2019 Game Preview: Ohio State vs Maryland
Ohio State is coming back from their second bye week of the season after dismantling Wisconsin, who has the number 1 ranked defense in the country going into that game. Chase Young, JK Dobbins, and the Buckeyes made a statement about who was the best of the Big Ten was, and will have an opportunity to play a potentially undefeated or 1 loss Penn State team who comes to Columbus on November 23.
The first official playoff rankings came out this week, and Ohio State is the number 1 team in the country. Ryan Day and Justin Fields have both said that they will worry about that the last week of the season when the rankings really matter.
This game against Maryland is their first game in a four game stretch, where they will travel to Rutgers, host Penn State, and Michigan. If Ohio State goes unbeaten in the stretch, they would then play for the Big Ten Championship game against the Big Ten West Champions, who could be either Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, or Wisconsin. Everything is still ahead for the Buckeyes in terms of season goals, and November is the month where champion teams separate themselves from the other contenders, but it starts with this week, and the Buckeyes hope they don’t have a repeat of last years game against the Terrapins.
Head Coach: Mike Locksley
2019 Record: 3-6
Location: College Park, MD
Conference: Big Ten
Ohio State Preview: Ohio State is the number 1 team in the country according to the college football playoff committee. Not a bad place to start after coming off a bye week, and beating the currently 13th ranked Wisconsin 38-7. Ohio State used the last two weeks to help them heal, and work on getting better to try and cover up any weakness. If you were to look at this team though and what they have done, their body fo work has been impressive, and have not had a game closer than 24 points all season. If there are any weaknesses this team has shown, it has not been exposed.
Justin Fields has passed for 1659 yards through the first 8 games, and has an impressive 24 passing touchdowns to 1 interception. He continues to be a threat in the run game with 319 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns, giving him a total of 33 touchdowns. He has a good chance to pad some stats these next two weeks, but he might not play past the third quarter either. He doesn;t have the same passing yardage as Dwayne Haskins did at this time last year, but his dual threat ability has been a reason why this offense has been so dangerous.
JK Dobbins has rushed for over 1000 yards three seasons in a row, the first ever Buckeye to do so as a freshman, sophomore and junior. His 1110 yards on the ground places him as the 4th best rusher in the country, and first in the Big Ten. With 4 regular season games left and a potential Big Ten Championship game, he could really challenge for the season record. His 9 touchdowns matches him with with Justin Fields for most rushing touchdowns. Reliable back up Master Teague has 588 yards rushing with 4 touchdowns. He has a chance to get close to 100 yards this season.
Chris Olave took over at the top spot for yardage and touchdowns for this receiving corp. He paces Zone 6 with 411 yards and 8 touchdowns. Ben Victor has 355 yards for the season along with 3 touchdowns. KJ Hill is 18 receptions away from breaking the career record for receptions, and has 205 yards to go along with 4 touchdowns. Austin Mack was out for the last game, and looks to come back into the rotation for this final stretch, along with Garrett Wilson, who could be the new punt returner for Ohio State after a few weeks of big returns.
I do not envy the Terrapins who have to find a solution for Chase Young and company. Ohio State still ranks number 2 in total defense, and will look to add some pressure against an inconsistent offense.
Maryland Preview: Mike Locksley comes into his first season as a head coach from Alabama. There was a mini-rivalry with him and Michigan’s OC Josh Gattis, but the Wolverines had the last laugh with a 38-7 win at College Park. In a season that started off with a lot of promise, the loss to Temple started a trend for the Terrapins where they could not recover. They only have a win in Big Ten play against Rutgers, but they still have been able to recruit in the DMV area, and there is a lot of potential with their youth.
Josh Jackson is their starting quarterback, who transferred from Virginia Tech. He has passed for 1065 yards to go along with 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has been sacked 15 times this season, and has negative 50 yards rushing.
The Terrapins have had to play a few different running backs due to injury this season, and their leading rusher is Javon Leake, who has 581 yards rushing, and 7 touchdowns. Anthony McFarland, who rushed for nearly 300 yards against Ohio State last year, has 438 yards rushing so far this season and also has 7 touchdowns on the ground.
The favorite receiver is Dontay Demus Jr, who has 491 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns. Next is tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo, who has 190 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. Running back Tayon Fleet-Davis is the third leading receiver with 2 touchdowns and 179 yards.
Buckeye Spotlight: Justin Fields. The Heisman race has become a quaterback club since the 2000’s, and although Justin Fields is up there with Joe Burrow and Tua, he has not had a game where you can look and point out a Heisman game. That is in large part due to the competiton, and how well the offense has played, but this time last year, Haskins was building his resume to get him the invite to New York. Fields has to compete with his teammates in Chase Young, and JK Dobbins.
Terrapin Spotlight: Dontay Demus Jr. He is the favorite target for quarterback Josh Jackson, and lead Maryland with 491 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.
Water Cooler Stat of the Game: 270. Maryland has given up 270 points already this season, thanks in large part to blowouts against Penn State, Michigan and Minnesota. If Ohio State’s offense good as expected, then they should be able to light up the scoreboard.
Prediction: Ohio State knows what is in front of them, and depsite this game going into overtime last season, Ryan Day will have them focused for the task ahead. I expect the starters to play the first half, and explode against a very average Maryland defense, making way for the backups halfway through the third quarter to the end of the game. If Day wants to help build his Heisman candidates, keep Chase Young in enough to get a 2 or 3 sack game, have Dobbins for over 150 yards, and let Fields get 4 total touchdowns. This week and next week are just warm ups for the final two games against Penn St`1ate and Michigan.
Ohio State 51 – Maryland 3
Photo Credit to The Toledo Blade