No. 2 Ohio State survives scare from Maryland, sets up pivotal showdown with No. 3 Michigan

Just like No. 3 Michigan did earlier Saturday, No. 2 Ohio State survived a major scare.

The Buckeyes found themselves in a dog fight on the road against unranked Maryland but managed to emerge with a 43-30 victory in College Park. C.J. Stroud threw for 241 yards and a touchdown in the win, but freshman running back Dallan Hayden stole the show.

With Miyan Williams out and TreVeyon Henderson banged up, Hayden rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.

With the win, Ohio State improved to 11-0 on the year and set up an undefeated showdown with Michigan in Columbus next weekend. The Big Ten East will be on the line in a game that will have also massive College Football Playoff implications.

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But in the game needed to set up that battle of unbeatens, Ohio State actually found itself behind 13-10 at halftime.

The Buckeyes quickly flipped that to open the second half. Lathan Ransom flew in and blocked a Maryland punt to set up Hayden’s first touchdown run of the game and give the Buckeyes a 17-13 lead.

And by the time the third quarter ended, Ohio State’s lead had ballooned to 27-13. But Maryland continued to fight as Taulia Tagovailoa made an array of highlight reel throws.

The two teams exchanged touchdowns early in the fourth, with Maryland cutting the lead to 27-21 before Ohio State quickly built it back to 33-21. However, that OSU extra point try was blocked by Maryland and returned the other way for two points to make Ohio State’s lead 33-23.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) scrambles past Maryland linebacker Gereme Spraggins during the game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) scrambles past Maryland linebacker Gereme Spraggins during the game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

And on the ensuing drive, Tagovailoa made several excellent throws, including a fourth-and-goal touchdown connection with Jeshaun Jones to cut OSU’s lead to 33-30 with 9:49 to play.

Maryland soon got the ball back by getting a fourth-and-1 stop near midfield with 6:20 to go. All of a sudden, the Terps were in a tremendous position to tie the game or even take the lead.

Instead, the Buckeyes’ defense forced a clutch three-and-out and the offense subsequently was able to drain a significant chunk of the remaining clock with a field goal drive.

That gave Maryland one final chance down 36-30, but Tagovailoa was sacked and the ball was jarred loose, allowing OSU to put a final bow on the victory with a defensive touchdown.

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What does this mean for Ohio State?

The game we've all been anticipating is now a week away.

The Buckeyes have been waiting for revenge for a year. Last year, Michigan knocked Ohio State from its Big Ten throne and demolished the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor.

The Big Ten title and a CFP berth were on the line in that one. The stakes will be the same this time around.

Whoever wins will be a massive favorite in the Big Ten title game no matter who ultimately emerges from the West. The loser will be 11-1 and just hoping for some other contenders to lose, opening a door to possibly slide into that No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff.