Cardale Jones threw two touchdowns and J.T. Barrett ran for three more as No. 1 Ohio State held Maryland off for a 49-28 homecoming victory.
Maryland (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten) took an early 7-0 lead but the Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) responded to make it 21-7 in the first half. The Terrapins rallied with a pair of touchdowns to even the score, but Ohio State scored the next 28 points before a late Maryland touchdown to improve its winning streak to 19.
Jones finished the game with 21 completions on 28 attempts for a career high 292 yards while Barrett served as a running option at quarterback, mainly in the red zone. The combination worked throughout the majority of the game as Ohio State punted just three times and scored touchdowns on each of its six trips to the red zone.
The Buckeyes finished the day with 499 total yards on offense.
Barrett completed both of his pass attempts for 26 yards while adding 62 rushing yards on 12 carries. Junior running back Ezekiel Elliott added 106 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries while junior receiver Michael Thomas had seven receptions for 107 yards. Senior “H” Braxton Miller provided another 79 receiving yards and a touchdown, while sophomore Jalin Marshall added four receptions for 78 yards and another score.
Sophomore linebacker Raekwon McMillan and junior safety Vonn Bell led Ohio State with eight tackles each while sophomore defensive end Tyquan Lewis added two sacks.
Junior quarterback Perry Hills got the start for Maryland and finished just 10 of 27 for 133 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, but he added 170 rushing yards and two more scores on 25 carries.
How It Happened
Ohio State opened the game with the ball, but a quick three and out allowed Maryland to take the first lead of the day. The Terrapins’ seven-play, 82-yard drive was capped by a 52-yard pass from Hills to D.J. Moore with 10:59 to play in the first quarter.
The Buckeyes responded with a long scoring drive of their own, highlighted by the first appearance of Barrett as the team’s red zone quarterback. Barrett entered the game on second-and-two at the Maryland 25-yard line after an eight-yard carry by Jones on first down. After a six-yard carry, a penalty and a one-yard loss, Barrett found Thomas for 20 yards on third-and-16. He evened the score two plays later with a three-yard quarterback draw.
After a Maryland punt, Ohio State took its first lead of the day on a two-yard Elliott touchdown to cap a six-play, 40-yard drive which again included Barrett at quarterback with the Buckeyes in the red zone.
Ohio State made it 21-7 two drives later when Jones completed back-to-back passes to Miller for 33 and 19 yards, respectively, with the former quarterback scoring on the second to cap a nine-play, 80-yard possession.
The Buckeyes got the ball back via punt just over two minutes later, but a penalty killed a promising drive and Jack Willoughby missed a 44-yard field goal as Ohio State came up empty. Hills broke into the open field on the second play of the ensuing drive for a 75-yard run to the Ohio State three-yard line before scoring on the next play to make it 21-14.
A last-ditch hail mary from Ohio State hit the turf as time expired on the half, sending the teams to the locker room with the Buckeyes ahead by seven.
Junior defensive end Joey Bosa was initially called for targeting on a late hit on Hills on the second half’s opening drive, but the referees reversed the call after further review. Hills still tied the game six plays later, though, as he scored his second rushing touchdown of the day.
The teams traded punts on the next two series before Ohio State took back the lead with a 48-yard touchdown strike from Jones to Jalin Marshall.
The Buckeyes forced another punt before Jones drove the offense to the 15-yard line, paving the way for Barrett to re-enter the game. After a Barrett rush for six yards, back to back penalties by Maryland gave Ohio State first-and-goal at the two-yard line. Elliott was stuffed on first down, but Barrett scored on second to make it 35-21 with 15 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Maryland picked up a pair of first downs on the ensuing drive before Bosa sacked Hills to force fourth-and-eight at the Ohio State 44. Hills got another chance on fourth and gained 15 yards to keep the drive alive, but the Buckeyes forced a second straight fourth down try and Lewis sacked Hills to force a turnover on downs with 7:47 to play.
Barrett stayed in the game to open Ohio State’s next drive, picking up 23 yards on a quarterback keeper on the first play. Elliott scored four plays later from 16 yards out, making it 42-21 and effectively putting the game out of reach with just 6:38 to play.
Hills threw two incomplete passes to start the ensuing drive before Tyvis Powell intercepted him on third down for the first turnover of the game.
Jones re-entered the game after the interception and found Thomas for a first down before Barrett took over once again and scampered down the sideline for an 18-yard touchdown, making the score 49-21 with just 52 seconds coming off the game clock between touchdowns.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Hubbard intercepted Hills to get Ohio State the ball back less than a minute later. Barrett stayed in the game along with much of the second-team offense for the Buckeyes. Maryland forced a fourth-and-three situation and a snap over Barrett’s head gave the Terrapins the ball at Ohio State’s 47.
Hills moved Maryland to the Buckeyes’ five-yard line before the Terrapins punched it in from a yard out for the game’s final points.
The ensuing onside kick bounced around but ended up out of bounds before Ohio State ran the final 54 seconds off the clock.