Ohio State survives the Maryland scare but remains undefeated for Michigan

Furious. It wasn’t easy, but Ohio State remains unbeaten with a narrower-than-expected 43-30 win Saturday in College Park, Maryland.

Apparently every top team in the College Football Playoff rankings felt like giving their fans heart attacks on Saturday. Michigan and TCU needed last-minute field goals to win, Georgia looked tense against Kentucky, and Ohio State had to weather a Maryland team with nothing to lose away from home.

But that’s okay. Despite what the national media and fanbases of other teams may say, winning a championship isn’t easy, and sometimes you have to walk through the mud to get a chance to play for some pretty special things on dry land.

The Buckeyes found themselves in that precarious spot on Saturday when the offense stuttered a little in the first half and Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa played hot, giving OSU everything they could handle.

Ohio State started with a 77-yard drive to start the game 7-0 and it looked like the machine was turning. After that, however, the Buckeye ground game ran into more problems and the passing game was off just enough to throw a wrench into the mechanics of everything. The Buckeyes went into the half 13-10, rushing for just 28 yards and looking for answers.

Then Dallan Hayden happened.

With running back TreVeyon Henderson limping and was pulled out again with a foot injury, Hayden made the best of it. As he hit the holes faster and ran downhill, the OSU offense began to click. The freshman running back finished the game with 27 carries for 146 yards and three touchdowns — the vast majority of them in the second half. It led to Ohio State scoring 34 points after coming out of the locker room.

The big momentum changer of the second half, however, came on the defensive end when Lathan Ransome came around the end of the line and aimed for a punt block that led to one of Hayden’s points to put OSU ahead early in the second half.

But thanks to Tagovailoa’s performances, it almost wasn’t enough. He finished the game 26 of 36 for 293 yards and two touchdowns, keeping the plays alive and bringing the team on their backs during a hugely entertaining game. And after OSU milked the clock and threw a field goal to move up six points, Tagovailoa had another shot with less than a minute to go, but the OSU defense came out big again.

Zach Harrison beat his man and got to Tagovailoa and forced the ball in the air for Steele Chambers, who snatched it out of the air and carried it into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

With the win we can talk about it now. Ohio State and Michigan will both go into The Game unbeaten and likely both be in the top three in the CFP rankings. The stakes are high and we have plenty of coverage for you before, during and after the clash of titans in Columbus.

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