COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Playing a true road game for the first time in 2014, the Ohio State football team didn’t flinch.
The Buckeyes accumulated 533 yards of total offense Saturday en route to a 52-24 rout of Big Ten newcomer Maryland.
OSU was led once again by redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, who completed 18 of 23 pass attempts for 267 yards and four touchdowns while adding 71 yards and a score on the ground.
Barrett said after the game that the preparation during the week is what has contributed to his success on the field.
“There’s definitely times out there where they will do something defensively and I don’t even have to look back (to the sidelines),” Barrett said. “There’s things we do in practice, where I (can) get to a certain play and we will be alright.”
Since losing to Virginia Tech in the second game of the year, the Wichita Falls, Texas, native has thrown for 909 yards with 14 touchdowns to just one interception. The Buckeye offense has collected more than 1,200 yards of offense in their last two games.
Maryland coach Randy Edsall said after the game that his team knew coming in what Barrett could do, however they couldn’t find a way to slow him down.
“We said during the week that he was a really good quarterback and you can just see him getting better each and every game,” Edsall said. “There were things we tried to do; pressure him and (play) zone coverage. He’s very good. My hats off to him in terms of how he played.”
OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the game that while Barrett played well, credit should also be given to the players around him.
“J.T. Barrett is playing very well and the big thing is we can still get better,” Meyer said. “The guys playing around him are pretty good too. There’s a lot of confidence when you start rotating six receivers in there and they are all quality guys.”
One of those guys playing around Barrett is sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott, who tallied his second straight 100-yard game as he rushed for 139 yards on 24 carries.
Elliott, who gained 71 yards on the ground in the first quarter said following the game that the plan was to establish the run game early.
“Thats what we want to do,” Elliott said. “We want to run the ball first and then that opens up the passing game.”
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 24-3 lead in large part due to a run-pass combination. OSU rushed for 269 yards and threw for 264.
The balance on offense is something Meyer said he credits to the assurance he has in his players.
“We have a lot of confidence in our quarterback and skills positions right now,” Meyer said. “It’s a very balanced offense…there’s a lot of opportunity to make plays because we’re confident. We weren’t that way the first game because we didn’t practice like that, but now we are.”
One player who made a big play for the Buckeyes was senior wide receiver Devin Smith, who hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Barrett in the third quarter.
Smith said following the game that he has seen teams continue to play the ‘bear’ defense that the Buckeyes struggled with against Virginia Tech but added the Buckeyes are comfortable when given that look.
“What’s good is we got out there knowing what we could do and we work extremely hard when we see those looks in practice,” Smith said. “We seize the opportunity every time it happens.”
The Buckeyes are set to head into their second bye week in four weeks, something Meyer said he isn’t excited about.
“I wish we were playing another one (game) next week, our whole team wishes we were playing,” Meyer said. “I’m just going to give them as many game reps as I can to show maturity.”
Elliott agreed with his coach that having a bye week following two big offensive performances is not something he is happy about but added he will embrace it.
“I do wish we were playing this week,” Elliott said. “But we will take another week to get it all together, keep it rolling and get better.”
Following the bye week, the Buckeyes are scheduled to host Rutgers Oct. 18 at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.