For the second straight week, Ohio State is playing a Big Ten expansion team, coached by a former Urban Meyer assistant.
Maryland, however, does promise to be a slightly bigger challenge for the Buckeyes than Rutgers.
The Terrapins are 3-1, with wins against Texas, Towson and Minnesota. Their lone loss came in a home game against Central Florida, a week four contest in which the Terps had to resort to using their third string quarterback, Max Bortenschlager.
Bortenschlager is still at the helm, thanks to knee injuries to Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill. However, against Minnesota, he looked much more comfortable than he did in the 38-10 defeat at the hands of UCF.
In fact, he did so well against the Gophers, Maryland remains the 13th ranked team nationally in completion percentage (68.5 percent).
Sure, the Terps accomplish this partly by relying on the short game. They are 109th in completions of ten yards or more, but when they go deep, they do so strategically.
They have eight plays of 40 yards or more this season, half of which came in their opening win against Texas.
Junior D.J. Moore has six receiving touchdowns this season, and five of them have gone 20 yards or more. Moore has been a reliable, reliable force for the Terps, starting in 26 straight games, and making catches in the last 25 of those.
Their other offensive weapon is running back Ty Johnson. He has paced the Terrapins to being the 24th ranked team in the country in rushing yards. He personally has 738 yards and six touchdowns in his last six games, dating back to last season. He’s averaging 10.25 yards per carry in that span. Keeping him in check goes a long way. The Knights held Johnson to 25 yards on the ground.
On defense, linebacker Jermaine Carter is hoping to lead Maryland in tackles for a third straight season. It’s looking good so far for the senior, as he heads up the Terps with 29 stops and four tackles for loss.
It’s true that Maryland’s numbers against the pass look terrible. They’re 94th in the nation. However, a lot of that came in a single game when Texas carved up the Terps secondary for 375 yards. Plus, Maryland has five picks this year, two as the result of plays by J.C. Jackson.
Ohio State plays Maryland at 4:00 p.m. Saturday on 97.1 The Fan.