By Michael Bohm
COLUMBUS– After a slow start to the season for the Silver Bullet defense, they came out in full force Saturday evening, upholding the reputation for being one of the most dominant defensive programs in the country.
Tackles for loss, sacks, turnovers; the Buckeyes swarmed every play and stopped Maryland’s offense dead in its tracks, allowing only 66 yards and seven points. On the other end, Terrapin defenders simply did not have an answer for the offensive weapons the Buckeyes brought to the table as they were clearly outmatched in the 62-14 blowout.
The story for Ohio State week in and week out continues to be quarterback J.T. Barrett. The team’s success has been dependent on Barrett’s performance for the first six weeks of the season. Saturday, the redshirt senior continued to have his moments of greatness, but, as has become familiar, inconsistencies remained clear.
Ohio State jumped out to a 14-0 lead after Barrett ran in from one yard out, followed by a Nick Bosa forced fumble returned 20 yards to the house by Jerome Baker.
Then, the Buckeye special teams unit was exposed by the Terrapins, after Ty Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for the score to pull within one touchdown. This would not be the only special teams miscue, either, as the scarlet and gray also suffered a blocked extra point and a shanked punt among other poorly executed instances.
Despite the errors, however, it was all the Buckeyes as the team completely outmatched their opponent at home in Columbus.
Ohio State answered on an eight-yard scoring catch from Barrett to tall wideout Benjamin Victor, expanding their lead to 20-7. Then, after the aforementioned blocked field goal and a JK Dobbins lost fumble on their next two drives, the Buckeyes would again score after Marcus Baugh brought in a short reception and leaped over a defender while staying in bounds to go up 27-7.
On their very next possession, receiver Parris Campbell took a reverse from Dobbins for 24 yards to the end zone, followed by an impressive back shoulder haul from Barrett to Austin Mack for five yards to lead 41-7 before halftime.
In the Buckeyes’ opening possession of the second half, kicker Sean Neurenberger missed a field goal, but in the following two drives Mike Weber and Dobbins would run into the end zone for four and three-yard scores, respectively, to increase the score 55-7.
The final touchdown of Ohio State came by way of tailback Antonio Williams from eight yards out.
All along the way, the Buckeye defense halted Maryland almost entirely, as the Terrapins seemingly struggled to even gain positive yardage.
The only scoring drive for the Maryland offense happened after Ohio State’s second-string signal caller Dwayne Haskins lost a fumble on his own 27 with 7:18 remaining in regulation.
In total, Barrett’s numbers were no doubt noteworthy, finishing 20-for-31 for 261 yards and three touchdown passes, while also notching 59 yards on the ground with only eight carries for another score.
The intermediate to deep passing game, however, continues to remain concerning if the team hopes to compete in the college football playoffs. Not all of said passes are horribly off, nor are they consistent enough to consider Barrett the total package. But, one thing is for certain: If Barrett’s offensive line continues to provide him with ridiculous amounts of time in the pocket, his accuracy on the shorter throws will also remain exceptional.
Now advancing to 5-1 as well as undefeated in Big Ten play, Ohio State will travel to Cornhusker country next, where an intimidating Nebraska crowd will most certainly be present.