Maryland vs. Ohio State Preview

Andy Kwong

The Maryland Terrapins will face off against the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium this Saturday. The Terps defense have a big task at slowing down the Buckeyes' high-octane offense. 

Ohio State's quarterback Justin Fields can make plays as a passer and with his feet. He has thrown for 24 touchdowns, in addition to scoring on nine touchdown runs. His 185.2 passer rating trails only Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, and Joe Burrow. Maryland's quarterback Josh Jackson has a touchdown-interception ratio of 3:4 in the last five games. In this matchup, he will have to find a way to beat the Buckeye's stingy secondary led by junior cornerback Jeffery Okudah, who is considered to be the top cornerback eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Although the Buckeyes are dangerous in the passing attack, they are arguably the best team in college football at running the ball. Junior running back J.K. Dobbins leads the team in rushing yards (1,110), which is the fourth-most in all of college football this season. His average of 7.2 yards per carry ranks second among all running backs with over 100 carries, trailing only Clemson running back Travis Etienne. Despite the Terps struggle to contain the run, they have allowed only two 100-yard rushers this season. 

The only way for the Terps to stay in this game is if they can get their ground game going. They do have a nice one-two punch with junior Javon Leake, who leads the team with 581 rushing yards, and sophomore Anthony McFarland Jr. Unfortunately for them, Ohio State has not allowed a single 100-yard rusher this season. Even with the loss of Chase Young to a suspension for an undisclosed NCAA violation, the Buckeyes still own one of the better front sevens in the country.

The Terps have been shredded in the pass game. Ohio State's head coach Ryan Day has down a really good job at getting many players consistently involved in the offense. Their receivers Chris Olave (411 yards), Binjimen Victor (355), and K.J. Hill (305) have been effective when their numbers have been called. The Terps' top defensive backs Antoine Brooks Jr will not have it easy. To make things worse, their senior cornerback Marcus Lewis is questionable to play with a lower body injury.

One of the biggest reasons why the Terrapins have struggled this season is their inability to distribute the ball effectively. Sophomore receiver Dontay Demus Jr leads the team in receptions (32), receiving yards (491), and touchdowns (4). The 6-foot-3 200-pound receiver has been their most dynamic player and lone bright spot on the team. Besides him, no other receiver on the Terps roster has more than 18 catches. 

Prediction: The overall talent on Ohio State's roster far exceeds that of Maryland. The Terps have been outscored by a total of 230-107 the past six games. The Buckeyes will continue to roll and the Terps will likely suffer another defeat in blowout fashion.