Reminiscent of 2014, Ohio State has found itself benefitting from a crazy string of events. In a bizarre Saturday evening in which the Buckeyes destroyed an unranked and overmatched Maryland team 62-3, it seems like a real possibility that OSU will be in playoff talks come Tuesday when the latest College Football Playoff poll is released.
After the complete blowout of the Terrapins, the Buckeyes have established themselves as one of the most dominate teams in the Big Ten and in all of college football. Saturday was an example of the incredible talent the team holds within, and how OSU coach Urban Meyer has become one of the best coaches in the NCAA.
With Clemson likely out and OSU likely in the playoff picture, here are five takeaways from Saturday’s 62-3 victory over Maryland.
Ohio State has lofty expectations
The Buckeyes are rolling right now, and that’s an understatement. With more than 120 points scored in the past two games, and less than seven points allowed, the team is the definition of dominating right now.
But with strong performances come lofty expectations, and those expectations will be in the clouds now that OSU will be in the playoff hunt. OSU coach Urban Meyer is confident in his players ability, and is ready to see how they do the rest of the season.
“We’re going to find out now but our offensive line is playing much better in the last two weeks, and we know exactly what’s coming down the road,” he said.
The fan base will be hungry for more blowouts, and the toughest test of the year lies ahead for the Buckeyes.
Offense no longer an issue
1,171 yards in two weeks is an impressive mark for the Buckeyes’ offense. After floundering against Penn State and Northwestern, the offense has been on fire in consecutive weeks.
Redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett has been smooth and solid, and junior H-back Curtis Samuel is filling into his Swiss Army Knife role. Meanwhile, the offensive line has given up just two sacks in as many weeks.
“I think the main thing is go hard in practice and come out here and execute and just try to play our best ball in November … that’s where the season really hangs your hat on, those November games,” Barrett said. “So we try to do our best in those games.”
The offense is firing on all cylinders at all the right times for the Buckeyes, and no longer will OSU have to worry about a stagnant offense.
It gets worse for Rutgers
Things are just not going in the right direction for Chris Ash and the Scarlet Knights. Ash is 2-8 in his first season at the helm, and remains winless in the conference.
What makes everything worse for Rutgers is the fact the rest of the year will be no smoother, as the team faces a top-10 Penn State squad and Maryland.
The Terrapins were just demolished by OSU, so why should Rutgers worry?
This week, Michigan State dominated the Scarlet Knights 49-0. Earlier this year, the Spartans dropped a 28-17 contest in College Park, which is exactly where Rutgers faces Maryland in two weeks.
It’s still early in Ash’s tenure as coach, but things are not looking great in New Jersey.
Binjimen Victor can be a threat down the field
The freshman has been seeing more and more playing time in November, and has presented himself as an over-the-top threat. Last week, Victor was close to having his first touchdown reception, but could not hang on and get his foot down in the back of the end zone.
This week, Victor stutter-stepped in front of Maryland sophomore cornerback J.C. Jackson at the line of scrimmage and broke free on the inside of Jackson. Victor got the inside shoulder and a step on his defender, and redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Burrow delivered a crisp pass.
Even though he was interfered with on the play, Victor pulled it in for his first score of both the season and his career. Meyer said going Victor’s way in the redzone has been a part of the plan for a while now.
“I think Bin Victor, we’ve been dying to get him the ball,” he said. “His wingspan, he’s really a good player. He’s starting to learn the high level of football, the speed that’s required and understand the offense.”
It was initially thought that Victor would not make much of a mark this year due to his relatively skinny frame (6-foot-4, 185 pounds), but the Buckeyes might have found their downfield target for the remainder of the season.
Opening drive dilemma a thing of the past
For weeks, OSU could not find a way to score on the opening drives. Marred by turnovers, missed opportunities and a lack of touchdowns, the last three weeks have resulted in three touchdowns on the team’s opening drives.
In the previous seven games, OSU scored just three points on the initial drives.
With a defense that has allowed just 26 points over the course of the last three games, getting out to an early lead foreshadows an OSU win.
“I felt like the offense was flowing well,” Samuel said. “First half, everything was really going our way, execution was high, everything was going great.”
The OSU offense will be looking to capitalize on the first drive for an early lead again next week. And with the way Michigan State has played this season, don’t be surprised if the Buckeyes can open up their next game with yet another touchdown.