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Ohio State trying to turn the corner as it welcomes Maryland

Redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones (12) surveys the field during a game on Oct. 3 in Bloomington, Indiana. OSU won 34-27. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor

It might not have been pretty at all times, but a 34-27 win at Indiana has Ohio State off to a winning start in Big Ten play.

Now it comes home to welcome a team that did not have that same luxury.

Maryland (2-3, 0-1) is gearing up to make its first visit to Columbus after a 28-0 blowout loss at home against Michigan last week.

Despite not notching a point against the Wolverines, OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said he thinks the Terrapins will keep the Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0) needing to be alert at all times on defense.

“They’re going to move the ball well, they’re going to mix it up, they’re going to keep you on your toes,” Fickell said.

Maryland coach Randy Edsall is expected to further keep the Buckeyes on their toes by taking a page out of OSU coach Urban Meyer’s book by choosing not to reveal the starting quarterback until kickoff.

Sophomore Caleb Rowe, redshirt junior Perry Hills and redshirt senior Daxx Garman have each split time at quarterback this year.

Hills started the Terrapins’ first two games, with Rowe filling in for the next three but Garman getting time in two of them due to Rowe struggling.

Fickell said he sees Maryland as a team in a self-discovery period.

“They’re trying to figure out who they are, and what best suits them and fits them as they move forward,” he said.

Still, senior linebacker Cam Williams said, as the No. 1 team in the nation, OSU expects the opposition’s best efforts each week.

“We’re going to get the best shot from the coaches, we’re going to get the best shot from the players. We’re continuing to get looks that are never shown on film, looks that they’ve never had a tendency to do,” Williams said. “It’s almost like a lot of teams are saving up. It’s unique, but it’s a lot of fun because we’re going to get their best shot, but we’re give them our best shot back too.”

Williams acknowledged that the Buckeyes are not playing their best ball — highlighted by needing a goal-line stand to stave off an Indiana team that hasn’t beaten OSU since 1988 — but the early struggles could make them a better team as postseason play draws nearer.

“It’s always good to experience adversity … We look back at our team last year, we face a lot of adversity,” Williams said. “When you continue to face that adversity a lot, we get tougher, we callous.”

Kickoff against Maryland is set for noon.

Previously for the Terrapins

Maryland has had a rocky season coming into Week 6. After starting 2-1 with double-digit wins against Richmond and South Florida — with a 21-point loss at home against Bowling Green sandwiched in between — the Terrapins have been blown out in their last two.

In Week 4, Maryland visited Morgantown, West Virginia, to face off against the Mountaineers, only to be sent home with a 45-6 beatdown before the shutout loss to Michigan.

Out of 127 teams, Maryland ranks in the bottom 25 in the nation in total offense (114th), passing offense (103rd), total defense (109th) and turnover margin (121st).

Last year

On Oct. 6, 2014, the Buckeyes traveled to College Park, Maryland, for the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The game turned into a shootout, as the Buckeyes scored seven touchdowns en route to a 52-24 win.

Then-redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett was 18-of-23 for 267 yards and four touchdowns, completing passes to nine different players.

Then-senior quarterback C.J. Brown got the start for Maryland, but was pulled for Rowe after throwing three interceptions in 22 attempts.

Rowe threw one pick of his own, which was taken back 19 yards for a score by then-freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan.

Injury report

Fickell said the foot injury junior cornerback Cam Burrows is dealing with could keep him out for several weeks, but it is unknown if he will need surgery.

Burrows’ injury is another hit to a depleted secondary that is already missing sophomore cornerback Damon Webb, who will miss his third straight game due to an indefinite suspension.

“It makes us kind of go back to the drawing board and try to substitute and try to get your best 11 guys on the field and try to match up sometimes with personnels, you start to get thin,” Fickell said.

Sophomore H-back Curtis Samuel had only one carry and no receptions last week. According to Meyer, however, he “feels better” after back spasms limited him in practice before the Indiana game. Samuel is listed as the starting No. 2 receiver on the depth chart.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Corey Smith, meanwhile, will not be back on the field this season after suffering a broken leg during the second half at Indiana. Coming back at the receiver spot, though, is redshirt freshman Parris Campbell, who missed two games with a knee injury.

Up next

After hosting the Terrapins, the Buckeyes are scheduled to stay in Columbus for their first home night game of the season on Oct. 17. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.

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