Maryland showed that it belongs in the Top 25 after Saturday’s showdown at No. 4 Ohio State — but it was still in defeat. And by a final margin that belies how close this game still was 5 minutes into the fourth quarter.

The Terrapins had their best-ever showing at Ohio Stadium, but some questionable coaching decisions combined with Ohio State’s talent edge provided the difference as the Buckeyes pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 37-17 win.

The teams were tied 10-10 at halftime, and Ohio State held a narrow 20-17 lead at the end of 3 quarters before putting on the finishing touches in the fourth.


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Ohio State is now 9-0 all-time against Maryland, although this was the first time the Terps stayed within 21 points of the Buckeyes in Columbus.

The turning point

With the game very much in the balance, the Buckeyes were moving the wrong way. After a botched play and a false start, Ohio State faced second-and-33 from at its own 34-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

And then they remembered they have a Marvin Harrison Jr. in their back pocket.

Kyle McCord found Harrison for a 37-yard gain to pick up the first down. A penalty on Ryan Day of all people set them back another 15 yards after the first down, but no matter. McCord hit tight end Cade Stover for a 44-yard score on the next play.

The Buckeyes were up 27-17, and from there the Terps were behind the 8-ball for good.

Terrapins expose a flaw

Ohio State’s offensive line is a problem that could rear its head against Penn State and Michigan’s defensive fronts later this season.

Maryland’s defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage for most of this game, holding Ohio State without an offensive touchdown in the first half. The Buckeyes were only able to average 1.9 yards per carry, allowing 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss.

Maryland’s defense is dramatically improved over previous versions. But the Buckeyes will still be seeing much stiffer tests later on the schedule.

Terps shoot themselves in the foot

In many ways, Maryland has no one to blame but itself for this loss.

Ohio State’s first touchdown was on an ill-advised Taulia Tagovailoa interception that Josh Proctor turned into a 24-yard pick-6.

Maryland should have led at halftime, but time ran out when the Tagovailoa threw a pass over the middle and well short of the line to gain with 7 seconds left and no timeouts.

Another bad throw by Tagovailoa gave Ohio State the ball at Maryland’s 38, setting up the field goal that gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the game in the third quarter.

Finally, Ohio State snuffed out a curious fourth-and-3 run attempt that the Terps attempted from their own 32 with 8:40 remaining.

You need to be close to perfect to beat a team like Ohio State on the road. Maryland was the farthest thing from that.