A grade card on Ohio State’s 49-28 win over Maryland, which eventually lived up to the expectations that it would be a blowout. But not without throwing a scare into OSU fans for the third time in the last four weeks.
The latest twist in the Cardale Jones-J.T. Barrett quarterback saga was unconventional but successful.
Jones (21 of 28 for 291 yards, 2 TDs) started and got most of the playing time and Barrett came on when the Buckeyes got inside Maryland’s 20-yard line. Barrett scored three rushing touchdowns and helped OSU go 6 for 6 inside the 20-yard line after strugglng in that area in its first five games.
There didn’t seem to be much to complain about in the new system, but some people will find a way. It will be interesting to see if it is here to stay.
Ohio State, which had 499 yards total offense, would have gone over 500 yards for the third straight game except for a bad snap late in the game that resulted in a big loss when Barrett had to fall the ball.
The offensive line didn’t dominate early but Ezekiel Elliott finished with 106 yards rushing, his eleventh straight game of more than 100 yards, and scored two touchdowns. OSU found a way to get the ball to Braxton Miller, who caught five passes for 79 yards, including a touchdown catch.
Ohio State allowed two big plays that made the game closer than it should have been. Maryland QB Perry Hills threw a 52-yard touchdown pass, then set up another score with a 75-yard run. It was the second week in a row a quarterback had a run of more than 70 yards against the Buckeyes.
But OSU shut down Maryland’s offense the final 25 minutes, other than a late score against the second-team defense after the high snap over Barrett’s head.
Tyquan Lewis had two sacks, giving him 5.5 for the season, and Joey Bosa got his first solo sack of the season. Defensive end Sam Hubbard made an athletic play for an interception.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Maryland’s William Likely has two long punt returns for touchdowns this season but he didn’t come close to breaking loose against Ohio State’s kick coverage.
For Ohio State, Jalin Marshall had a 28-yard punt return to to with a touchdown catch. Cameron Johnston continues to be one of the best punters in the country but the place kicking situation is a concern.
Jack Willoughby missed his only attempt from 44 yards, which means he still has not hit a field goal of longer than 31 yards in six games. Last year’s kicker Sean Nuernberger has not been seen in a game yet this season.
Considering that West Virginia and Michigan beat Maryland by a combined score of 73-6 in its two previous games, this game probably shouldn’t have been as competitive as it was. OSU’s offense and defense both asserted themselves in the second half but neither got off to a particularly good start.
Many people thought this would finally be the game where Ohio State dominated from beginning to end but it didn’t turn out that way.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.