Buckeye Breakdown: Ohio State Romps Vs. Terps

Ohio State had a lot working as it pulled away to a 52-24 win against Maryland on Saturday in the Big Ten opener. BSB takes a look at how each of Urban Meyer's units did and what we learned in the victory against the Terrapins.

Breaking Down The…

Ohio State run offense: After rushing for 182 yards against Cincinnati, Ezekiel Elliott picked up right where he left off in the Big Ten opener. For the second straight week No. 15 was the workhorse for Ohio State’s offense with a team-high 24 attempts and once again he didn’t lose a yard all day, finishing with 139. The offensive line consistently got a strong push and Elliott did a nice job of hitting the hole. J.T. Barrett also had a nice day on the ground with 71 yards (hurt by 28 lost yards on sacks) and an impressive touchdown run in the fourth quarter, but Barrett did misread a few option plays. Overall, 269 yards on the ground on 53 attempts is another big success for the Buckeye running game. -- Blake Williams

Ohio State pass offense: Maybe a controversial statement -- I didn't think, battling a strong wind whipping through Byrd Stadium -- that J.T. Barrett was especially accurate on the day. If he had put a few more passes on the money, he would have improved upon his 18-for-23, 267-yard, four-touchdown showing. Of course, that's pretty damn good as it is, and he was helped out, too, in particular by one of the best TD catches of the past few years by Mike Thomas. Corey Smith also showed some nice shake after we've heard about his skills for the past year or so, and Devin Smith hauled in yet another deep TD. On a day in which the passing game was really good, it also showed it has room to keep growing. -- Jeff Svoboda

Ohio State run defense: The defensive line played to its typically high level, but the Buckeyes were also aided by a linebacking corps that had a lot of success in stopping the run. The Terrapins ran the ball on about one-third of their plays, and when they did it didn’t go particularly well. Maryland went to the ground 24 times and managed to gain just 66 yards, an average of 2.8 yards per carry. Those numbers were diminished by the fact that Maryland racked up 27 yards worth of negative carries, 17 of which came on sacks, but even without that the Terps wouldn’t have hit the 100-yard mark. Maryland did score on a pair of runs but both came from 2 yards out. Its inability to successfully run the ball led to an inability to sustain drives, especially early in the game. All but one of Maryland’s first eight drives lasted six or fewer plays, and four of those were three and out. Without the ability to move the chains and bleed the clock, the Terrapins worked themselves into a hole from which they were unable to crawl out. -- Ryan Ginn

Ohio State pass defense: For the most part, the Buckeyes passed this test, but there were some nervous moments. Twice on the first drive there were holes in the Ohio State coverage, but the Terrapins weren’t able to take advantage. Later they did when backup quarterback Caleb Rowe hit Jacquille Veii, who wasn’t picked up by Cam Burrows on a smash route, for a 60-yard gain. One play later, Rowe hit Stefon Diggs for a 4-yard touchdown. A pair of pass interference penalties (one declined) and a spectacular 25-yard catch by Marcus Leak while well-covered along the sideline also marred the day, but overall the Buckeyes took a step forward against another potent attack as they allowed 244 yards on 40 attempts by the two quarterbacks. Four interceptions were also big for the Buckeyes. -- Marcus Hartman

What We Learned…

Ryan Ginn: xThis team might be developing a bit of a nasty streak. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said that sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a team will be ready for a game that kicks off at noon, but that wasn’t the case today. Defensive lineman Joey Bosa said he could feel a different energy in the locker room before the game, and his offensive counterparts said they relished the chance to step on an opponent’s throat once they got off to a fast start. Today, there won’t be any headlines about Ohio State “holding off” an inferior opponent. The Terrapins were never in the game to begin with.

Marcus Hartman: Ohio State is pretty good and should keep getting better. Nothing is guaranteed in life or college football, but the Buckeyes go into their second open week of the season on an upward trajectory after throttling Maryland to begin Big Ten play. The Buckeyes have the explosiveness on both sides of the ball to be an elite team, as evidenced by not only 52 points but three different players logging a run of over 20 yards and five different players having a catch of more than 20 yards. Defensively, the pass rush was effective, and they took the ball away four times. There are still execution issues to be worked out on both sides, but the talent is there and it is young.

Jeff Svoboda: That J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott are Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde for a new generation. It looked that way last week -- heck, our intern even wrote a story that said that -- but the message was driven home again vs. the Terrapins. The two made the offense go against Maryland, with Barrett accounting for 338 yards and five touchdowns while Elliott ran for 139 yards on 24 totes. Barrett and Elliott get the job done in different ways than Miller and Hyde, but they do it just as effectively.

Blake Williams: The Buckeyes' defense can make big plays consistently. Entering the game I thought that the OSU defense would continue to improve, but I didn’t see the wealth of big plays. The Buckeyes picked off Maryland four times and three of those lead to scores. Three sacks and six tackles for loss showed me the Ohio State front line can take care of business as well.

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