After two home wins over Northwestern and Nebraska, the Buckeyes now go on the road for a pair of contests. The BSB staff came up with five things to watch for when OSU plays the Terrapins.
1. Will Demario McCall Get More Reps?
Redshirt freshman running Mike Weber left during the game against Nebraska due to what he and head coach Urban Meyer described as an AC joint sprain in his right shoulder. Weber has been dealing with this injury for about a month now and Meyer said earlier this week that true freshman tailback Demario McCall could get more reps vs. the Terps. McCall was OSU’s leading rusher against Nebraska. He ran for 73 yards on 16 carries. If the Buckeyes get out to be a big lead early against Maryland, expect to see McCall a lot in the second half.
2. How Will Samuel And Hill Handle Punt Return Duties?
Senior H-back Dontre Wilson has had quite the adventure returning punts for Ohio State this year. Against the Cornhuskers last week, he fumbled a punt and Nebraska recovered it. After that mishap, Meyer gave McCall and junior H-back Curtis Samuel a shot at retrieving punts. Redshirt freshman receiver K.J. Hill and Samuel are now listed as the two punt returners on the Buckeyes’ depth chart for the Maryland game. Meyer said earlier this week that Samuel will get the first crack at returning punts vs. the Terrapins. Hill hasn’t returned any punts so far in his young career while Samuel lost 5 yards on his lone return of the season.
3. Will The Ohio State Offense Have Another Strong Performance?
Last week vs. Nebraska, Ohio State scored on 10 of its 11 possessions. The only time the Buckeyes didn’t score was when they had the ball in the final minutes of the game and were just running out the clock. The offense also piled up a total of 590 yards against the Cornhuskers in the 62-3 blowout win. Now it will face a Maryland defense that is 12th in the Big Ten in total defense, giving up an average of 430.2 yards per game.
4. Will The Buckeye Defense Contain Maryland’s Backs?
Ohio State has been tested of late with talented running backs across the Big Ten. It has gone up against the likes of Saquon Barkley of Penn State, Corey Clement of Wisconsin and Justin Jackson of Northwestern within the last month. They all are currently in the top four in the conference for rushing yards per game. Now the OSU stop troops will possibly face a two-headed rushing attack from the Terrapins. Sophomore Ty Johnson and freshman Lorenzo Harrison both have more than 600 yards rushing on the season and have nine rushing touchdowns combined. Johnson, however, got injured last week against Michigan and is listed as day-to-day.
5. Will Perry Hills Start At QB For Maryland?
Johnson is not the only Terrapin who is injured. Senior quarterback Perry Hills left the game against the Wolverines after taking a hit that re-aggravated an injury to his throwing shoulder. Hills is listed as a game-time decision. Last year against the Buckeyes, he set the single-game rushing record for a Maryland quarterback when he ran for 170 yards. If the senior can’t go, the Terps have two options. True freshman Tyrrell Pigrome was Hills’ backup through the first eight games this year, but senior Caleb Rowe replaced Hills in the Michigan game. Pigrome is 30-of-59 passing on the season for 278 yards with two touchdowns and interceptions apiece. Rowe completed 12 of 23 passes for 203 yards for no touchdowns and two interceptions against the Wolverines, which was his only extensive playing time at quarterback this year.