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Staff Predictions: Ohio State at Maryland

A week after a 62-3 win over Nebraska, Ohio State is set to take on Maryland for the first matchup in a two-game road swing before facing Michigan to cap the regular season.

James Grega

OK, so how many of you actually saw last week’s blowout coming? I know I didn’t, and I was shocked when I looked up and realized the final score.

The Ohio State offense hummed like a well-oiled machine and reminded me of the Buckeye offense in 2014. The Buckeyes were balanced and got momentum after multiple poor showings offensively, which I think should carry on until the Michigan game for Ohio State.

For Maryland, its season got off to a roaring start but has since plummeted back to earth. After a 4-0 start, the Terps now sit at 5-4 following a 59-3 loss to Michigan. In addition, the Terrapins are without their best player in William Likely, who tore his ACL in a 31-10 loss to Minnesota earlier in the season. A standout at defensive back, Likely was also the Terps’ leading return man and also saw time on offense.

To make matters worse for the Terps, quarterback Perry Hills could miss the game after being injured early on against Michigan. Against Ohio State last season, Hills broke a Maryland school record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback as he ran for 170 yards and two scores against the Buckeyes. If Hills can’t go, the Terps will be without arguably their two most explosive players, which is not good when trying to pull a colossal upset.

All in all, I think the Buckeyes sustain their momentum and roll the Terps to remain in the playoff discussion.

SCORE: Ohio State 52, Maryland 17

Ryan McGlade

Well, the Ohio State offense was about the most productive against Nebraska it’s been since maybe the first game of the year vs. Bowling Green. I think Ohio State learned some things offensively in that Nebraska game, and I expect the Buckeyes to employ some of what they learned in their offensive attack against Maryland. 

Defensively, I expect the Buckeyes to dominate the Terrapins – partially because the defense is stout and partially because of Maryland’s injury situation on that side of the ball.  

Senior quarterback Perry Hills is a game-time decision while sophomore running back Ty Johnson and senior left tackle Mike Dunn are day-to-day. 

Quite frankly, I think Maryland needs to have its best players at full strength just to have a chance to win this game. If these three guys either can’t play or are not fully healthy, then the Terrapins are going to have quite the time keeping this one close.

That’s not even including the fact that they lost their best player on the team earlier this year. They’ve now been without William Likely since the middle of October after he tore his ACL. 

So, if the offense can’t produce, then Maryland is in trouble because its defense won’t keep the team in the game. The Terrapins are 12th in the Big Ten in rushing defense (226.0 yards per game) and 12th in total defense (430.2 yards per game). 

All things considered, I see the Buckeyes having another lopsided victory. 

SCORE: Ohio State 42, Maryland 10

Tim Moody

Ohio State beat a team ranked in the top 10 by 59 points last week. Does that mean the Buckeyes have turned the corner? No idea.

It certainly means they showed they have it in them to fire on all cylinders, though, and Maryland doesn’t exactly present the stiffest competition. Apart from Penn State, obviously, Ohio State has actually had pretty similar results to Michigan this season against common opponents. Last weekend, the Wolverines toppled the Terrapins, 59-3, and Maryland quarterback Perry Hills played in that game.

Hills might play against the Buckeyes, too, but he might not and if he doesn’t the Terrapins are in even deeper trouble. They have some good skill on offense, but the quarterback play with or without Hills probably won’t be good enough against Ohio State’s stellar pass defense.

On the other side, the Buckeyes need to keep rolling on offense, but I don’t see that being an issue this week. Ohio State should use this opportunity to get more out of explosive freshmen such as Binjimen Victor and Demario McCall, not to mention Austin Mack. I see two of those three scoring touchdowns in this game as Ohio State strings together another impressive performance and returns another interception for a touchdown.

I’m not saying Ohio State will win by 60, but I am staying this game won’t end up being close at all, and things should be well in hand by the time Joe Burrow takes the reins in the second half.

But then again, nobody seems to have a grasp on what the Buckeyes will do this year – not even Urban Meyer. 

SCORE: Ohio State 56, Maryland 6

Jeff Svoboda

As Frank Costanza bellowed as he cracked an egg over the stove, “I’m back, baby!” The Ohio State offense is probably saying the same, as last week I picked the Buckeyes to break out on the scoreboard and was proved correct in the 62-3 win over Nebraska.

So will this momentum continue? You bet it will. Going into this week’s game at Maryland, everything is lining up for Ohio State to put together another dominant offensive showing.

While Ohio State was putting the foil on to take out Nebraska, Maryland was on the other end of a bludgeoning, suffering an ignominious 59-3 loss at Michigan (let it not be lost on anyone the Buckeyes and Wolverines combined to win their games by a margin of 121-6).

It’s fair to expect the Terrapins to play a little better at home, but they also were on the end of a physical butt-whupping against the Wolverines. While Maryland has made some progress this year and might even reach a bowl, this is a brutal back-to-back stretch and the Terrapins just don’t have the horses for it.

We finally saw a few big plays vs. Nebraska, and I want to see more vs. the Terrapins. If the Buckeyes keep mixing efficiency with explosiveness, they’ll stay on the right track toward the season-ending showdown.

SCORE: Ohio State 52, Maryland 10

Blake Williams

Well, I didn’t see that coming.

I thought Ohio State would show signs of progress on offense and get a double-digit win over Nebraska, but I didn’t anticipate a nearly flawless performance or a 59-point victory. But where do the Buckeyes go from here?

A trip to Maryland offers Urban Meyer and his team the opportunity to build on the momentum gained in the big win and continue to progress on both sides of the ball in advance of a season-defining game with Michigan in two weeks.

The Maryland defense has been a disaster in recent weeks, and the Terrapins have lost four of their last five games under first-year coach D.J. Durkin. Maryland has been particularly bad on the ground, ranking 111th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 226 yards per game. Ohio State has been piling up 200-yard rushing performances with regularity this year and despite the fact that Mike Weber is banged up, I expect the Buckeyes to get rolling on the ground against the Terrapins. With the coaches monitoring Weber’s health I expect J.T. Barrett and freshman Demario McCall to join Weber with at least 75 yards rushing each.

On the other side of the ball I expect Ohio State to produce turnovers. Maryland has tossed seven interceptions this year and has a minus-4 turnover margin. That number gets worse this weekend as the Silver Bullets haul in a pair of picks, with one going for a score.

Overall, Ohio State should get another easy win and show more progress as work continues toward the ultimate goal.

SCORE: Ohio State 45, Maryland 13

Dave Lomonico, Terrapin Times

Despite the recent string of losses and the lopsided loss to Michigan in the Big House, Maryland remains upbeat and confident with D.J. Durkin at the helm. The players and coaches are positive and believe they can compete with anyone.

Trouble is, that mind-set only goes so far against the Big Ten’s best. There are significant talent and depth gaps between the Terps and the conference’s elite. Fact is, the Terps just don’t have the athletes to match up man for man against a squad like Ohio State, and especially not for four quarters due to depth concerns. 

Also, Maryland’s defense has been akin to a sieve. Simply put, they can’t slow anyone down, their D-line getting pushed off the ball; the linebackers a step slow; and the safeties exposed deep. The running game has been OK, and running back is Maryland’s deepest position, but the passing attack doesn’t scare anyone. QB Perry Hills is tough and a gamer, but he’s not going to keep defensive coordinators up at night with his arm. Plus, Hills has been running for his life most of the season since the offensive line hasn’t exactly done a great job protecting him.

Thus, this figures to be another somewhat lopsided affair, with the Buckeyes winning handily. Ohio State looks to have hit its stride, and I don’t expect a let-up from them heading into this game. Maybe the Terps get a bit of an edge from playing at home, but it probably won’t be much – and could be negligible if OSU gets out to a fast start. 

SCORE: Ohio State 35, Maryland 7

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