Observations on Saturday’s Ohio State-Maryland game by Joey Kaufman:
The game at hand
• Short Attention Span Summary: A trap game, not a tuneup game, before The Game. A third-string running back set the tone on offense and sparked a turnaround in the second half. The defensive line closed late. The Buckeyes remained on a collision course with Michigan.
OSU Headline Newsletter:Sign up for the Ohio State Sports Insider text group featuring Dispatch reporters
• Buzz before the game: Would the road trip match Ohio State’s last visit to College Park in 2018? During the trip four years ago, which also happened the weekend before a clash with arch-rivals Michigan, the Buckeyes worked overtime surviving a scare from Maryland. Circumstances pointed to the potential for more excitement.
• Spread the wealth? Picking the buckeyes to cover big spreads on the street has been treacherous territory over the past month. For the third time in four weeks, they were at least two touchdown favorites outside of Columbus, this time 26.5-point favorites over the Terrapins, and couldn’t win by that large a margin. An Oct. 8 win at Michigan State remains the only time they’ve played in a road game this fall.
• Strategically speaking: The consistency of freshman running back Dallan Hayden allowed the Buckeyes to keep the ball on the ground for much of the second half as they held a 71/29 run-pass split in the final two quarters, compared to a 42 /58 split from the first two. CJ Stroud only had six shots each in the third and fourth quarters.
- That’s how the team sees it: We are through. Now we’re finally getting a crack in Michigan.
- How the playoff committee will see this: An ugly victory, but no better than that of the other frontrunners.
- As Buckeye Nation will see it: Will our pass defense hold up against another top-notch quarterback?
Hey, what did Ryan Day say?
- What he said: “There have been times this year where we’ve won on style points and we’ve won big, but there will be games where we don’t jump out like we like to.”
- What it means: Style points are impermanent.
You said so
- pre-game chatter: Urban Meyer on the danger of going up against Maryland: “You have good enough athletes that if Ohio State comes out flat…if they come out stumbling around a bit, Maryland is good enough to be in that game.” It could turn into a track meeting.”
- talking heads: “I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I’ve been listening to a lot of Ohio State podcasts this week, and I don’t think I’ve heard the word ‘Maryland’ once.” ABC’s Greg McElroy on Ohio State supporters who don’t realize how dangerous Maryland can be.
Numbers for dummies
1: Total yards The Buckeyes were surpassed by Maryland, who finished with 402.
1.7: Average yards per carry for TreVeyon Henderson, a career low.
27: Contributes for Dallan Hayden, most of an Ohio State running game in a game this season.
5: Sacks by Ohio State’s defense, matching its high of the season.
72: Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa’s completion percentage, a season-worst for the Buckeyes defense.
7: Passing plays of 15 yards or more are allowed by the state of Ohio.
9: Number of Terrapins that caught at least one pass from Tagovailoa.
11: Penalties imposed by the state of Ohio, the highest since it was imposed on Maryland 13 times in 2019.
3: Halftime down for the Buckeyes, only the third time this season they were down at the end of the first half.
The game is here. Michigan is next week. The 118thth The meeting between the legendary rivals is as anticipated as any in recent memory. Bear in mind that it will only be 12th time they have met while both ranked in the top five in the Associated Press poll, and the first time they have met as undefeated teams since 2006’s “Game of the Century.” Both needed to avoid disappointment on Saturday for the build-up to continue.