Ohio State has never scored fewer than 49 points in their five games against Maryland, and this weekend, they are favored by nearly that many against the Terrapins.
The Terps have had a strange year. They demolished Howard 79-0, then routed nationally ranked Syracuse 63-20, and subsequently appeared in the polls themselves. AP voters had them No. 21 in week three...which Maryland responded to by losing six of their next seven.
What has been the cause of the slide?
Inconsistent quarterback play is part of the story. Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson has completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes (49.7) and has thrown five interceptions to go along with his 10 passing touchdowns.
He has split time with Tyrell Pigrome, who is the more mobile signal caller, but who also has an underwater touchdown to interception radio. He has thrown for scores three times, while he has been picked off five.
With that being the case, Maryland has turned to explosive running backs Javon Leake and Anthony McFarland, the latter of whom Ohio State fans should be familiar with, because he ran for 298 yards and two touchdowns against the Buckeyes last year.
Indeed both backs have seven rushing touchdowns a piece, and they are a huge part of why Maryland is ranked ninth nationally in running plays of 30 yards or more with 12 such carries. (They are also fifth with five plays of 50 yards or more.)
But those numbers don't translate into time of possession, where the Terrapins are ranked 116th. They also haven't helped in the red zone, because Maryland is only scoring 65.3 percent of the time ther. (Of course, it really, really doesn't help that the Terps have one solitary red zone field goal all season, a 31-yard score that constitutes their only successful field goal attempt this year on four tries.)
Defensively, Ohio State coach Ryan Day noted this week that Maryland is one of the top teams in the country when it comes to having the least missed tackles. And many of those tackles occur in the opponent's backfield, as they are ranked 26th in TFLs.
However, the Terrapins have a young group of defensive backs. Six of the eight players listed in the team's two-deep at safety or corner are freshmen or sophomores. So they are 111th nationally in giving up 262.8 passing yards per game.
Ohio State and Maryland play at noon, with pregame on 610 WTVN starting at 10:00 a.m.
Other Maryland Nuggets:
- In addition to his explosive play at running back, Leake is one of the Big Ten's most effective kick returners, and has three TDs as a kick returner over the course of his career. In 2019, he has run one back for 100 yards against Rutgers as well as scoring on a 97 yarder versus Michigan.
- At the same time, DJ Turner has returned a punt for a score for Maryland, making them--along with UCLA--the only teams this season so far to have kick and punt return touchdowns.
- Maryland has an offensive lineman in their two-deep, Ellis McKennie, who has started at four different positions along the line during his time with the Terps. In fact, he's listed as a possible starter at center or guard against the Buckeyes. The only spot where he hasn't started? Left guard.
- That's not the only position where Maryland lists more than one potential starter, and one of the players they might punt for the Terrapins? Anthony Percorella is a second degree black belt.
- It is especially unfortunate that Chase Young is sitting out this week for a possible NCAA infraction. Not only is he just a half sack shy of tying Vernon Gholston for the Ohio State single-season record, but the Maryland native also went to the same Dematha Catholic high school as a dozen of the Terrapins.