Maryland is an interesting team. Are they as good as the team that beat Texas? Or Minnesota? Or did UCF show who they really are? We do know they are down to their third quarterback, that is not a question up for debate. But last week against Minnesota, the Terrapins looked pretty good on the road.
Things get a little tougher this week though when they travel to Columbus (Ohio) to take on the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 4-1 and 2-0 in the Big Ten and has zero margin for error. The odds makers have the Buckeyes as a major home favorite but the Terrapins are not going to just accept that and surrender before the game even starts.
So how does this game play out? We are making our picks in advance of the game as we try and shed some light how each of our staff members see this game playing out and of course, picking a winner.
Kevin Noon - Publisher
It sure seems like Urban Meyer is much more worried about this game than I am. Of course, he is paid to worry about everything while I write about all of the decisions that he makes, both good and bad.
There are only a few programs that can play its third string quarterback and not miss a beat. I just don't believe that Maryland is that kind of team. Sure, the Terps went to Minnesota and beat the Gophers on their own field with their new quarterback. Minnesota was undefeated but its best win was against an Oregon State team that is somewhere south of horrible.
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But back to Maryland. This team is not Rutgers, they have a much better roster and are a lot closer to being a functional Big Ten team than Rutgers has now or may have in five more seasons.
When it is all said and done, the Ohio State offense is figuring out what it does well and what it does not do well. The Buckeyes will put up a lot of points. On the offensive side of the ball, the Terps will have limited success moving the ball on the ground and the few big plays via the throw game will not be enough to keep up with the suddenly efficient (sort of) Ohio State offense. Ohio State 49 Maryland 17
Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst
You have to be impressed with the job that Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin is doing with the quick turn around, especially given the injuries at quarterback. But those injuries are likely going to catch up with Durkin and the Terps this weekend. The Ohio State defense has been vulnerable in the back seven, but with yet another new quarterback this week and an offensive line that will be out-manned against the loaded Ohio State front, the defense should be able to limit the Terps offensively.
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On the other end, the Ohio State offense seems to be finding itself and is getting healthier as Mike Weber continues to work his way back into playing shape. The Ohio State offense continues to roll and the defense forces a couple of turnovers in a comfortable win. Ohio State 44 Maryland 14
Ross Fulton - Team Analyst
Another week, another odd front for the Ohio State offense. The Maryland defense will provide a similar framework to Rutgers, often using a 3-man defensive line with cover 1 in the secondary to sneak its outside linebackers and safety into the box. Look for the Buckeyes to work the edges with the run game, again run variations of tight zone to confuse the odd front defensive end, and use plenty of mesh and deep shots against man coverage. It could be another big day for J.T. Barrett and his wide receivers.
The Maryland offense will provide a stiffer challenge than in recent weeks. The Terrapins will likely seek to confuse and get the Buckeyes' over-aggressive linebackers out of position with run-pass options and split zone action -- where the Y-off blocks away from the zone blocking scheme to open cutback lanes -- to free their stellar running back Ty Johnson. Ohio State may give up some plays, but look for the Buckeyes to be able to limit Maryland's scoring opportunities by continuing to be more sound in coverage, led by boundary safety Jordan Fuller. Ohio State 45 Maryland 17
Kirk Barton - Staff Writer/Former Captain
Things are starting to click for the good guys. Our soft spot of the schedule is beginning to ramp up with an improved Maryland team that shocked most of college football by going to Austin and beating Tom Herman in his Longhorns debut. DJ Durkin is a guy who has long been revered by Coach Meyer and is turning around a program that hasn’t been good in forever. However, they are down to their third string QB versus the toughest team they will face all season in the Buckeyes. Hence, this will get ugly.
Offensively, JT Barrett is on pace to be the most maligned player to ever be invited to the Heisman ceremony. Our offense has been the most diverse in recent memory since our Oklahoma defeat, and JT’s confidence in his WRs has grown. I know most people credit the soft schedule, but you still have to put the points up. We used to play terrible teams during the Tressel era and barely win, so I like that we are scoring in droves the way we should. Demario McCall showing off his dazzling speed last week was a nice add to our now three headed monster at tailback, and that depth comes very handy during the longer college football season.
Defensively, our defensive line continues to be stellar. Jalyn Holmes moving inside has continued to help us and will while Dre’Mont is out. In addition, our secondary and linebacker play has improved as guys have settled down and gained confidence as new starters. Versus Maryland, getting after the quarterback will be critical to forcing three and outs. If our DL gets after the new QB early, then these games tend to snowball. UCF ran it up on them, and we are wayyy better than UCF. Ohio State 56 Maryland 10
Colin Gay - Staff Writer
One of the main things that the Ohio State defense has to watch out for is the Maryland rushing attack. Averaging 5.7 yards per carry, the Terrapins, led by running back Ty Johnson who has rushed for over 100 yards in three of his four games this season, are No. 3 in the Big Ten averaging 233.5 rushing yards per game.
After a stellar week one performance against Indiana, the rush defense has been just average. Even if you take out the 259 yards that Army West Point rushed against the Buckeyes, Ohio State has given up at least 100 yards rushing in their last four games played, giving up four touchdowns.
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However, with this rushing attack and a third-string quarterback leading the passing game, the Maryland offense could become one dimensional very quickly.
On the offensive side of the ball, Ohio State should not have any issues. J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber lead a rush offense that is No. 1 in the Big Ten while quarterback J.T. Barrett look to abuse a Maryland pass defense that has been good in recent weeks, but gave up 375 yards to Texas in the first game of the season.
This game should not be any issue for Ohio State. It should be the third straight week where the Buckeyes beat their opponent by at least 30 points. Ohio State 49, Maryland 14
Nick McWilliams - Staff Writer
My prediction from last week was a bit off the mark.
I foolishly expected Ohio State to regress a little, while expecting far too much from a completely overpowered Rutgers team.
With that in mind, take anything prediction on this end with a grain of salt. Maryland and Rutgers are two vastly different teams, and that will be apparent on Saturday.
Injured starter and backup or not, the Maryland passing game has been a surprise so far. Although newfound starter Max Bortenschlager is only averaging 5.18 yards per attempt, the Terrapins moved the ball efficiently and mistake free with him at the helm against Minnesota.
The 38-10 loss to UCF does show a problem with Maryland's offense. The Knights racked up five sacks in the win, and I would pay anyone to find a way to put the UCF defensive line in the same ranking as Ohio State's.
Bortenschlager will most likely be running for his life against the Buckeyes, and that rarely proves to be an effective way of moving an offense — just ask Kyle Bolin and Johnathan Lewis.
As for Maryland's defense, the Terrapins are allowing a ghastly 403 yards and 34.3 points per game to opposing teams. Those are not encouraging numbers when facing an Ohio State team who's offense has been on the uptrend, and has ripped off an avergae of over 550 yards per game.
J.T. Barrett, J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber and a whole slew of other players on the offense got some extra rest after being pulled early from the blowout win last Saturday, and could be doing the same against Maryland.
This one should show that Maryland is a far superior team to Rutgers, by a far inferior team to Ohio State. I doubted the spread earlier this week, but it looks more and more tempting as the days roll by. Ohio State 48 Maryland 14
NevadaBuck - Bringer of Nuggets
The Terps are coming to the Shoe as an improved bunch that shell-shocked Texas Week One. Texas defensively couldn't stop a nose bleed and the shootout style of the game is something the Buckeyes won't worry about. I look for Kevin Wilson's offense to continue to evolve as we race towards Penn State.
Mike Weber and JT Barrett will continue to lead an offense that is as deep as we have seen. Sprinkle in JK Dobbins and Parris Campbell and you've got speed to burn. Up front, Billy Price has lead a VASTLY improved OL, with Brandon Bowen emerging as a thumper at guard. We will keep building depth, as I expect reserves to get hefty playing time.
Defensively, our secondary will continue to improve versus a better offense than the last two we've seen. Tuf Borland will continue to rack up tackles and stay in the lead at Mike linebacker. Up from Sam Hubbard will notch two more sacks and be in the running for Big Ten Defensive Player of the year. Ohio State 55 Maryland 10
Doug DiLillo - Social Media
It has been a long and hard voyage through noncompetitive land. For what seems like an eternity since Oklahoma, Ohio State has bludgeoned inferior opponents as the media and fans try to take little bits of evidence from each game to determine if the Buckeyes are a better team now than they were one month ago. Maryland, much like Rutgers, UNLV and Army before them will be another week where OSU will look to fine-tune their offense and show they are improved in the passing game.
OSU’s offense has looked better, no denying that, but we will continue to wait to see if it is a mirage until PSU rolls into town. Until then, I think OSU has another big day full of stat-stuffing performances. Maryland’s defense isn’t good, giving up an average of 30 a game and that means JT will come out and feast. The all-time leading passer in OSU history will add to his record and throw a bunch of touchdowns. On the ground, I think OSU continues to transition back to Mike Weber as he is full go. Expect Mike to have his first 100-yard game of the season.
Maryland is starting their 3rd string QB, so unless Cardale suits up Saturday, Maryland will have their hands full with OSU. They do have some reliable playmakers on offense, including Ty Johnson at RB and DJ Moore at WR. If they didn’t have the injuries at the helm, I think Maryland might be the 5th best team in the Big Ten this year. We will see if they can find a way to compete with OSU and show their season can still go in a positive direction. The Buckeyes eat all the Maryland crab cakes they want in a beat down. Ohio State 55 Maryland 10
Fake Urban Meyer - @FakeUrban
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that’s how I feel about the Maryland football program. This awful ACC outcast of a team is really trying hard to make its mark on the Big Ten and national scene but they have a long, long way to go. Sure, they beat Texas. Not even Tom Herman could scrape enough Pixie dust from the floor to beat Maryland. But we all know this isn’t your father’s Texas. Some of you might respond with, “But Fake Urban. They beat Minnesota on Golden Gopher turf.” So??? And then those wacky Terrapin turtle things are winning with their third-string quarterback! We know that only works with ONE program in the country (ahem).
Maryland will be cute and make things interesting for a little bit while proving they’re not Stupid Rutgers but my improving defense will again rule the day. Combined that with amazeballs special teams and an improving offense, we will win our third straight bye week (UNLV, Stupid Rutgers and Maryland) before we travel to Nebraska next week. Happy Homecoming! Ohio State 42 Maryland 13