Few things are more enjoyable than the chance to be inside a college football stadium on a Saturday. Especially when it’s the chance to watch Ohio State.
The pageantry of college football is unmatched in American sports. Up close, it’s awe-inspiring, especially watching it from the sidelines, a way that most folks only dream about. Because I’m really, really fortunate, I get to do that every weekend.
When you’re watching it from the sidelines, though, there are things you’re sure to miss. That’s why it’s important to get home and watch it again from the couch. With a beer.
That’s what I’m doing now, taking a few hours to have a Scarlet and Gray replay, and seeing things that might’ve been missed at first glance during Ohio State’s 62-3 stomping of Maryland. I’m settled in with a cold beverage and ready to rock and roll.
Let’s rewatch Ohio State at Maryland, because the first time wasn’t bad enough for the Terrapins.
First Quarter: Ohio State strikes quickly and often
Urban Meyer seemed to be in a particularly feisty mood at the start of this game. When the Buckeyes came out of the locker room, Meyer immediately motioned to the large Ohio State crowd in attendance, urging them to get loud. He knew Ohio State had the attendance advantage from the start.
I noticed it live. It was pretty clear in the stadium that the average Maryland fan wasn’t real football savvy. When J.T. Barrett threw the interception (overruled by pass interference) on the second play of the game, the defensive back was on the ground and got up and ran it in for a “touchdown.” The crowd actually got loud for some reason, because they obviously didn’t know that in college you can’t get up and run. Just thought it was funny.
These Maryland uniforms, all red as they are, are terrible. I mean really bad.
The Buckeyes want to get Curtis Samuel involved early to get the offense clicking, and they did so. The burst he’s got is next-level and the Buckeyes offensive line is opening some big holes. They also did a good job early of protecting Barrett, who has had a lot of time to throw.
Mike Weber took most of the week off in practice but came out of the gate running really hard, as usual. The combination of he and Samuel – if used correctly – is really effective. The Buckeyes scored very easily on their opening drive for the third straight week.
After giving Ohio State fits with his legs a year ago in Columbus, Maryland quarterback Perry Hills looked beaten before he took a snap on Saturday. Maryland went three-and-out and the Buckeyes received great field position. Interestingly, the Buckeyes ran almost a “triple-option” look early with Barrett, Mike Weber and Dontre Wilson in the backfield and Weber gained 25 yards on it. The next play, Weber was the lead blocker as Samuel picked up 16. A play later Barrett walked in for a touchdown. The Buckeyes’ misdirection made it difficult for Maryland to know who possessed the ball.
Chris Worley continues to impress me. He’s not getting the attention Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker do, but, man, he’s consistent. The trio of linebackers are very aggressive against Maryland early, knowing the Terps are more horizontal in their running game. Perry Hills was knocked out by Baker, but Maryland actually stood up a bit defensively.
I always think a sudden change at quarterback is a kind of advantage for an offense, especially when it goes from one style of quarterback to another. Caleb Rowe, who entered the game firing for the Terrapins, put together a nice drive. Ohio State had a blown coverage by Malik Hooker, but Maryland failed to convert one first-and-goal from the 3-yard line. It should have resulted in a score, but because Big Ten officials are terrible, they got the call wrong multiple times and the Terps hurt themselves with a false start penalty on fourth-and-1. Buckeyes lead, 14-3.
I won’t go play-by-play with the next Ohio State drive, but the Buckeyes did a great job getting the ball down the field. Barrett went deep to Curtis Samuel twice, the second resulting in a 36-yard score. What was most interesting about this particular score was what TV didn’t show.
As Samuel and the Buckeyes came off the field, a Maryland fan – he appeared to be a student – began loudly cussing at a few Ohio State players. He also threw a shoulder into Samuel, and then Mike Weber, who stopped and turned around to chat with the student. Weber thought better of the discussion, and proceeded toward the bench and Urban Meyer saw the confrontation. At that point, the fan started to yell obscenities at Meyer, who also wanted to have a chat with him, but he, too, thought better of it. Instead, Meyer asked to have the “fan” removed from the field.
I’ve never seen, in any of the stadiums I’ve been during the past three years, anything like that happen.
First quarter keys
- Three Buckeyes drives resulted in touchdowns that took a combined 15 plays. Ohio State needed just four plays, seven plays, and four plays for scores.
- Ohio State averaged seven yards per carry.
Second Quarter: That’s going to do it
The Buckeyes marched the ball down the field early again and, with more than 12 minutes left in the first half, had already recorded nine plays of 10-plus yards after a dynamic catch and run by Marcus Baugh. J.T. Barrett scored his second rushing touchdown, following a lead block by Mike Weber again, and this one is O-V-E-R already. After an eight play, 63-yard drive, Ohio State leads, 28-3. Maryland fans have started for the exit.
After a slow start this season, the Buckeyes defensive line has really played well lately, especially Tyquan Lewis. The growth of Michael Hill, Robert Landers and Dre’Mont Jones has opened things for the rush ends. Maryland was aggressive from the start, which I admire, but trailing 28-3 and trying to pick up a fourth-down conversion on its own 38-yard line is a little gutsy. Trying to run it to the edge, though? That’s dumb. There aren’t many teams in the country faster to the corner than the Ohio State defense.
Curtis Samuel has shown multiple times in this game (and all year) that he can’t be covered one-on-one, but it was a major surprise he didn’t hold on to the second quarter deep ball from Barrett. That led to Ohio State turning the ball over on downs on a read-option that made no sense. The game is in hand, but there’s still things to work on for the Buckeyes.
I’ve said it a number of times this year, but enjoy Marshon Lattimore while you can because he’s a Top 20 pick in the NFL Draft next year. This second-quarter interception, though, can be credited to Nick Bosa, who forced Caleb Rowe to try to get the ball out of bounds but couldn’t because Bosa knocked the throw out of his hand. With seven minutes left in the half, Meyer asked the Buckeyes for more pace offensively. He isn’t happy with any kind of slow down when he has starters on the field in this kind of game.
The third touchdown of the half for Curtis Samuel came on a really nifty reverse from Barrett to Weber to Samuel. Ohio State started getting creative. The face D.J. Durkin made for the camera after that score tells the tale. It’s 35-3 in favor of the Buckeyes.
Dontre Wilson has really stepped up at wide receiver, becoming a reliable pass catcher. He could have checked out after the punt return issues, but he didn’t and it’s great the Buckeyes are looking for ways to keep him involved. He’s a guy that rest of the team really loves, and it’s obvious to see the way they appreciate him.
Raekwon McMillan played one of his best games of the season. He had a great game at Maryland as a freshman as well, scoring his only career touchdown.
Second quarter keys
- Austin Mack had a real nice block on Weber’s big run. That’s how you get over the “freshman hump.”
- We should be hearing about Weber more.
- In the second quarter, Maryland – on 16 plays – gained 14 yards.
- Curtis Samuel is the best wide receiver on the Buckeyes roster right now.
- Ohio State is blitzing linebackers more as the season progresses.
- Demario McCall at tailback for the Buckeyes in the second quarter? Yes, he’s coming, folks, and there will be a lot of exciting moments because of it.
- I like the decision by Meyer to have Tyler Durbin kick the 45-yard field goal toward the end of the half. That is a player that will become very important at some point this season.
Third and Fourth quarters: Time for Buckeyes to develop depth
There is not a lot to talk about regarding the second half of this game, if we’re being realists. Ohio State did everything it needed in the first half and ended the game early, which is a great sign for a team that tends to play down to its competition.
We will skip the in-depth analysis about the second half, because it’s all a bunch of clock-running and experience-gaining. Good for the Buckeyes, bad for me re-watching this game at 3 a.m.
Second half Keys
- The Buckeyes gave their young players a lot of reps. You can not discount how valuable that is. A bunch of freshmen and backups for almost a full half, on the road, in the Big Ten? Huge.
- Maryland bringing in Tyrrell Pigrome was good for Ohio State. All three Terrapins quarterbacks displayed different styles, which is almost like free work for the Buckeyes.
- For the first time in a few weeks (that I can remember), Barrett hit that little swing pass to the running back in stride and you can see why it’s important. Finding McCall on the move leads to a big play because he’s spectacularly fast with the ball in his hands.
- Dontre Wilson’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious. Still, it’s a shame he can’t get to – and stay at – 100 percent.
- Binjimen Victor is going to be a really good player in the Big Ten. Ohio State tried to get him a score last week, but the coaching staff was happy to get him his first career touchdown this week.
- Barrett played one drive too many, but c’est la vie.
- K.J. Hill is emerging as a go-to guy for Ohio State quarterbacks. His ability to just catch the ball and turn upfield is key.
- Parris Campbell displayed his speed a bit Saturday night.
- Joe Burrow is really confident running the Buckeyes offense. If Barrett goes down at any point, he’ll be ready.
- Don’t know why Denzel Ward was in street clothes during the second half, but that’s something to keep an eye on for the Buckeyes.
- It’s pretty cool to see how the veterans – especially on the defensive line – react when the young guys make a play. Jonathon Cooper was mobbed by his teammates after a tackle for loss. The “power of the unit” isn’t just a line, it appears. Those guys really support one another.