2018 Game Preview: Ohio State vs Maryland

Ohio State Preview: The last two games for Ohio State have not been pretty, but the most important part is that they have 2 wins. At this point in the season, it is a one game season, and their challenge is Maryland. Maryland, like Ohio State, have had some external and internal issues this season, and both are trying to make the most out of their situation. Ohio State was able to go into East Lansing last week, and hold a top 18 team in the country to just 6 points, and held them to under 300 yards. For a lot of teams, that would be perceived as a big win, but with the new playoff system, there are some that still see Ohio State’s win as not enough, or didn’t pass the eye test since they didn’t dominate the game. It is easy to argue that Michigan State’s offense isn’t great, but the defense did what it needed to do to control the game, and the offense got the plays it needed to seal the win.

Dwayne Haskins didn’t have an all-American type of game, but he is still putting up elite numbers for the season. Through 10 games, he now has 3280 passing yards, and 32 touchdowns. He is one pace to potentially break both the passing yards record and passing touchdowns record this game against Maryland, who have giving up some big plays in the passing game. If this really is his only year starting for the Scarlet and Gray, he will need to step up and take command of this team, and get the momentum of the offensive line.

Last week, JK Dobbins was highlighted as the player spotlight, but it was Mike Weber who took over on the running game with 22 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. That puts him at 711 yards for the season, just one shy of JK Dobbins, who now has 712. Both backs are great, and Ohio State will need them both down the stretch. If there is a way to get both 100 yards the last 3 games, then they will both eclipse 1000 yards for the season. Hopefully Ohio State starts that chance this week.

Terry McLaurin led all receivers last week in yardage, and it needs to be stated how much he has done for the team this year. He draws a lot of comparisons to Evan Spencer, and that is a high praise. Evan Spencer was critical in the championship run in 2014, and McLaurin might need that same effort. Does anyone know if he can throw the ball? We can’t ignore Parris Campbell, who continues to be a do everything H-back for the team, and KJ Hill, who made up for his game against Nebraska. Zone 6 will be depended upon and help Haskins out for these last stretch of games.

There can not be enough praise for the defensive performance last week, and if they continue to play like that, then Ohio State can compete with just about anyone in the country. If only they played like this earlier in the season, they might not have lost to Purdue. The game ball was awarded to William White, Brendon Whites father, who is battling ALS. Brendon has made his father and the team proud with two great weeks in a row. There seems to be a energy now with the team, and hopefully that momentum continues to carry them.

Drue Chrisman got robbed of the special teams player of the week. He pinned Michigan State down within their 6 yard line 5 times. Indiana’s kicker did kick a game winning field goal, Chrisman’s performance was just as impactful in regards to the outcome if the game.

Maryland Preview:  Maryland’s off the field and offseason issues have been well documented and still under investigation. A day after reinstating DJ Durkin, he was fired as a result of the death of a player. Life is a serious matter, and the passing of anyone on any team should be respected. It is never easy to deal with the death of a loved one, and we wish for the time and healing, and offer our prayers for everyone impacted by his passing.

Maryland had a signature win to start the season, defeating Texas for the second year in a row. Since then, they have wen 4-5. and are currently 5th in the Big Ten East. With some issues with health, the Terrapins have had an inconsistent season so far, and now they are faced with one of their toughest opponents yet.

Maryland will rely on quarterback Kasim Hill, who has 1083 yards passing for the season, along with 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, and completing about 50 percent of his passes. The strength though of the Maryland offense is not in the passing, but in the running game.

Anthony McFarland leads Maryland with 724 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Not far behind him is Ty Johnson, who has 506 yards so far for the year, and 3 touchdowns. Maryland will try to use a combination of backs to wear down the defense, and keep their backs rested.

With some of the struggles on the passing game, the lead receiver for Maryland is Taivon Jacobs, who has 253 yards on 21 receptions and 2 touchdowns. Behind him is Jeshaun Jones with 244 yards on 18 receptions and 4 touchdowns. They defense will need to keep those two contained to limit Maryland’s passing attack.

Defensively, they are 55th in the country in points against, averaging 25.4 points. They are susceptible to both the run and the pass,  and have had issues in passing defense. This is where Ohio State will need to exploit the Terrapins, and have the passing game help open up the run game.

Buckeye Spotlight: Dwayne Haskins. If you had asked early this season, Dwayne would have been player that wouldn’t cause concern about his performance, but since the Purdue game, there is just something that seems off. It might be the midseason grind, or the extra pressure he is putting on himself, but the Buckeyes have found their offensive identity through Haskins, and he will need to be laser focused and accurate these last two games.

Terrapin Spotlight: Anthony McFarland. The running back has carried the team on the rushing game with 724 yards, and could be an issue if he breaks into the second level on our defense. Although, based on how they are playing now, the defense might be able to make Maryland one dimensional with a passing game.

Water Cooler Stat of the Game: 51, 3. Dwayne Haskins will just need 51 yards to take the single season passing yards record, which is currently held by Joe Germaine at 3330. He is also 3 passing touchdowns away from breaking the season passing touchdowns record which is currently held by JT Barrett at 35. The first one could go down Ohio State’s first drive. The second could go down in the first half.

Prediction: Ohio State should have some momentum going into this game after a tough cold matchup last week against Michigan State. Maryland lost last week to Indiana on a last second field goal, and with everything internally and externally going on with the team, I think the talent and focus the Buckeyes will have knowing what is still at stake, they will take control of this game, and head into The Game week with an 10-1 record and a chance to win the Big Ten East.

Ohio State 38 – Maryland 10

Photo credit to Muppet Wiki

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