Maryland football vs No. 3 Ohio State preview

Maryland football is on its worst losing streak of the season. And things don’t appear to be getting any easier as the team faces its third consecutive ranked opponent.

Although No. 3 Ohio State will be without star defenside end Chase Young, the team is still highly favored.

Most recently, the Terps lost 38-7 to No. 14 Michigan on Homecoming in a game where the team’s only points came from a Javon Leake kick return touchdown.

Maryland hasn’t won a game since Oct. 5 and would have to pull off three victories in its final three games — at No. 3 Ohio State, vs Nebraska and at Michigan State — in order to go to a bowl game.

Saturday’s game is slated to begin at noon ET, and will be broadcast on FOX.

Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten)

2018 record: 13-1, 8-1

Head coach Ryan Day is in his first season at the prestigious Ohio State program, taking over after Urban Meyer retired after a 28-23 victory over Washington in the Rose Bowl last year. After Meyer was placed on leave while the university investigated him on his knowledge of domestic violence allegations involving former assistant coach Zach Smith,

Day, who was the offensive coordinator at the time, was named as the interim head coach and led the Buckeyes to victories over Oregon State, Rutger and TCU. Day has continued his success into the 2019 season and remains undefeated as the head coach of Ohio State.

Players to know

Justin Fields, sophomore quarterback, 6’3, 223 lbs, No. 1. Fields spent his freshman year at Georgia, playing in 12 games and finishing 27-39 for 328 passing yards and four rushing and passing touchdowns, before becoming a Buckeye.

Since coming to Columbus, Fields has been efficient for Ohio State. The Kennesaw, Georgia, native has accounted for 33 touchdowns, 24 passing and nine rushing, which is the second-best nationally. Despite being responsible for multiple touchdowns in every game this season for Ohio State, Fields only has one interception in 186 passing attempts.

J.K. Dobbins, junior running back, 5’10, 217 lbs, No. 2. Following two incredible seasons that made him the first Ohio State running back to ever have multiple 1,000-yard seasons, Dobbins is having another great season in the Buckeye backfield.

Although fellow running back Master Teague III may get a few carries, Dobbins is Ohio State’s lead back. He has 1,125 rushing yards on 154 rushes and nine touchdowns. The junior running back has also showcased his ability to break off long runs, ranking third nationally with 12 rushes of 20 or more yards this year.

In his two previous matchups against the Terps, Dobbins has been dominant, rushing for 299 yards on 50 carries for two touchdowns.

Strength

Defense. Offense. All of the above. With playmakers like Young, Dobbins and Fields on both sides of the ball, Ohio State is a well-balanced and talented team. Although it has only given up two touchdowns in the last 12 quarters of play, the Buckeyes’ defense does not have to worry about giving up points. The team’s offense is ranked in the top-10 in yards per game (514.8) and scoring offense (48.3 points per game).

“Playing an undefeated Ohio State team at Ohio State definitely gets you motivated because you know you have to execute because they’re great football team,” quarterback Josh Jackson said. “You really have to be on your A game, and that gets you excited throughout the week, to be able to play a team like that.”

Weakness

None. As previously mentioned, Ohio State is a talented and deep team. With some of the most talented recruits in the nation, the Buckeyes do not lack in any positions or aspects of their team.

Three things to watch

1. How will the Terps perform after last year’s result? The Buckeyes traveled to College Park last season and barely escaped with a 52-51 overtime win. Maryland had a golden opportunity to pull off one of the biggest wins of the year, but a miscommunication between quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome and wide receiver Jeshaun Jones cut the upset short.

“We’re two different teams than we were a year ago,” Locksley said. “So, to watch that film really doesn’t help us much other than you would hope that because a lot of players are in that locker room that played a team that’s very similar to this team in terms of how competitive they are and the type of rankings that they come in with, that they went out and played their best and they gave themselves a chance.”

Similar to last year’s game, not many people expect this matchup to be very competitive. The Terps opened as 44-point underdogs and haven’t recorded a win in over a month, while Ohio State is one of the four teams that is currently in the College Football Playoff.

2.What can we expect with Keandre Jones’ return? Jones, who played 33 games in a Buckeye jersey, is returning to Columbus for the first time since transfering. The senior transfer is coming off of a game that included six tackles and two pass breakups. He leads the team with six sacks and has a tackle for loss in eight of the last nine games.

“It’s nothing but love for that university,” Jones said. “It made me the man I am today, the student and athlete I am today. It was a good three years of my life and I’m looking forward to finishing my time here at Maryland, hopefully with a win Saturday.”

3.What impact with Chase Young’s absence have? Young, one of the best players in college football, will miss Saturday’s matchup against the Terps, according to an Ohio State release. For Maryland, a team that allows 2.33 sacks per game, this matchup was not ideal against a Buckeye team that averages 4.25 sacks per game. The Terps will be without right guard Terrance Davis after he tweaked his knee during practice last week, possibly re-aggravating an injured knee, according to Locksley.

Locksley said earlier this week that Young will have his team’s “full attention,” but the Terps may have a better chance at keeping their quarterback upright in Saturday’s game with Young sidelined.

Predictions

Vegas: Ohio State -43, O/U 65 (as of Thursday night),

ESPN FPI: Ohio State 99.3 % chance to win

Me: Ohio State 66, Maryland 10

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Author:

Cody Wilcox