The Maryland Terrapins big home opener at Byrd Stadium ended up a good ole fashioned B1G blowout. The Ohio State Buckeyes gave Maryland fans a rude awakening as they stormed into College Park and cruised to a 52-24 victory that was over by halftime.
The Buckeyes got 31 points out of their offense in the first half, including 289 yards of balanced attack led by QB J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot had just shy of 90 yards to finish the first half, while Barrett had three touchdowns that scorched the Terps defense. Ohio State came away with points on six of their eight drives in the first half. Barrett finished with four touchdowns passing and one rushing, while Elliot had 139 yards rushing.
Meanwhile, The Terps simply couldn’t get anything going offensively under QB C.J. Brown in the first half and dug a hole too deep to get out of. Brown, sporting a brace on his left wrist, was 11-of-18 with no touchdowns and a very costly interception to end the first half. Just after the Terps scored their first touchdown of the game late in the second quarter, the defense came up big with and Maryland had a chance to gain momentum and cut the deficit. But Brown ended up throwing an interception that resulted in 7 points for Ohio State the next drive and pushed the lead to 21.
Brown was eventually benched in the second half in favor of backup QB Caleb Rowe, who has seen time quite a bit this year already. Rowe helped lead the Terps to two touchdowns scoring drives in the second half, but also threw two interceptions. The first was on an overthrown ball to Marcus Leak in the end zone, while the second was a pick-six on a tipped ball by Marcus Leak.
Ohio State racked up 533 yards of total offense, and summarily dominated Maryland offensively with a strong run game. The Buckeyes improved to 4-1 on the year.
The Terrapins have a lot of questions to answer as they head into a bye week. First and foremost among them is whether or not C.J. Brown will be their starting quarterback for the remainder of this season. Maryland’s offense has not looked cohesive with Brown at the helm, and it’s looked slightly more effective with him off the field. In Brown’s sixth year, you have to wonder whether or not the Terps ought to look at the future and whether or not Caleb Rowe is their guy moving forward.
Still, Rowe had three interceptions against Ohio State, and the knock against him has always been decision making. That said, two of those were tipped balls by the offense and all of them are correctable. Maryland needs to decide whether this bye week should be taken preparing Rowe for the remainder of the season, or trying to figure out how on earth they can win with the offense stagnating under Brown early and digging a hole against top tier teams
But more importantly, they’ve got a lot of work to do defensively. A lot of that has to do with the entire unit getting a bit more healthy. LB Matt Robinson was a guy who could have helped out the team in stopping the run, which is a big time problem. The Big Ten has a ton of teams that can run the ball, and the ability to stop it may well decide this team’s potential. It’s hard to win games with a thin defense that’s on the field for two-thirds of the game.
That said, this is a loss to Ohio State. Teams lose to Ohio State all the time, and Ohio State embarrasses a lot of teams. They make you look worse than you actually are. Maryland isn’t as bad as that score indicates, but they definitely got knocked down a peg. Sometimes you need a reality check, though.