Rapid Reaction: Ohio State struggles to hold off Maryland, but gets by 43-30
A week before the Big Ten’s dream matchup, both teams nearly suffered nightmares.
First, Michigan waited until the final seconds to edge Illinois, and then Ohio State ended up following a similar script before putting away Maryland 43-30 to stay undefeated into next weekend’s matchup with the Wolverines.
The Buckeyes were in real danger until the final minute, when a defensive touchdown with 9 seconds left put the game away. The Terps put up a heck of a fight a week after being shut out 30-0 by Penn State.
The game featured 50 combined points in the second half after Maryland led 13-10 at the break.
TreVeyon Henderson returned for the Buckeyes, but struggled to assert himself in the ground game, although he did manage a 31-yard touchdown reception. Freshman running back Dallan Hayden played well instead, managing 3 rushing touchdowns and eclipsing 100 yards rushing.
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OSU QB CJ Stroud struggled with consistency, although he did eclipse 240 yards and emerged with the victory. Maryland was led by junior QB Taulia Tagovailoa, who had a nearly perfect first half to try to spring the upset, and approached 300 yards passing for the game.
Ohio State opened the game with a 6-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Stroud connecting with Henderson for the 31-yard score. The extra point made it 7-0 Buckeyes with 13:28 left in the first quarter and seemed to suggest a potential blowout.
But Maryland answered with a 61-yard drive that ended in a 31-yard field goal by Chad Ryland to pull within 7-3. After a 3-and-out from Ohio State, Maryland drove for another field goal, this one a 21-yard kick for Ryland to pull the Terps within 7-6 with 3:52 left in the first quarter.
After the teams traded punts, Ohio State extended its lead with a 33-yard Noah Ruggles field goal. That drive included a pair of 3rd down passes from Stroud to continue moving the ball, including a 3rd-and-10 connection with Julian Fleming for 25 yards from OSU’s own 10. Ohio State led 10-6 with 10:02 remaining in the first half. But Maryland responded with a 75-yard march in 14 plays. The drive finished with a 1-yard pass from Tagovailoa to CJ Dippre to give Maryland a 13-10 lead, which the Terps held into halftime.
After intermission, Ohio State took control initially with special teams. On Maryland’s first drive, Ohio State’s Lathan Ransom blocked his second punt in 2 weeks. Denzel Burke scooped up the block and returned it to the Maryland 14-yard line. Two plays later, freshman running back Dallan Hayden ran left for an 8-yard touchdown to return Ohio State to the lead, 17-13. After a 3-and-out, Ohio State drove for a 47-yard Ruggles field goal, extending the Buckeyes’ edge to 20-13 with 7:52 left in the third quarter.
Ohio State then opened the edge farther with an 11-play, 88-yard march to end the quarter, finishing with Dallan Hayden scoring his second touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run. Hayden converted a pair of 3rd down runs earlier on the drive. A third down pass interference penalty also helped keep the drive alive, to the angst of Maryland coach Mike Locksley. Ohio State then led 27-13 with 16 seconds left in the third quarter. In total, the third quarter featured a 125-45 yardage edge for the Buckeyes, in addition to the 17-0 bump on the scoreboard.
Maryland opened the 4th quarter with a 6-play, 75-yard drive to pull within one score. Tagovailoa rushed 5 yards for the touchdown and then completed a 2-point pass to Jacob Copeland to pull Maryland within 27-21 with 13:53 to play.
Special teams again rescued the Buckeyes, as Xavier Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards to give the Buckeyes a short field. Ohio State capitalized with a 13-yard run for Hayden to push the OSU edge back to 33-21, although Maryland blocked the extra point and returned it for 2 points, making the score 33-23 with 12:36 to play.
Tagovailoa and the Terps answered, marching 74 yards on 7 plays. Maryland went for a 4th-and-goal at the 1 and Tagovailoa seemed to have no real options before firing a scoring dart to Jeshaun Jones at the last second. The extra point made it 33-30 with with 9:49 left.
Ohio State turned the ball over on downs, but the Buckeye defense stiffened and forced a punt.
Ohio State moves to 11-0 and will finish with 11-0 Michigan next week in the game that will be the talk of the nation. Maryland falls to 6-5 and will host Rutgers next Saturday.