Mike Locksley has had Maryland on an upward trajectory since taking over the program in 2019.
Locksley’s group entered Saturday’s “Big Noon Kickoff” contest against No. 4 Ohio State at 5-0, having just missed out on cracking the AP Top 25 this week.
Is this the year Maryland takes the next step and joins the Big Ten elite? Or will Ohio State reassert its dominance over a league that has been ruled by the Wolverines for two years running?
One thing is clear: The Terps were good enough to give the Buckeyes all they could handle for most of Saturday’s game. Only midway through the fourth quarter was Ohio State able to finally pull away, riding a dominant showing from their defense.
Check out all the action from the “Big Noon Kickoff” matchup in Columbus.
Ryan Day was fired up after winning two weeks ago in the final seconds at Notre Dame, but he might be more encouraged by the way his team responded to a challenge by Maryland on Big Noon Saturday, using a big second half to pull away for a 37-17 Ohio State win that was far closer than the score would indicate.
Here are some postgame thoughts as the No. 4 Buckeyes remain undefeated and move to 5-0 on the year.
— Marvin Harrison Jr. was borderline unstoppable and reminded everybody just how good he was despite playing on a bum ankle. The wideout topped the century mark before halftime and finished the day with 163 yards, one touchdown and the bulk of targets as option No. 1 on pretty much every drop back. His longest play was a 58-yarder that set up a score, but his best play may have come in the third quarter when he caught a beautiful over the shoulder catch that was dropped in (and later negated a bit by his head coach drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty).
— High school teammate and current Buckeyes QB Kyle McCord kept feeding his top target and wound up with 320 yards and two scores, but it took a while for him to get into rhythm during the game. It felt like the first half was a labor to find success in the passing game, but he eventually wound up making some big throws down the field as his offensive line protected him a bit better after allowing three sacks — none since the midway break.
— The rushing attack for OSU still needs work. The Buckeyes averaged fewer than 2 yards per carry for much of the game, and Chip Trayanum did everything he could to get 61 yards and a touchdown considering he was met in the hole pretty much every time he touched the ball. We’ll see if they can improve on things as the schedule ramps up, but this group can’t be so one-dimensional with Penn State on deck in two weeks.
— Taulia Tagovailoa started off the game well but the Terps quarterback finished just 21-of-41 with one touchdown and two costly interceptions. One of those was returned for a pick-six and the other set up a score in the second half on a bad scramble play. He’s still a top tier guy in the Big Ten, but the overall performance left plenty to be desired against a top tier team.
— Mike Locksley had Maryland ready to play, but there were several key moments where it felt like he handed the win over to the Buckeyes. He went for it on fourth down and didn’t get it on the second drive while in field goal range, then settled for a chip-shot three points on the ensuing possession in the first quarter when there could have been a real chance to seize all the momentum. Throw in a botched ending to the first half, when the Terps came up with no points and a questionable decision to go for it late, and Locksley won’t be thrilled at how game management let this one get away from the team.
07:01 4Q: And just like that, Ohio State leads by 17
The Buckeyes have scored 17 unanswered points, cashing in on the short field after a turnover on downs that their defense set them up with. How good has Marvin Harrison Jr. been vs. the Terps?: Eight catches, 163 yards, and one TD on the backs of 15 targets on 27 pass attempts. Not too shabby considering he’s not 100% healthy.
Kyle McCord, Marvin Harrison Jr. connect for a 17-yard TD
Kyle McCord connected with Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 17-yard TD that extended the Ohio State Buckeyes’ lead vs. the Maryland Terrapins.
8:33 4Q: Ohio State’s defense continues to flex
Mike Locksley’s gamble didn’t pay off as JT Tuimoloau again helped blow up a fourth down play and give OSU the football back at the Maryland 17-yard line. The Terps sure needed a momentum play to get back into the game after trailing by double-digits, but that ill-advised effort may just have sealed a loss.
10:16 4Q: TOUCHDOWN BUCKEYES!
After Kyle McCord threw perhaps the best pass of his career, perfectly placed over Marvin Harrison Jr.’s shoulder, Ryan Day was flagged for sideline interference.
While the OSU head coach certainly showed his emotions after that, he did help dial up a perfect response, calling for a play-action rollout that allowed McCord to find a wide-open Cade Stover coming across the formation. The tight end wound up taking it all the way to the end zone to help break this one open and really put Maryland in the danger zone.
2:19 3Q: Ohio State moves in front
Fans won’t like settling for just three points on that scoring drive by Ohio State, but the Buckeyes did take the lead 20-17 just as the rain started falling at the Horseshoe. It sure seemed like Ryan Day wanted to establish the run there, with five runs on eight plays.
6:08 3Q: Big pick for Bucks
Ohio State’s defense stood tall AGAIN. You knew Taulia Tagovailoa was in trouble as soon as he was initially pressured, forcing him to his left and having to try and twist his body to throw down the field. He likely never saw Lathan Ransom, who leaped and pulled down the Buckeyes’ second key interception of the day. Jim Knowles’ defense has a ton of confidence right now, and they’re feeling the energy of the crowd despite that early touchdown drive to start the second half.
8:56 3Q: BUCKEYES HIT BACK!
What a response by the Buckeyes. First, Marvin Harrison Jr. drew a key pass interference penalty, then Julian Fleming adjusted to snag a long pass, and finally, Chip Trayanum ran to the corner for a rare successful run play to notch the score at 17-17. Ryan Day challenged his team to be better at halftime, and they showed it on that four–play drive for some notable signs of life on offense for the first time since, perhaps, the Western Kentucky win.
11:03 3Q: TOUCHDOWN TERPS!
The first drive of the game was a touchdown for the Terps, and the first drive of the second half turned out the same, as Taulia Tagovailoa broke a few ankles on his way to the end zone off a keeper. It was a very methodical march to seven points for Maryland, taking nearly four minutes off the clock to go 75 yards, mixing in several runs with Tagovailoa’s passes outside the hash marks. Buckeyes defense seemed particularly suspect up the middle with both linebackers and safeties taking a few bad first steps to lead to some decent gains.
We’ve hit the break for Big Noon Saturday at the Horseshoe, and it’s safe to say that for as much as Maryland owned the first quarter, the home side took back control of momentum with a much improved second quarter to keep things locked at 10-10.
A few other thoughts as the Terps and Bucks battle it out for Big Ten East supremacy today:
— Ohio State’s offensive struggles continue to be a talking point hovering over Ryan Day’s squad. The loss of TreVeyon Henderson doesn’t explain rushing for 1.1 yards per carry, and that’s forced this group to be overly one-dimensional. The lack of push from the offensive line has also led to three sacks allowed and pretty much no time to throw for QB Kyle McCord.
— One bright spot for OSU is that Marvin Harrison Jr. looks fine despite dealing with a nagging ankle injury. He recorded 109 yards on six catches through the first two quarters and was targeted on 10 of the team’s 15 pass attempts. He made some great leaping grabs and had the lone big play for the scarlet and grey with a 58-yarder. Considering he’s facing a bracket on most plays, his ability to still get open reinforces why he’s the best wideout in the country.
— Taulia Tagovailoa is just 12-of-26 for 140 yards, but will be encouraged by a good start throwing the ball, including finding Kaden Prather in the back of the end zone for the only offensive touchdown of the day. The signal-caller seemed to get a little tight as the game wore on however, forcing a few throws wide — including the one Josh Proctor undercut to take back for a pick-six. The ground game has slowly gone away for the Terps, so this is going to come down to their veteran QB getting the team over the line in hostile territory.
— Rough way to end the half by Maryland, which let the clock expire after mismanaging things on their final drive to come up completely empty despite being in FG range. Mike Locksley has clearly gotten his group in position to take home a win, but we might have to keep those potential three points in mind should things remain close down to the very end.
1:32 2Q: ALL TIED UP!
It appears that OSU remembered it had the best receiver in college football, as Kyle McCord targeted Marvin Harrison Jr. six consecutive times, the offense finally making some progress down the field. While the Buckeyes stalled out in the red zone with an interesting screen call on third down, they did get the field goal to pull even with the Terps and retain all the momentum.
4:15 2Q: Terps have slowed on offense
Now it’s Maryland’s offense which has pressed a bit too much and not played quite as crisp. After starting out nicely, Tagovailoa is now just one for his last five passes with a big sack and a delay of game penalty.
6:00 2Q: Buckeyes are getting SHUT DOWN
Ryan Day is not a happy camper. His offense is averaging just 1.8 yards per carry on the ground, and Kyle McCord is completing less than 50% of his passes. He threw to Marvin Harrison Jr. short of the sticks which led to a punt. The Buckeyes are lucky this is just a three-point game, but their defense can’t keep bailing them out for four quarters …
9:41 2Q: TOUCHDOWN BUCKEYES!
The best offense is a good defense? A suspect throw by Tagovailoa was behind his receiver, which allowed Josh Proctor to cut in front of things for a pick-six that gave OSU some much-needed momentum after the slow start. The defensive back’s first interception of the season couldn’t have come at a more opportune time as Maryland’s lead was cut to 10-7.
11:03 2Q: More punts for Ohio State
Another punt coming for OSU, which is averaging just 2.3 yards per play. Kyle McCord is 4-of-10 so far in the first half and as much as we’ve talked about the pressure, the secondary is doing a great job forcing guys to try and beat them deep with tight coverage. The cameras caught Ryan Day yelling at his offensive huddle, and he isn’t alone there at the Horseshoe today.
12:56 2Q: Terps extend lead!
Mike Locksley has to be disappointed to only be up 10 points right now despite thoroughly outplaying the Buckeyes. Taulia Tagovailoa missed one guy in the end zone and failed to cut it upfield on the keeper when he was stuffed on third down. Still, this has been an impressive effort against an Ohio State team that seems to be sleepwalking on both sides of the ball.
End 1Q: Terps almost got another
Officials get thrown off the bus plenty but credit to them for spotting this slight loss of control by Kaden Prather in the end zone. Talk about some eagle eyes.
3:03 1Q: Ohio State isn’t getting push upfront
Ohio State’s offensive line issues continue to be an overriding story for the struggles Ryan Day is having to manage around. Buckeyes are averaging just 1.6 yards per carry so far, and it feels like Kyle McCord has been hit or pressured on every one of his seven dropbacks.
4:53 1Q: Buckeyes get defensive
JT Tuimoloau became a one-man wrecking crew on fourth down to help the Buckeyes get a much-needed defensive stop in their own territory. Straight off the edge with a great jump, he blew up a blocker, then wound up taking down Billy Edwards Jr. short of the sticks. Not often you see players sit two guys down when they need a yard but the former five-star off the edge showed once again why he’s a game-changer.
9:05 1Q: McCord’s early struggles
Shaky start for Kyle McCord, who seems a bit rusty after that week off. The OSU starter is just 1-of-5 to begin the game and has thrown several passes low and into the turf. His footwork is all over the place, and he’s really letting the pressure impact his decision–making early.
9:54 1Q: Drone alert!
Ahead of a key third-and-10, the officials are stopping play due to a drone being over the field. Not something you see every day …
12:41 1Q: TOUCHDOWN MARYLAND!
What a catch by Kaden Prather, one-handing the pass zipped in from Taulia Tagovailoa for a touchdown and an impressive opening drive for Mike Locksley’s crew. Key to this game as it wears on, OSU’s front seven didn’t get much push and certainly zero pressure, allowing Tagovailoa all day to throw and complete his first three passes. There is pressure on the home side to respond after such a lackluster beginning to Big Noon Saturday for them in the ’Shoe.
14:13 1Q: Terps stand tall
Great start in hostile territory for the Terps to force a three-and-out on Ohio State’s opening series, followed up by Maryland stuffing the fake punt. Execution was lacking in both phases for the Buckeyes.
Buckeyes RB TreVeyon Henderson will not play in today’s matchup.
Ingram is, once again, having a day.
Bling Bling, Coach is showing off that ring!
Former Buckeyes Nick Mangold and Malcolm Jenkins joined in on the pregame fun.
Malcom Jenkins and Nick Mangold on their favorite moments at Ohio State, careers and more | Big Noon Kickoff
It’s a homecoming for Coach Meyer.
Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day gives his thoughts ahead of the game.
What had happened was ….
Urban Meyer starts ‘Big Noon Kickoff’ with a ‘OH-IO’ chant and Brady Quinn wears an Ohio State Jersey after losing bet
Who’s going to win it?
The Alabama guy handled it, can you? … OH-IO!
Who are the top 3 teams in the Big Ten?
Ohio State’s quest for toughness: How Ryan Day changed his approach: The Buckeyes have tried to inject more grit into their short-yardage game in recent years, but the data suggests the results have been mixed. Michael Cohen dives deep into the numbers.
Is Ohio State ripe for an upset?: Ohio State has struggled offensively this season. Can the Terps take advantage? Bryan Fischer has the story.
What we’re watching in Maryland vs. Ohio State, and the rest of Week 6: Can Maryland bump off the Buckeyes? Can Oklahoma earn revenge against Texas in the Red River Showdown? Our experts share the storylines they’re most interested in during Saturday’s action. Read more.
Ryan Day’s rant had the intended effect on Ohio State. Will it lead to wins?: There are different ways to get your supporters fired up. The best one is to win, but the second best is to talk big then go out and try to back it up. Read more from Martin Rogers.
PREGAME NUMBERS TO KNOW
8-0: The Buckeyes’ all-time record against Maryland.
33-0: Head coach Ryan Day’s record vs. unranked opponents. Day is 34-2 vs. unranked Big Ten opponents.
36: Ohio State’s defense is tied for tops in the nation (with Air Force) in fewest plays allowed over 10 yards with 36.
18: Maryland is 5-0 and has won each game by 18-plus points.
454.8: The Terrapins rank first in the Big Ten in total offense, averaging 454.8 yards per game.
100%: Maryland is perfect on fourth-down conversions this season. The Terrapins have attempted at least one in all five games this season – the only FBS team to do so.
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And more reading around the sport …
Week 6 wagering: Chris “The Bear” Fallica shares predictions for his favorite Week 6 matchups. Read more.
Deion Sanders is leading what could be a banner year for Black coaches: No Black coach has won a major national coach of the year award. This could be the year that finally changes. Read the story from RJ Young.
Big Ten Football schedule: Toughest slate, protected rivalries, and how it will work: The Big Ten unveiled its new scheduling model for 2024 and beyond. Find out what to expect when USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington join the league. Michael Cohen breaks it down.
Is Texas back? Longhorns’ rise is no longer a laughing matter: If Quinn Ewers, Steve Sarkisian and Texas can beat Oklahoma on Saturday, the Longhorns will have a clear path to the CFP. Laken Litman has the story.
Here’s Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica’s take …
What’s different about Texas this year?
A sit-down with Dillon Gabriel before the #RRR.
On the other side, the game is a huge opportunity for Oklahoma: Sooners can avenge 2022 embarrassment and show they’re national title contenders with a win over Longhorns on Saturday. RJ Young previews the matchup.
Bryan Fischer is a college football writer for FOX Sports. He has been covering college athletics for nearly two decades at outlets such as NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and NFL.com among others. Follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.
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