Game Matchup: Ohio State Vs. Maryland

Ohio State returns to the field to take on struggling Maryland. See facts, figures, stats, matchups and a prediction in this week's Game Matchup story.

Maryland at No. 1 Ohio State

Matchup Preview  |  Oct. 10, Ohio Stadium, Noon, BTN.
vs.
Maryland Terrapins (2-3, 0-1)
Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0)

Five Fast Facts About Maryland
1. Maryland is playing its sixth all-time game against the nation's No. 1 team, holding a 2-3 record in such contests. They haven't played a top-ranked team since Florida State in 1999, a 49-10 loss.

2. Maryland last defeated a defending national champion 31 years ago, beating Miami on Nov. 10, 1984. Maryland trailed 31-0 at halftime before Frank Reich led the comeback in a 42-40 win.

3. The Terrapins are fourth in the nation in sacks per game with 3.8, while junior defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has 1.3 sacks per game.

4. Maryland has lost three defensive starters to injuries this season including linebacker Jefferson Ashiru, who went down vs. Michigan. Also gone are sophomore defensive tackle David Shaw, who started the first four games, as well as sophomore linebacker Abner Logan, who was injured in preseason.

5. Punt return man William Likely is the only player in the nation this year with two punt return scores and broke a 76-year-old Big Ten record in the team's opener with 223 return yards.

Game Breakdown
OHIO STATE RUSH OFFENSE vs. MARYLAND RUSH DEFENSE
Teams have ground out yards against Maryland this year, rushing more than 45 times per game. That hasn’t necessarily resulted in the most efficient of yards – teams are averaging 4.4 yards per carry, solid but not spectacular by any means – but it has allowed teams to rack up 199.8 yards per game. West Virginia rolled up 304 yards on the Terps, including 5.2 yards per carry, and Michigan had 198 on the day Oct. 3. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s rushing attack got healthy some in the win at Indiana, and it appears the Buckeyes might have found something when it comes to the aggressive schemes teams have used against the team this year. EDGE: OHIO STATE

MARYLAND RUSH OFFENSE vs. OHIO STATE RUSH DEFENSE
While Maryland has generally been unable to pass, the running game had been solid until it finished with just 29 net yards against Michigan. Veteran Brandon Ross is a good, powerful back who averages 5.5 yards per carry, and he has two partners in crime with solid numbers in Wes Brown and Ty Johnson. Ohio State was excellent against Indiana, holding the Hoosiers to around 2 yards per carry, before Zander Diamont broke loose for a stunning 79-yard touchdown that made the end of the game closer than expected. It seems like Maryland might get a few yards but expecting the Terrapins to run the ball all over the Buckeyes would likely be a mistake given the fact OSU is keeping foes to 3.0 yards per rush. EDGE: OHIO STATE

OHIO STATE PASS OFFENSE vs. MARYLAND PASS DEFENSE
Maryland has allowed 249.6 passing yards per game, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions, putting the Terps among the worst teams in the conference when it comes to passing efficiency defense. That’s a bit of a surprise considering William Likely is a good player outside – he had seven pass breakups in the first four games – and safety Sean Davis has two picks. Both are potential All-Big Ten choices, and Maryland has one of the better pass rushes in the league as well. Ohio State’s passing situation has been well documented, with Cardale Jones making strides in the passing game but the Buckeyes not yet blowing anyone away. EDGE: EVEN

MARYLAND PASS OFFENSE vs. OHIO STATE PASS DEFENSE
This has been a total disaster for the Terrapins, who had a three-player quarterback competition in fall camp and have played all three signal callers – Caleb Rowe, Perry Hills and Daxx Garman – this year. That’s obviously not a good thing, and the three have combined to complete just 45.3 percent of passes with 15 interceptions in five games. Levern Jacobs is a solid receiver but depth is lacking, though Jacobs’ brother, former Ohio State commit Taivon, has averaged 19.0 yards per catch. Simply put, the Buckeyes should have a big edge here. EDGE: OHIO STATE

SPECIAL TEAMS
The Terrapins have a chance to be special here, with kicker Brad Craddock coming off a Lou Groza Award season and Likely already boasting two punt return touchdowns on the season. Things have been less consistent in the punting game, where the Terps’ net punt is 12th in the Big Ten. Likely is good enough to make a house call if not watched, so the Buckeyes will have to be on their game. EDGE: EVEN

INTANGIBLES
It has to be tough to be a Maryland player right now. The Terps have already been blown out by Bowling Green, West Virginia and Michigan, with Randy Edsall firmly on the hot seat amid reports this might be his last game in charge. Next up is this trip to the Horseshoe, one of the more intimidating venues in the nation, to take on No. 1 Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been itching for a complete performance, and Maryland’s season is threatening to spiral down the tubes with a 2-3 record and games with the Buckeyes, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State remaining. EDGE: OHIO STATE

STAFF PREDICTION
Ohio State rolled through Maryland, 52-24, a year ago in College Park, and the Terrapins are arguably a much worse team this season. The Terps made a bowl game a season ago but will be hard-pressed to do so this year thanks to their start, and Edsall might not survive the season. The Terrapins are expected to battle Rutgers to stay out of the Big Ten East cellar, so to expect them to beat the Buckeyes is probably asking too much. Given the lack of offensive talent on hand for the Terps, keeping it close might be an accomplishment. OHIO STATE 44-6

The staff pick is an average of predictions by staffers Ryan Ginn, James Grega, Tim Moody, Jeff Svoboda and Blake Williams


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