Buckeyes looking to shake woes, continue Maryland's
Who: Maryland vs. Ohio State
When: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
Where: Ohio Stadium, Ohio State
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Ohio State -33
Matchup to watch: Michael Thomas vs. Sean Davis/William Likely
We know that Thomas can fake out anybody in the country. We’ve seen many a defensive back fall victim to his stutter step, most notably All-American cornerback Kendall Fuller. What we haven’t seen from Thomas is whether or not he can consistently burn a team deep. Against a pair of talented, physical corners, that’ll still be the question. With the lack of established over-the-top threats the Buckeyes have right now, they can’t afford Thomas to be invisible all game. They need to take advantage of single coverage, if and when they get it. With all due respect to Davis and Likely, Thomas is going to win that battle the majority of the time.
Thing I’m excited to see: Who in the world starts at QB for Maryland
My goodness, what a mess the Terps quarterback situation is. Randy Edsall refused to name one of the three a starter, pulling a page out of his counterpart’s playbook. It’s hard to imagine Caleb Rowe getting yet another crack at the starting job after he’s thrown for a combined 18-for-54 for 114 yards and seven interceptions in his last two games, though Daxx Garman’s 2-of-9 relief effort was equally underwhelming. He’s the only one that hasn’t started and failed for the Terps this season. Maybe they go back to Perry Hills, who was infinitely more productive than Rowe in his two starts. Nobody knows who will get the start under center. All we know is that the Silver Bullets have to be licking their chops.
Number to remember: 199.8
That’s how many rushing yards per game the Terps are allowing. There’s no reason not to get Ezekiel Elliott involved early and often in this one. This should not be a game where Cardale Jones is forced to convert third-and-longs. He’s struggled in those pass-only situations, which the Buckeyes have found themselves in far too often. Elliott needs to be getting the ball more on first and second down to ease those pressure situations for the passing game. Outside of Jermaine Carter Jr., the Terps lack playmakers that can blow up the run game in the backfield. Elliott shouldn’t have any problems getting to the second level with a head of steam.
Prediction: Ohio State 35, Maryland 14
I’m done picking massive routs for the Buckeyes until we see it. Should they dominate a Terps team that’s been outscored 73-6 in the last two games? Yes. There’s no rhyme or reason that the Buckeyes shouldn’t be able to pile on to that total, other than they’ve played down to their opponent each of the last four weeks. I think this is another game in which Elliott does the heavy lifting and big plays cover up the Buckeyes’ inability to sustain long scoring drives. Still, Ohio State gets a little more breathing room than its had in previous weeks and improves to 6-0.