COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The big boys in the Big Ten again reminded Maryland just how far the Terrapins must go to rebuild their football program. No. 5 Ohio State laid a 62-3 beat down on Maryland Saturday in a game that wrapped up with mostly Buckeye boosters in attendance at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.
Now mired in a three-game losing streak, the Terrapins (5-5, 2-5 in the Big Ten), didn’t have many answers after the worst Big Ten defeat – for the second straight week – in Maryland history.
“When it’s 35-3, and you see the entire crowd leaving, then as a player it’s definitely pretty tough to go out there with the same energy as you do when it’s 0-0 at the beginning of the game,” said senior offensive tackle Michael Dunn. “That’s what our coaches kept telling us. ‘Just go out there like it’s 0-0.’”
Coupled with last week’s 59-3 loss at Michigan, it marks Maryland’s worst back-to-back defeats ever. The previous worsts were the 70-7 loss to Penn State in 1993, followed by the 38-0 defeat at Georgia Tech the following week. Many Marylanders remember those. Before that, though, try the school record, a 50-0 setback at St. John’s of Annapolis in Maryland’s first football game in 1892, followed by a 62-0 defeat at the hands of Johns Hopkins.
“There’s a lot to improve from looking at that game,” Maryland coach DJ Durkin said of Saturday night’s debacle, not the 1993 or 1892 games. “I just told the team that there’s a lot to play for this season. We’ve had some really good moments in this season. There are some great things that have gone on. Obviously it factors in the level of competition we’ve played the last couple of weeks, but we’ve kind of lost our way ourselves.”
The Terrapins were down 21-3 at the end of the first quarter, and then 35-3 at the half, again squandering a first half scoring opportunity that could have helped the shaky team’s confidence early. Defensively, the Terrapins did their part for J.T. Barrett’s Heisman campaign, allowing him to throw for 253 yards and two scores, and rush for 47 yards and two more touchdowns.
The Buckeyes (9-1, 6-1) won for the third straight week and look like a national playoff team. They churned out 581 yards of total offense, meaning the last three Maryland opponents have combined for 1,891 yards and 163 points.
“Our defense certainly has to play better no matter who we’re playing,” said Durkin. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We have to get better. There are young guys that are hurt, I don’t know it’s just all excuses. We have to play better. We have to play harder. Play faster. Tackle better. Get stops. We’re not getting off the field right now.”
The defense didn’t get much help from an offense that racked up a season low 176 yards, and failed to convert on 14 of 15 third downs and three of five fourth downs. The Buckeyes strung out wide runs, sniffed out screens and pressured all three Maryland quarterbacks.
“They just played really well, you could tell that they’re a really well-coached team,” said Dunn of the Ohio State defense. “They were very prepared to play us and we’ve just got to do a better job.”
The Terrapins lost quarterback Perry Hills on the second offensive series, Hills taking a hit on his left shoulder that forced him out of the game for good, the fourth time that has happened this season. “It’s definitely rough, you hate seeing it,” said Dunn. “Perry is a great kid. He has been through a lot. Hopefully he’ll be good to go for Nebraska (next week), and hopefully we’ll be good as an offensive line to get him through the game.”
The Terrapins play at No. 21 Nebraska next week, still looking for that elusive sixth win and bowl eligibility.
The Early Opportunity Missed
After Maryland’s first defensive stop of the Buckeyes in the first quarter, senior Caleb Rowe came on in relief of the injured Hills and took the Terrapins 76 yards in 13 plays, but could net only a field goal. Adam Greene hit a 23-yarder at 2:03 to make it 14-3, a disappointment after the Terps had first-and-goal at the three.
Rowe hit 5-of-7 passes for 72 yards on the march, including a big 37-yard play action strike to Levern Jacobs that took the ball to the three. Wes Brown was stopped for no gain on first down. Rowe had to throw the ball away on second down, and then on third down, Rowe was stopped inside the one on a QB draw. Replay confirmed the ruling, though Durkin still wasn’t sure why Rowe, his chest and the ball in the end zone, didn’t get the touchdown.
“I saw a replay and it looked (like a touchdown) to me, too,” said Durkin. “No, I didn’t get a complete explanation on that.”
After a timeout, Maryland had a false start penalty and settled for the field goal.
And like good teams do, Ohio State made the Terrapins pay for not cashing in, Barrett orchestrating a quick five-play scoring drive. Hybrid WR/RB Curtis Samuel drew a pass interference on Alvin Hill to move the ball to the Terrapin 36, and then on the next play, Barrett hit Samuel over Hill for a 36-yard score and a 21-3 lead with just 21 seconds left in the first period.
“We didn’t take advantage of opportunities that we had,” added Durkin. “When we got down to the goal line we didn’t convert it to a touchdown. We had a penalty there on fourth-and-one. If you’re going to play with a team or beat a team like that, you have to take advantage of the opportunities. We didn’t.”
Samuel was a thorn in Maryland’s side all day with five receptions for 74 yards and that score, and four rushes for 38 yards and two more touchdowns. Barrett was 13-of-17 for his 192 yards passing, before giving way to backup Joe Burrow midway through the third quarter.
“He’s a very good quarterback,” said Maryland safety Darnell Savage, Jr., of Barrett, who left the Maryland defense scratching its head. “He’s smart and he saw some things. We’re going to watch film and see what those were.”
The Terrapins next went three-and-out, and Ohio State went 63 yards in eight plays to make it 28-3 at 11:08 when Barrett rushed in from a yard. Another pass interference, this one in the end zone, had moved the ball to the two. Barrett accounted for 40 yards on the drive running or passing.
Rowe hit Teldrick Morgan for 12 yards to get the Terrapins off to a good start the next possession, but then he was sacked, His 10 yard scramble and a 6-yard pass to Morgan set up a fourth-and-one. Brown was stopped for no gain, running wide on fourth down.
The beleaguered Maryland defense returned the favor, though, stopping the Buckeyes on a fourth-and-two, Roman Braglio standing up Barrett and then helped by a host of a teammates to turn the ball back over 7:40 before the half.
On the next play, Rowe, under duress, was intercepted, cornerback Marshon Lattimore walking the tight rope on the sideline at the OSU 46.
Rowe would finish 7-of-13 for 93 yards and with that interception. Terrapin coaches started freshman Tyrrell Pigrome in the second half to get him more game experience. He was 7-of-11 for 44 yards, and also rushed for 14 yards despite two sacks.
Morgan led the Terrapins with seven catches for 56 yards. Ty Johnson, who was a question mark earlier in the week with an undisclosed injury, led the meager ground attack (a season low 43 yards) with 21 yards on eight carries. Jake Funk had 13 yards on four rushes, and also caught three passes for 19 yards.
After Rowe’s interception, Ohio State made it 35-3 when Samuel scored on a reverse from four yards 4:08 before the half.
Rowe was sacked again on the next possession, but Wade Lees got off a 47-yard punt. It didn’t matter, Barrett soon hit a wide-open Dontre Wilson for 33 yards. On the next play, Barrett found Wilson for an 8-yard score and a 42-3 lead at 2:10. Brown then fumbled for Maryland, setting up a Tyler Durbin 45-yard field goal with 49 seconds left before a merciful intermission.
The Buckeyes amassed 363 yards and 20 first downs in the first half. Maryland had 94 yards and five firsts.
Digging An Early Hole
The Terrapins had won the toss and deferred their choice to the second half. That decision looked good when Ohio State got a holding penalty on the first play of the game, but a pass interference on J.C. Jackson on the second play negated the early edge. From there, the Buckeyes went on to mount a 7-play, 71-yard drive that culminated in Samuel’s untouched 2-yard scoring run around right end at 11:28 of the first quarter.
Maryland’s offense, even with Hills back at quarterback after getting knocked out last week, too, didn’t fare as well. Hills’ first pass was caught by Johnson for a 4-yard loss, and then back-to-back passes to D.J. Moore went incomplete to force Maryland to punt.
This time the Buckeyes zipped 56 yards in just four plays, running back Mike Weber busting off a 25-yard run, and then two plays later, Barrett keeping on the option and scoring from four yards at 9:29 to make it 14-0. Weber led all rushers with 12 carries for 93 yards.
Hills was sacked on the next Maryland possession, and on third down injured his left shoulder on a run as he was tackled hard into the turf. Lees shanked a 29-yard punt, but the Maryland defense came up big. Cavon Walker teamed with Shane Cockerille for a sack of Barrett, and then Walker batted down Barrett’s third-down pass.
Savage led the defense with 10 tackles, including nine solo stops.
Pigrome took over at quarterback to start the second half. Johnson rushed twice to pick up a first down and then Piggy hit Morgan for six yards. His 3-yard rush set up a fourth-and-one, and for the second time, Maryland was stopped. Kenneth Goins, Jr. threw back for no gain at the 49-yard line.
Barrett hit Demario McCall out of the backfield for a 32-yard gain, but Ohio State settled for Durbin’s 34-yard field goal to make it 48-3 at 12:23 of the third quarter. Ohio State tagged on a three-yard scoring run by McCall at 5:43 of the period, culminating an 81-yard drive. Burrow hit Victor Binjimen on a 25-yard touchdown pass with just 9:30 to play to put the final points on the board.
The Buckeyes beat then 10th-ranked Wisconsin by the same score last week, and 62 isn’t the most points they’ve scored this year. OSU beat Bowling Green 77-10 in the season-opener.
Maryland suffered another loss before this one even started. Less than an hour before kickoff, it was announced that three Maryland players – running back Lorenzo Harrison, receiver D.J. Turner and linebacker Antoine Brooks had been suspended for a violation of Maryland’s athletic code of conduct. Durkin said the situation was still under review so there’s no word on the duration of the discipline at this point.
The Buckeyes boasted a good portion of the 48,090 in attendance, and a majority of the fans left by the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got to keep fighting, get ourselves out of it,” said Dunn of the losing streak. “We’ve got a big game next week (at Nebraska), a great opportunity to beat a really good team and get that sixth win. We can’t focus too much on this losing streak we’re on. We need to focus on getting back to our old ways and getting a win.”
“We have to keep rallying around each other and get the result we want,” said Morgan.