COLLEGE PARK, Md. — With a 28-3 lead, Ohio State already looked assured of victory against an overmatched Maryland team.
Even though it may not have determined the final outcome, one play in the middle of the second quarter helped turn the game into a rout. Ohio State was already in a hyperaggressive mode, having just failed to convert a fourth-down attempt in Maryland territory. That rare misstep gave the Terrapins a chance to fight their way back into the game. Instead, they gave it right back.
Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore made an impressive interception on the ensuing play. The Buckeyes scored seven plays later, adding two more scores before halftime. All of a sudden, that 28-3 lead swelled to 45-3. Here’s a breakdown of the play that started the surge and killed off any hope the Terrapins had.
Quarterback Perry Hills lasted only two drives before being replaced by Caleb Rowe. Hills had been banged up against Michigan one week prior.
A shoulder injury left him unable to continue against the Buckeyes, so Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin turned to Rowe. It was not an ideal situation for the hosts.
“Our offense runs a lot better when Perry’s in there,” Durkin said. “When he’s been healthy, our offense has been pretty effective. Even last week, it didn’t equate to points, but we moved the ball really well when he was in the game. There are probably a lot of teams like that in the country. You take their starting quarterbacks out, and they struggle a little bit. It is what it is.”
On the list of things for an offense to avoid, “leaving Nick Bosa unblocked” has to be pretty high up there. On this play, however, it wasn’t high enough. From the second the ball was snapped, the true freshman defensive end was ignored by Maryland’s left tackle. When Rowe rolled to his left, look who was waiting for him.
“Bosa got the pressure on my interception,” Lattimore said. “The big credit goes to the defensive line. On all the picks we get, they disrupt the quarterback and make them throw bad passes. We’re just going out there and playing defense.”
Lattimore was all alone when he made the catch, but he earned that space. Maryland receiver D.J. Moore clearly wasn’t on the same page with Hills. He failed to realize that until it was too late, however.
Conversely, Lattimore made a beautiful adjustment to the ball, catching it on the sideline.
“I bailed off of it as soon as I saw where the quarterback was going with the ball and just reacted to it,” Lattimore said.
Not only did Lattimore do well to change direction and give himself a chance, but he also toed the sideline perfectly while making the catch.
He got both feet down while making a leaping grab. It was a clear-cut interception to begin with, but he made sure he left no doubt.
“I didn’t know where I was at on the field, so I was just trying to make sure I was in,” he said.