12 Games Of Christmas: Maryland

In celebration of the holiday season as well as Ohio State’s appearance in the College Football Playoff, we’re counting down the 12 wins that made it possible, continuing with the first Big Ten game vs. Maryland.

Oct. 4: No. 20 Ohio State 52, Maryland 24
College Park, Md.
Box Score

Quick Recap: Maryland entered with a solid 4-1 mark and solid stats but the Buckeyes romped on the road to open Big Ten play with a victory. The Buckeyes scored on their first two drives on a short TD plunge by Roderick Smith and a pass from J.T. Barrett to Jalin Marshall and never looked back, pushing the lead to 31-10 by halftime and never trailing by less than three scores from there. Barrett threw for four touchdowns and ran for another while Ezekiel Elliott finished with 139 yards rushing, and Ohio State forced two Maryland quarterbacks into a combined four interceptions – one of which Raekwon McMillan returned for a TD – and posted three sacks while limiting Stefon Diggs to just 52 yards receiving.

Urban Said: “I’m very pleased with our performance today. I know it wasn’t perfect, and obviously that’s what you strive to be, but we’re not. Today, going against a team that was 4-1, a team that we have a lot of respect for and very good athletes that showed they can make some plays today, probably the phase that I was most pleased with was the return yards were minimal. That kickoff team, they're my guys, man. Maybe put them in first class on the way home tonight. That's how much respect I have for those guys. I just love who they are. I love their demeanor and how they answer challenges. And then our punter kind of changed the momentum of the game, too. I was very impressed with our coverage units.

“The other thing that we worked hard on was the noon kickoff on the road. We put them in bed at 9 o’clock last night, challenged them all week about the early kickoff, and our coaches did a good job of getting their units ready to go.”

Plays of the Game: Ohio State’s fast start looked to be crumbling a bit late in the second as Maryland scored a TD to cut the Buckeye lead to 24-10 then forced a punt, but a three-plan span completely changed the game in favor of OSU. First, Cameron Johnston boomed a punt that was downed at the Maryland 7. On the next play, Maryland QB C.J. Brown was pressured by Joey Bosa and picked off by Darron Lee, who fumbled the return only to see McMillan pick it up and return it to the 1. A play later, Barrett found Nick Vannett open for a score, and the romp was on from there.

Player of the Game: Barrett made 15 touchdowns in a three-game span with his five-TD effort. His stumbling 9-yard TD run capped off an impressive day that included a picture-perfect throw to Devin Smith down the seam early in the second half that really buried the Terrapins. On the day, Barrett piloted an offense that totaled 533 yards, and he went 18 for 23 with 267 yards with no interceptions, and the redshirt freshman ran for 71 yards as well.

What Was Accomplished: Ohio State opened Big Ten play with a win, but more than that, the Buckeyes showed that they were yet again superior to most of the league. Maryland entered with some fanfare as a veteran team and had romped over Indiana the week before, but Ohio State went on the road and never trailed on the way to a dominating win.

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