Fresh off a dominating 62-3 victory over Nebraska in Ohio Stadium, the Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to College Park, Maryland, for their third-ever meeting with the Maryland Terrapins. Ohio State has won the first two times, defeating Maryland 52-24 in 2014 and 49-28 last season.
Maryland is coming home after two consecutive road losses, at Indiana and at Michigan. Sitting with a 5-4 record, first-year head coach DJ Durkin has the Terrapins one game away from bowl eligibility. Maryland has battled injuries across their roster, most notably at the quarterback and running back positions.
Ohio State at Maryland
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 12 at 3:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Ohio State -29
Three Things to Watch
1. Maryland's Running Game vs. Ohio State's Rushing Defense
Maryland struggled running the ball last week against Michigan, only gaining 78 yards on 38 attempts. Lorenzo Harrison is a talented running back, having rushed for 633 yards while averaging 7.2 yards per carry. Harrison may be a marked man by the Ohio State defense, as the aforementioned injuries at the quarterback position may limit what Maryland may be able to do offensively against a swarming Buckeye defense that just limited Nebraska to 78 rushing yards. That’s the same number of yards the Terrapins were able to gain against the Wolverines last week.
2. The Versatility of Ohio State's Curtis Samuel
Ohio State fans have been exasperated with the coaching staff, wanting to see Samuel touch the ball early and often. Against Nebraska, Samuel carried the ball five times and caught the ball eight times. Confronting the inconsistency of having Dontre Wilson as a punt returner, Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer stated that Samuel would be given opportunities to return punts against Maryland.
3. J.T. Barrett's Quest for a Record
Heading into this game at Maryland, Barrett is only two touchdowns from breaking Drew Brees’ Big Ten career record of total touchdowns responsible, at 95. A dual threat as a passer and runner, it is possible Barrett could get this record sometime early in this contest against the Terrapins.
For the second straight week, DJ Durkin will face off against a former mentor, having played at Michigan and Jim Harbaugh last week, now against Urban Meyer. Durkin served as a graduate assistant under Meyer at Bowling Green in 2001-02, and on Meyer's last Florida team as a linebacker and special teams coach in 2010. Meyer has a tremendous amount of pride and respect in Durkin's accomplishments, but when asked about it earlier this week, Meyer stated, "We're all professionals. We all coach our teams and move on." Maryland is not going to roll over for Ohio State, as the Terrapins last week twice had the ball inside the Michigan 5-yard line and failed to score. Ohio State has every reason not to become complacent, as the November stretch run that will determine the Big Ten East Division champion are still to be played; Ohio State cannot get caught looking ahead. The superior speed and depth of the Buckeyes will be too much for the Terrapins to keep pace.
Prediction: Ohio State 35, Maryland 10
— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.