams are getting close to where Urban Meyer expects them to be.
Colin Gay - Pass defense continues roll
The Ohio State secondary was very, very good against Rutgers last weekend. The Buckeyes allowed only 92 yards while picking off two passes. Scarlet Knights starter Kyle Bolin completed only five passes on 14 attempts for 56 yards.
The Buckeyes have a chance to continue that success against Maryland third-string quarterback Max Bortenschlager. Bortenschlager has had legitimate playing time in only three games in the past two seasons, throwing for a season-high 154 yards last week against Minnesota.
Nothing screams out that Maryland will be relying on the pass game, so this may not be much of an exaggeration, but Ohio State will continue its streak of allowing less that 100 yards passing for the fourth straight game. Bortenschlager will struggle against a scorching hot Buckeye secondary, throwing for less than 100 yards and completing about 50 percent of his passes.
Nick McWilliams - Nick Bosa's version of beast mode
In such a short career, Nick Bosa has taken the college football world by storm. It helped that his older brother is now a campus legend, and he had a playing style that rivaled his siblings when he arrived, but Nick has done a great job of ensuring his play, and not his name, has done the talking.
Maryland averages two sacks allowed per game, while Bosa has three sacks this season. On Saturday, why not surpass the Terrapins' average, and double his season mark?
Dre'Mont Jones will be missing Saturday's game, and Jalyn Holmes played well as a defensive tackle. If Holmes continues to play in the middle for part of the game, that leaves more snaps on the field for Bosa.
With his freakish bullrush ability and surprising finesse off the edge, paired with top-tier speed for such a massive defensive end, Bosa will put forth his best career-game to date as a Buckeye with a three sack game.