Buckeyes (4-0) vs. Terrapins (5-0) Match-Up Preview: 10/7 12:00 PM EST.

October 5, 2023

Andy Billman

Gameday Preview Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Maryland Terrapins

Buckeyes Prepare for Game 5 of Season Against Maryland on Saturday: 

1 – Marvin Harrison Jr.’s ankle update 

WR Marvin Harrison Jr. spoke to the press about his ankle that he injured in South Bend against the Irish. It is worse than the 2022 ankle injury, but he should be okay to play.  Harrison 

“I would say it’s worse than the one last year, but I’m good enough to play.”

2 – Day on McCord 

Head Coach Ryan Day spoke to the press about QB Kyle McCord, and Day seems pleased with his development.  Day “There were a lot of good things in the game, certainly at the end.”  Day also mentioned that McCord still has some things to learn, and his growth is continuing “he’s got to grow and get better in a lot of areas.”

3 – October Schedule

Buckeyes have an easier start to the month compared to the end.  At home against Maryland and at Purdue should be two victories.  And then the second half will be Penn State at home and on the road against Wisconsin.  Very tricky month, but November is far easier aside from the game against Michigan.   One other note is the early bye, playing Penn State and Wisconsin back to back with no bye could be challenging with injuries as both teams are physical. 

Ohio State Buckeyes Notes

Ohio State’s defensive line held up admirably against Notre Dame, demonstrating their strength in the trenches. While Maryland has been impressive in their trench play, their offense is not as formidable as the Fighting Irish’s. The Buckeyes showcased their ability to stop the run when it mattered most in their thrilling 17-14 victory.

Even though Notre Dame’s quarterback, Sam Hartman, was playing at a Heisman-worthy level, Ohio State limited him to just 175 yards. This bodes well for their upcoming matchup against Taulia Tagovailoa.

Crucially, the Buckeyes managed to avoid turnovers against Notre Dame, a stark contrast to Maryland’s struggle with turnovers. Additionally, penalties have not been a significant concern for Ohio State. They are unlikely to make the costly mistakes that Maryland would need to exploit.

Furthermore, Ohio State has gained confidence in its quarterback situation. While Kyle McCord may not be the next CJ Stroud, his performance, highlighted by a clutch game-winning drive in South Bend, should bolster his confidence. Moreover, he is surrounded by NFL-caliber talent on offense, which should alleviate concerns about the team’s earlier offensive struggles in the season.

Match-Up Notes

  • This is the first game between the two teams where both are undefeated.
  • Ohio State is coming off its “off” week. The team practiced Tuesday through Thursday last week and had Friday through Sunday off.
  • This off-week break came in the wake of the team’s physical, 17-14, victory over No. 9 Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Sept. 23.
  • Ohio State is 8-0 all-time vs. Maryland; 4-0 at Ohio Stadium and 4-0 in College Park.
  • The games have all been high-scoring affairs with Ohio State averaging 57.3 points per game against Maryland and the Terrapins countering with 22.6 points vs. Ohio State.
  • Ohio State is the all-time leader in Big Ten wins with 543 in this, its 111th season of Big Ten play. Maryland is in its 10th season of Big Ten Conference play.
  • It’s Hall of Fame week on campus with 14 Ohio State greats entering the Athletics Hall of Fame.

Ohio State Players to Watch and Stats

Buckeyes Players to Watch

  • Kyle McCord has thrown for 1,055 yards while completing 65.5% of his passes (74-of-113), with six touchdowns and one interception this year (263.8 yards per game).
  • TreVeyon Henderson has churned out a team-best 295 rushing yards (73.8 per game) and five touchdowns.
  • DeaMonte Trayanum has rushed for 146 yards on 25 carries (36.5 yards per game), with two touchdowns on the ground this year.
  • Marvin Harrison Jr. has 17 catches and paces his team with 336 receiving yards (84.0 ypg) while scoring three touchdowns.
  • Emeka Egbuka’s stat line this year shows 19 catches for 263 yards and three touchdowns. He averages 65.8 receiving yards per game.
  • This season Cade Stover has caught 17 passes for 240 yards, averaging 80.0 receiving yards per game.

Buckeyes Stats

  • Ohio State’s 45 consecutive home wins have come against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • Ohio State has successfully covered the spread in seven of its last eight October matchups against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • In its last seven home games against conference opponents, Ohio State has emerged victorious in the first quarter.
  • Ohio State has triumphed in the first half in each of its last 17 games against conference opponents at Ohio Stadium.
  • Over the past six October games, Ohio State has exceeded the total points line when facing non-AP-ranked teams.

Maryland Terrapins Notes

This team is much more physically imposing than most people might expect.

With a formidable offensive line, they have been able to dominate the early part of the Big Ten season, securing victories against Michigan State and Indiana. Their ground game has been relentless, effectively relieving the pressure on their efficient and accurate passing attack.

The defense, on the other hand, is even more formidable.

While it may concede some passing yards and show signs of flexibility, it compensates for these shortcomings by consistently applying tremendous pressure from the front and generating a plethora of turnovers. Over the past four games, the Terps have forced a remarkable 12 turnovers, making them the second-best team in the nation in terms of turnover margin.

Maryland Players to Watch and Stats

Terrapins Players to Watch

  • Taulia Tagovailoa leads his team with 1,464 passing yards (292.8 per game) and has a 65.7% completion percentage (111-of-169), throwing 13 touchdown passes and three interceptions. He also has 68 rushing yards on 14 carries (with three touchdowns), averaging 13.6 yards per game.
  • Roman Hemby has churned out a team-best 309 rushing yards (61.8 per game) and four touchdowns. He has added 12 receptions for 117 yards (23.4 yards per game).
  • Colby McDonald has run for 204 yards on 26 carries (51.0 yards per game), with two touchdowns on the ground this year.
  • This season Jeshaun Jones has 19 receptions for a team-high 319 receiving yards (79.8 per game) and two touchdowns.
  • Tai Felton has contributed with 299 yards (on 18 catches) and three touchdowns.
  • Kaden Prather is averaging 50.8 yards per game, racking up 18 receptions for 254 yards and three touchdowns.

Terrapins Stats

  • Maryland has lost each of its last 14 October games as a road underdog.
  • Maryland has failed to cover the spread in each of its last nine October games as a road underdog.
  • Maryland has won the first half in each of its last four games against conference opponents.
  • Eleven of Maryland’s last 12 games as an underdog against top-10 AP-ranked teams have gone OVER the total points line.

Pick and Prediction

Be extremely cautious; there’s a clear reason why Maryland stands at an undefeated 5-0 record.

They boast the finest quarterback in the sport, possess an opportunistic defense, and are determined to embrace their underdog status. This week, don’t expect Lou Holtz to motivate the Buckeyes.

Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that Ohio State holds a perfect 8-0 record in their historical matchups with Maryland, dating back to 2014. They’ve managed an average of just 57 points per game during these encounters.

Anticipate a strong performance from Ohio State’s defense, with occasional offensive surges to maintain their lead. This victory won’t be as straightforward as it may appear.

Our Pick:  

Series Record

Ohio State leads the series 8-0

Reflecting on Ohio State’s recent performances, they managed to score only 23 points against Indiana during their away game. Additionally, they fell short of covering the 44.5-point spread when playing FCS Youngstown State at home. Although they secured a victory against Notre Dame, their rushing game was limited to just 126 yards. While Maryland may not be on par with Notre Dame, they present a stronger challenge than Indiana. With their potent offense, they have the potential to give the Buckeyes a run for their money. Looking back at the previous season, Tagovailoa amassed 293 yards at home, delivering two touchdowns and outperforming C.J. Stroud, who is considered superior to McCord. I’m not implying that Maryland will necessarily come out on top, but they certainly possess the capability to make this contest a closely contested matchup.

Prediction: Maryland +19.5

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