COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — CJ Stroud and Ohio State have been waiting a year for this.
Now it’s time to face Michigan – and after more fighting than usual this weekend, the Buckeyes and Wolverines will indeed be undefeated when they meet next weekend.
Dallan Hayden scored three touchdowns in the second half of No. 2 Ohio State’s 43-30 win over Maryland on Saturday. The Buckeyes and No. 3 Michigan have cleared their final hurdles, and now Ohio State will seek to avenge last season’s loss to the Wolverines — the first in the series in a decade.
“We’ve been licking our wounds for 365 days, hearing all the laughter, everything everyone’s saying,” said Ohio State star quarterback Stroud. “I definitely think we’ve prepared for that, not just on the field but in the weight room.”
Just before Ohio State (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten, No. 2 CFP) and Maryland (6-5, 3-5) kicked off, Michigan got the better of Illinois to a late field goal. The Buckeyes then had many problems of their own against the Terrapins. Ohio State was down 13-10 at halftime and the Buckeyes were only 33-30 up when they turned the ball over at the Maryland 42 with 6-36 in the game.
However, Ohio State forced a three-and-out, and then the Buckeyes ran out most of the remaining time. Noah Ruggles kicked in a 45-yard field goal with 42 seconds left and Steele Chambers added a defensive touchdown with 9 seconds left.
“Of course we never settle for defeat, but what you saw today is that we’re going head-to-head against a team that I think are one of the best in the country,” said Maryland coach Michael Locksley.
Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, whose Fumble Chambers scored, was injured that game and walked away very slowly.
Hayden finished with 146 yards on 27 carries.
TreVeyon Henderson returned after missing Ohio State’s last two games while injured. He caught an early 31-yard touchdown pass from Stroud but only managed 19 yards on 11 carries.
“It got to the point where we just decided we weren’t going to use him anymore,” said coach Ryan Day.
Day said Henderson had a great week of practice and the team will continue to evaluate him. Day is hoping running back Miyan Williams will be back next week after leaving the game with a leg injury last weekend.
Tagovailoa completed his first 11 passes, and although the Terps were content with a couple of field goals early on in the red zone, they went in 13-10 after a 1-yard TD catch from CJ Dippre with 3:52 left lead at halftime.
This was a far cry from the previous two Ohio State-Maryland encounters, which the Buckeyes won 73-14 and 66-17 — though it wasn’t quite as staggering for them as their 52-51 overtime win over the Terps in 2018. This game also took place the week before they faced Michigan.
A blocked punt set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Hayden and gave the Buckeyes a 17-13 advantage in the third.
“I love the way we lined up tonight, even if it wasn’t pretty,” Stroud said. “I don’t think many games today were nice.”
Hayden’s second touchdown made it 27-13, but Maryland responded with Tagovailoa’s 5-yard scoring run plus a 2-point conversion. After another TD run from Hayden, Jakorian returned Bennett a blocked extra point for two points, making the score 33-23.
Tagovailoa threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeshaun Jones to cut the lead to three with 9:49 left.
THE TAKE AWAY
Ohio State: This was the second-highest scoring the Buckeyes have conceded this season, surpassed only in their 44-31 win over Penn State, but Ohio State escaped down the road and showed they have enough depth to run back, no matter how healthy Henderson is, it’s next weekend.
Maryland: The improvement in terps this year may not be reflected in their final balance sheet. They played hard in a 34-27 loss to Michigan in September and were within an Ohio State field goal with a minute left. It’s their two losses before this one – to Wisconsin and Penn State by a combined 53-10 – that will leave a sour taste.
Tagovailoa became Maryland’s career leader with 7,316 passing yards. He passed Scott Milanovich (7,301) and took the top spot.
He didn’t sound too concerned about his late injury.
“My knee is good,” he said. “Obviously it bothered me all season but I think it just hit the ground really hard. I think it’s just a bad bruise.”
Ohio State: The Buckeyes host Michigan next Saturday, and the winner advances to the Big Ten title game.
Maryland: The Terrapins host Rutgers to end the regular season.
Follow Noah Trister below https://twitter.com/noahtrister
AP College Football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2