A week after its 56-point loss at No. 2 Michigan, the Maryland football was no match for another top-10 foe in the first half Saturday afternoon.
No. 6 Ohio State, which scored twice in the opening six minutes, routinely sliced through a mediocre Terps defense to take a 45-3 lead into intermission at Maryland Stadium. Here are three takeaways from the opening 30 minutes.
Defensive woes continue
The Terps gave up at least 650 yards in their past two losses against Indiana and Michigan, and their defense looked just as putrid early on against the Buckeyes, the only Big Ten team to average more than 500 yards of total offense. Ohio State gained 363 yards in the first two quarters Saturday, using a balanced attack that efficiently made its way down the field on multiple scoring drives.
The Buckeyes struck quickly, too, a trait they showed after Maryland kicker Adam Greene connected on a 23-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
On the fourth play of the ensuing drive, quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful J.T. Barrett hit halfback Curtis Samuel for a 36-yard touchdown, giving Ohio State a 21-3 advantage before the first 15 minutes expired.
Barrett finished the first half 13 of 17 for 192 yards, while Samuels amassed 112 total yards and three touchdowns, three more than the Terps have scored in the past six quarters.
Buckeyes running back Mike Weber, meanwhile, carried the ball 12 times for 93 yards.
Rowe replaces Hills
Hills took the field for the Terps opening drive after coach DJ Durkin listed him day to day this week with a shoulder injury, but the redshirt senior’s ninth start of the season lasted less than a quarter.
On 3rd-and-12 on Maryland’s second drive, Hills ran the ball to the right side for a two-yard gain. He appeared slow to get up, and the staff checked on him once he got to the sideline. On the Terps’ next possession, quarterback Caleb Rowe took the field for his second straight relief appearance.
Despite throwing two interceptions against Michigan last week, Rowe completed passes of seven, nine and 19 yards to put the Terps into Buckeyes territory. Later in the drive, he hit wide receiver Levern Jacobs for a 37-yard gain to the Ohio State three-yard line. The Terps’ first possession with Rowe in the game covered 76 yards and ended with a short field goal.
Rowe passed for just 17 yards the rest of the half, though, as Ohio State scored 24 points in the second quarter to blow open the game. Maryland finished with 96 yards of total offense.
Harrison suspended indefinitely
Going up against Ohio State’s fifth-ranked total defense became even tougher for the Terps about an hour before the game. That’s when the team announced it had suspended running back Lorenzo Harrison and two other freshmen indefinitely for violating the student athlete code of conduct.
With Harrison sidelined, the Terps were shut down on the ground, compiling seven yards on 19 attempts. Running back Ty Johnson, the team’s leading rusher, had five carries for nine yards.