Ohio State’s hopes of making it to the College Football Playoff are incredibly thin. The Buckeyes need to take down Michigan next week in Columbus and win the Big Ten Championship Game the following week. Then, they have to hope they would have done enough to jump up from No. 10 to one of the four best teams in the nation. Well, that was the case entering Saturday’s game, but first, Ohio State had to survive a road trip to Maryland.
The Terrapins came into the game as 14-point underdogs, but thanks to a whole lot of big plays that resulted in touchdowns, they were able to put a major scare into the Buckeyes. But despite forcing overtime, the Terps narrowly missed pulling the upset, and the Buckeyes came out on top, 52-51.
The story of the game was Maryland’s ability to gash the Buckeye defense, especially early on with freshman running back Anthony McFarland.
This wasn’t just on offense, as the Terps were able to convert a pick six against Dwayne Haskins and the Ohio State offense.
Despite this, Haskins was brilliant, getting the job done with his arm and, to some surprise, his legs.
Still, the Terrapins were not afraid, going deep into their playbook for a fake punt in the fourth quarter. Two plays later, Maryland QB Tyrrell Pigrome — known more for his legs than his arm — dropped a dime to Jeshaun Jones for six.
Ohio State got the ball back, marched down the field, and 11 plays later found pay dirt when Haskins ran it in. Because Maryland was out of its collective mind, though, this happened on its first play back on the field.
It was called a touchdown, but after review, it was determined this was a yard short. The Buckeye defense looked like it was going to hold after the big play, though, as they stuffed Maryland twice prior to a third down pass interference call. The Terrapins ran two more plays, again getting stuffed, before calling a jet sweep to McFarland. In a shocking twist, he fumbled the ball, only for it to get picked up by tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo in the end zone with 1:41 left.
Ohio State took the ball back to midfield on the ensuing kickoff before getting down to the doorstep. From there, Haskins connected for six with Binjamin Victor.
Things went to overtime, with Ohio State getting the ball first. The Buckeyes converted a 4th-and-1 on a pass to Rashard Berry, then after some penalties by both squads, Haskins ran in for his third rushing touchdown of the day. Maryland got the ball back, and on the first play of the possession, McFarland took the ball on a jet sweep and got onto the goal line. Fleet Davis took the ball on the next play and scored to pull the Terps within one.
Maryland head coach Matt Canada decided to go for the win, and the Terrapins lined up for two. Pigrome had a man — emphasis necessary — W I D E O P E N in the end zone, but missed him, giving Ohio State a win.
Haskins went 28-for-38 with 405 yards and three touchdowns, along with 59 yards and three scores on the ground. Buckeye running back J.K. Dobbins was also tremendous, toting the rock 37 times for 203 yards and a score. On the other side, McFarland had his coming out party, running the ball 21 times for an insane 298 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Now, the Buckeyes will enter next weekend’s clash with Michigan with their Big Ten and, possibly, Playoff hopes in tact. But man, did they ever have to earn it, as a pesky Maryland squad — which has to beat Penn State in Happy Valley next week to become bowl eligible — gave them all they could handle.