The Terps take on Ohio State Nov. 12 at 3:30 p.m. in Maryland Stadium, and to gain more insight into the Buckeyes, we spoke to BuckeyeSports.com writer James Grega. Our question-and-answer session is below:
Terrapin Times: The last time Ohio State came to Maryland, there were a large contingent of OSU fans who headed down to College Park for the game. Do you expect the masses to travel down from Ohio once again for this game? Is there any buzz surrounding this game, or is the focus mainly on Michigan to end the regular season?
James Grega: With Ohio State still in the playoff hunt, and with the Buckeyes coming off a big win over Nebraska, I would not be shocked to see OSU fans flock to Maryland for this game. Ohio State fans travel very well and are still confident their team can make the playoff. If the CFP were out of the discussion I think you would see less Buckeye fans there. The buzz is still hovering from last week's win, but make no mistake the players and coaches are focusing on the Terps. The mantra all week has been that if they lose this week, the win over the Huskers will have been for nothing.
TT: Ohio State looks to be back on track (it's a relative term) and hitting its stride after the big win against Nebraska. What clicked against Nebraska, and is this team now ready to make a run?
JG: What clicked is simply the passing game. The running game has never been the issue for this team. The downfield passing game however has been an adventure all season. However, J.T. Barrett nearly hit 300 yards passing against one of the best secondaries in the country, and if Ohio State can keep that up, they will be hard to beat.
TT: There's still some contention in Terps Country over losing two 2016 commits to Ohio State in KeAndre Jones and Dwayne Haskins. How are they doing as freshmen in Columbus, and has Urban Meyer or anyone said anything about them? Also, how's Isaiah Prince, another former Terp target, faring?
JG: KeAndre Jones has seen some time in mop up duty, so he will not be redshirting this season. As for Dwayne Haskins, a redshirt year is all but a certainty unless the unthinkable should happen again to the OSU QB unit. Isaiah Prince earned the starting right tackle job in the fall and has started there ever since, but struggled mightily against Penn State. He has shown improvement since the loss, but some would probably say Prince is the weak spot along the Ohio State offensive line.
TT: How is Maryland viewed in Buckeye Nation with D.J. Durkin at the helm? Are the Terps seen as more of a program on the come up since Durkin had success as a DC at Michigan and Florida and seems to be putting together a good recruiting class?
JG: Maryland is quite frankly viewed as a basketball school by most in Columbus. D.J. Durkin is a respected coach around here, having coached under Urban Meyer and having put together a winning record so far, has definitely caught Ohio State's eye. The Buckeyes are not likely to take the Terps lightly, especially with so much hanging in the balance for Ohio State in terms of the playoff.
TT: When Ohio State has lost or not played as well, what's gone wrong? How can this team be knocked off?
JG: The downfield passing game has been Ohio State's Achilles' heel ever since a 38-17 win over Indiana. Teams that have had success have taken the long ball away and forced Barrett to throw the ball into tight windows underneath, something he struggled with until the Nebraska game. If Maryland can clog the middle and get pressure on Barrett, they have a chance to compete and hang with the Buckeyes.