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Maryland Terrapins vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Preview and Prediction

J.T. Barrett

J.T. Barrett

The Maryland Terrapins travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in a Big Ten East Division battle. Maryland enters the game at 3-1, while Ohio State has a record of 4-1. Maryland is coming off an impressive 31-24 road win at Minnesota, and Ohio State had a dominating road win at Rutgers, 56-0.

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This game will mark the fourth time that Maryland has faced Ohio State as a member of the B1G. All three previous games have been won by Ohio State, and all three wins were by at least 20 points.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer knows first hand that Maryland head coach DJ Durkin will have the Terrapins ready to go when they arrive in Ohio Stadium. In a press conference on Oct. 2, Meyer had this to say about his former assistant: "He was a [graduate assistant] that I was ready to make full time when he was 21 years old. I tried to hire him a couple of other times. Then we got him at Florida. He was an impact coach. I think of all the guys I've had, he's one of the top two or three I've ever had on our staff. ... It's a typical, extremely well-coached team, where the guys go as hard as they possibly can. So I'm not surprised. But he's one of my favorite coaches we've ever had and one of the best coaches."

Maryland at Ohio State

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Ohio State -30.5

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Three Things To Watch

1. Maryland's running game vs Ohio State's run defense

Maryland was able to run for 262 yards in its road win against a Minnesota team that had been leading the country in run defense up until that point. Maryland was led by running backs Ty Johnson, who had 130 yards, and Lorenzo Harrison III, who added 75 yards. Johnson, who is averaging 8.9 yards per carry, will attract much of the Buckeyes' attention this Saturday, which could provide Harrison with some opportunities. The Buckeyes' run defense is formidable, though. Ohio State held Rutgers to 119 yards on the ground with a long run of just 22 yards.

2. Maryland doing the unexpected

Against Minnesota, the Terrapins tried a fake field goal on their first possession. Even though Ryan Brand was tackled at the 1-yard line, the attempt showed that Maryland is not afraid to play with a gambler's mentality, especially as heavy underdogs on the road against Ohio State. An x-factor will be how creative Maryland can get with leading wide receiver D.J. Moore, who is third in the Big Ten (teammate Johnson is second) in all-purpose yards at 146.3 per game.

3. Ohio State's passing game vs Maryland's secondary

Ohio State has been making improvements in its passing game since the week two loss to Oklahoma, throwing a total of 13 touchdown passes in wins over Army, UNLV and Rutgers. Can quarterback J.T. Barrett continue his positive trajectory? Maryland currently ranks near the bottom of the Big Ten in pass defense, allowing 248 yards per game through the air. Even so, the Terrapins represent a bigger test for the Buckeyes than their previous three opponents did.

Final Analysis

Ohio State has rebounded nicely from the week two loss to Oklahoma with impressive and expected wins over Army, UNLV and Rutgers. Maryland has improved dramatically since its last encounter with Ohio State, and the Terrapins will provide a good barometer for Urban Meyer to gauge where the Buckeyes stand at this point in the season. Maryland will be able to keep pace with Ohio State until the fourth quarter, when the Buckeyes' depth and superior team speed will be too difficult for the Terrapins to match.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Ohio State

Prediction: Ohio State 42, Maryland 24

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is writing and podcasting for Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.