Preview: Maryland (3-1, BIG 10 1-0) at Ohio State (4-1, BIG 10 2-0)

Game day is almost upon us, and in this weeks game, Ohio State will host a scrappy Maryland Terrapins team.  They shocked the world as they went into Austin and defeated the host team, they blew out an overmatched Towson team and they held on to beat Minnesota, again as the visiting team.  Two impressive road wins, and now they find themselves in the same situation as they will once again be the visiting team.

What To Watch For:

Third Stringer Magic?

Max Bortenschlager is Maryland’s current starting quarterback after the previous two starters both suffered season-ending injuries to put him in this very position.  He will make his second start, but this time he will start in the Shoe, one of the most electric and loud environments.  He will try to shake the nerves as he enters his first true road game environment.

So far this year Bortenschlager has been decent so far for the Terrapins, throwing for 290 yards, 3 touchdowns against 2 interceptions and rushing for 34 yards and 2 more scores on the ground.

Bortenschlager will have to be on top of his game against Ohio State, he will need to take care of the football and he will have to lead his team without any mistakes or else the Ohio State defense will make them pay dearly.

The Return of Big Play Barrett?

J.T. Barrett, courtesy of Bucknuts, is irritated with the constant criticism that has plagued him this season, the deep ball struggles.  Ever since the dreadful Oklahoma game, Barrett has been the ire of a lot of criticism from everyone from former Buckeyes, fans and even by top-tier high school recruits and targets.

Barrett actually did pretty well against a depleted Rutgers secondary that was missing its best cornerback, but that is not an excuse because the next two up had enough experience and were upperclassmen to the program.  Barrett was 4 for 4 on deep passing attempts, even though one was called back due to an offensive pass interference call against Dixon, but none the less, he showed improvement.

The Rutgers game was mostly a tuneup game, but it contained a well-deserved opportunity to rebound and to regain confidence, and they achieved that after putting 56 on the board.  Not only has Barrett gained confidence, his receivers are starting to break open, and the progress is there, the execution is not there, but they are close.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Buckeyes put up big numbers in this game.

D.J. Moore/Ty Johnson versus the Back Seven:

DJ Moore will be another test for Arnette and Sheffield because he hasn’t been stopped yet this season.  He has found the end zone in all four games, he has had at least 8 catches averaging a shade over 100 yards per game, and he has 5 touchdowns so far this season.

He will be accompanied by Ty Johnson, who also has the ability that Moore has, with his ability to score and give defense fits.  In three of the four games, he was well over 120 yards, and the only team to shut him off was UCF, as they held him scoreless and to only 25 yards.  The Linebackers and the Defensive Backs will have their hands full this game, but they will lean on their Rushmen package to confuse Bortenschlager and force turnovers.  Will they be up to the challenge?

Prediction:  This game is another home game before traveling on the road to visit the Cornhuskers.  This is a trap game that will have that slow burn effect before the Buckeyes impose their will and their talent will be the difference.  Maryland is an upcoming team that will keep it close. D.J. Moore scores during the game, but Johnson gets shut down as Baker leads the second half defensive charge.  It will be a sack party, with at least 3 and 2 huge turnovers to salt the game away (1 pick/fumble).  J.T. will have a huge day and Haskins makes an appearance to remind them of what they lost out on.  

Buckeyes over Maryland 42-24

 

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