No. 1 Ohio State cruised past outmatched Maryland 73-14 Saturday to keep control of the Big Ten East. The Buckeyes outgained Maryland 705 yards to 139 and were up 42-0 at halftime, a year after the Terrapins took Ohio State to overtime. Here are The Lantern’s five takeaways from the blowout win:
Gargantuan ground game
Behind a quartet of running backs, Ohio State piled up 383 rushing yards against Maryland.
Redshirt freshman Master Teague led the Buckeyes with 18 carries for 111 yards, including a 30-yard rumble through the Terrapin defense.
Following Teague was junior J.K. Dobbins, who rushed for two touchdowns and 90 yards on just 12 carries. Through nine games, Dobbins ranks No. 6 in the country in rushing yards, even though he didn’t receive a carry in the second half Saturday.
After Dobbins and Teague sat down for the day, a duo of scarcely used running backs took over. Freshman Marcus Crowley impressed with 82 yards and one touchdown on just eight carries, and junior Demario McCall added seven carries for 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Though Dobbins and Teague have headlined the Ohio State ground attack in 2019, Crowley has accumulated 237 yards on only 25 carries in limited playing time. In a game that was 42-0 at the half, the freshman received crucial touches and experience.
Ohio State’s 383 total yards rushing were its most in any game in the past two seasons.
Heading into Saturday, the headlines were focused on everything except Ohio State’s football game.
Junior defensive end Chase Young was suspended for the matchup with Maryland, and speculations on how Ohio State would replace his 13.5 sacks ran wild.
Those concerns were eased against Maryland.
The Buckeye defensive line suffocated Maryland’s passing attack, sacking the Terrapins a season-high seven times, and holding two Maryland quarterbacks to just eight total completions.
“They all wanted to show they’re a team; this is a defense, and this is a defensive line unit, more than just one person,” head coach Ryan Day said.
Sophomore defensive end Tyreke Smith and senior defensive tackle Davon Hamilton both recorded two sacks on Saturday. Freshman defensive end Zach Harrison, making his first start as a Buckeye, recorded one sack and drew praise for his job replacing Young.
“To be completely honest with you, coming in I didn’t think I was ever gonna have the chance to start,” Harrison said.
The Buckeye front line ate Maryland’s pass-blocking alive and made a statement about its dominance while doing so, even without its Heisman contender.
Beauty from the backups
Ohio State’s backup quarterbacks looked poised Saturday, while sophomore quarterback Justin Fields rested on the sideline.
Redshirt senior Chris Chugunov made his fifth appearance of the season against Maryland. He completed eight passes for 103 yards, including a 14-yard fade to freshman receiver Garrett Wilson and a 35-yard dime to Wilson earlier in the second half.
Chugunov eased concerns about the depth behind Fields with his accurate performance. He looked comfortable and threw another long strike down the middle to Wilson for a touchdown that was called back due to a holding penalty.
Early in the fourth, Chugunov was replaced by graduate transfer Gunner Hoak, who appeared in his third game of the season. In mop-up duty, Hoak completed both his pass attempts. In 2019, Hoak is 5-for-5 in the air for 93 yards and a touchdown.
In the second half, Ohio State (playing majority second- and third-string players) outscored Maryland 31-14. Chugunov and Hoak proved to be capable replacements, managing the game, committing no turnovers and completing a combined 10-of-13 passes for 122 yards.
In Ohio State’s narrow 52-51 overtime win against Maryland in 2018, Maryland then-redshirt freshman running back Anthony McFarland rushed for a Maryland freshman record 298 yards against the Buckeye defense. It was a different story Saturday.
McFarland rushed just six times Saturday for a total of 7 yards. His longest run of the day was 9 yards, on his first attempt of the game, and he had a slew of attempts that never advanced past the line of scrimmage. After accumulating the sixth-most first quarter rushing yards in Football Bowl Subdivision history against Ohio State in 2018, the Buckeyes sent a message early.
“They played with an edge and something to prove,” Day said. “And any time our guys come out with something to prove, we’re dangerous.”
Buckeye junior linebacker Tuf Borland finished with five tackles in the first quarter and was a huge part of McFarland and Maryland’s inability to gain any ground up the middle from start to finish Saturday. Senior linebacker Malik Harrison also finished with five tackles, and the defensive line overwhelmed Maryland’s offensive front.
“I think our defense was tired of hearing about that for a year. So it was fresh on their minds,” Day said. “And I think we had a lot of respect for this team coming into this game because of that game we played last year. So we started fast, and I thought we played well throughout the game.”
Big Ten bully
Ohio State continued its absolute dominance in the Big Ten in 2019, winning its eighth-straight game against Big Ten competition by 20-plus points, dating back to last season’s 62-39 drubbing of Michigan.
The Buckeyes have won this season’s Big Ten matchups by an average of 40.8 points. They haven’t taken any opponent for granted, and slip-ups like last year’s loss to Purdue have been nonexistent in 2019.
“It’s like the phrase, ‘Keep your foot on their throat,’” Harrison said. “We can’t ever let up on anything that we do.”
Against a Maryland team that gave Ohio State more than 60 minutes of fight a season ago, it was evident from the beginning that the Buckeyes were going to end the game as soon as possible.
Day decided to attempt an onside kick after Ohio State scored to make it 14-0. After it was recovered by sophomore receiver Chris Olave, the Buckeyes scored on a pass from Fields to senior receiver K.J. Hill a little more than three minutes later.
Ohio State scored six touchdowns in the first half while holding Maryland scoreless and under 100 yards. No team has been within 10 points of the Buckeyes at halftime this season.