No team had more to prove on Friday night against then #5 Iowa than the Terps. They had a real chance to prove that they were capable of hanging in there against the big boys of the Big Ten. More than just the validation of the nation, the Terps wanted to make a statement to themselves. For the first 15 minutes of the game, they did just that. The ensuing 15 minutes were the complete opposite. After leading 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, Iowa scored 31 points, yes 31 points, in the second quarter. By then, the game was pretty much over as the Terps went on to lose 51-14. The loss was certainly a gut-check, but the true measure of a team is seen in how they react to a devastating loss, not just a glorious win.
Ohio State Scouting Report:
Maryland has quite the challenge ahead of them as they hope to steer the ship in the winning direction. Starting with the opponent that will stand on the other side of the field Saturday afternoon, it is anything but easy to defeat the Buckeyes. Yes, Ohio State lost to Oregon earlier this season, but to assume that will happen again is silly. This is not to say that Maryland will lose, but considering the showing in their previous game, their chances are not exactly fabulous.
Ohio State is led by one of the most overall talented rosters in the entire country. With the likes of Alabama and Georgia controlling the South, Ohio State pretty much rules over the Midwest. Ryan Day has picked up right where Urban Meyer left off. The Buckeyes are the cream of the crop in the Big Ten just about every season. They return a lot of game changers from last season’s team that made it all the way to the National Championship.
For the first time all season, the Terps are facing a better receiving core when they go against the Buckeyes. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are both projected first round picks and will not just beat opposing secondaries, but embarrass them in the process. They are the two main weapons for the Buckeyes from the previous season both decided to return to Columbus for 2021.
Besides the two main wideouts, the Buckeyes have a lot of new contributors on offense. Quarterback CJ Stroud has been excellent filling the shoes of Justin Fields. His ability to create plays is something that will pose a massive threat for the Terps all day. The backfield duo of TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams is a two headed monster that has yet to be slain by any team thus far. The true freshman, Henderson, has been one of the most dynamic players in the entire country. On a team full of five star recruits, Henderson has been able to not only find the field for one of the best teams in the nation, but thrive. He is averaging over nine yards per carry with seven touchdowns as well.
The Buckeyes’ defense was very underwhelming early in the season, but a few strong performances have heaped confidence for them. Sophomore safety Ronnie Hickman has been one of the biggest playmakers so far this season. He leads the Buckeyes in both tackles and interceptions. Overall, the Buckeyes do not have the notable players on their front seven compared to past years, but they are still a very imposing group nonetheless.
To say the season is over after a mere one loss is a serious stretch. However, the Terps are coming off a brutal defeat where they were exposed in pretty much every phase of the game. It was truly a night to forget, but one that hopefully the Terps remember it as to not let it happen again.
The ramifications from the game are more than just adding a digit to the loss column. Taulia Tagovailoa, who had played tremendously to that point, threw five picks. Iowa feasts on turnovers, and the Terps handed them plenty. Furthermore, the front seven for Maryland was unable to generate any pressure on Spencer Petras and Iowa’s running attack went wild. Finally, perhaps the most devastating, Dontay Demus went down with an injury that will end his season. He was the top wideout for the Terps and left a gaping hole in production and overall leadership.
For all the negatives, the Terps still have a massive opportunity ahead of them. In one of the harshest environments in all of sports, the Terps can prove that the game against Iowa was a fluke. A win is a massive step for the program looking to put themselves on the map nationally. A win against one of college football’s “blue bloods” would do just that. Ohio State is a difficult opponent and the Terps are going to be heavy underdogs. Rightfully so, but to say the Buckeyes are a shoe-in is tough to say. In order to win, the Terps will have to avoid turnovers and control the running game as well as the time of possession.
Time: 12:00 PM EST
Venue: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio