Ohio State vs.  Maryland score, takeaways: Dallan Hayden powers No. 2 Buckeyes past upset-minded Terps

Ohio State vs. Maryland score, takeaways: Dallan Hayden powers No. 2 Buckeyes past upset-minded Terps

No. 2 Ohio State survived a scare from Maryland but nevertheless completed a 43-30 victory to move to 11-0, setting up a monstrous matchup against No. 3 Michigan on Nov. 26. Though the Buckeyes trailed 13-10 at halftime, they used a 17-0 third-quarter run to pull ahead and a late fourth-quarter surge — despite a thorough effort by the Terrapins — to remain undefeated.

With the pass game sputtering, Ohio State turned to freshman running back Dallan Hayden down the stretch. Hayden rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns, powering a critical 88-yard scoring drive to give Ohio State control of the game. Quarterback CJ Stroud was inconsistent, completing just 18 of 30 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown. Two of OSU’s second-half touchdowns were powered by a blocked punt and lengthy kickoff return.

The Terps got a masterful performance from quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, who threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Tagovailoa hit nine different pass catchers with scores throw to tight end CJ Dippre and wide receiver Jeshaun Jones.

Maryland had one final drive to try and take the lead with less than a minute remaining but allowed a pair of sacks with Tagovailoa stripped on the latter for a decisive fumble return for a touchdown

The win ensures that the matchup against No. 3 Michigan next week will be a battle of 11-0 programs hoping to earn a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, with the winner virtually punching his ticket to the College Football Playoff.

Here are more takeaways from Saturday’s near-upset.

Buckeyes find another bell cowback

Running back TreVeyon Henderson was expected to be an All-America contender for the Buckeyes this year. When he was hampered by injuries, however, Miyan Williams took the mantle with four 100-yard performances. But now with Williams sidelined, Hayden has taken over the bell cow responsibilities.

The freshman from Memphis, Tennessee, has been unbelievable in relief, rushing for 102 yards and a score last week and exploding for 146 yards and three touchdowns in the win vs. Maryland. During a critical 88-yard touchdown drive to put the Buckeyes up two scores, Hayden hit the ball on seven straight plays to start the drive to set up a 3-yard touchdown run.

Ohio State has leaned on its running game in nearly every big moment. It’s a massive development that the Buckeyes have three different backs to step up.

Ohio State’s sudden passing deficiencies

Stroud remains the betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, but he put up yet another average performance in a key spot. For just the fourth time in his career but the third time this season, the junior finished below the 250-yard passing mark, and he’s completed just 53.6% of his passes over the past three games.

The Buckeyes have the most terrifying collection of receivers in college football, but the ball was out of their hands down the stretch as coach Ryan Day trusted the running game. During one key stretch, Day put the ball in Stroud’s hands on fourth-and-1, and an errant pass fell short to give Maryland another shot to take the lead.

The Buckeyes defense stepped up down the stretch to prevent the game from getting out of hand, but will that be the case against Michigan? Or maybe Georgia down the line? Ohio State hasn’t done a satisfactory job answering that question.

Major implications for The Game

Ohio State managed to pull away near the end of the game, but a loss would have been a major blow for the Buckeyes as they try to make a College Football Playoff case. After losing their first two regular-season games of the Ryan Day era in 2021, the Buckeyes have played with their food multiple times this season.

A win over Northwestern came by just 14 points, and the Penn State game came down to the wire. A 21-10 win over Notre Dame doesn’t look as significant now as it did at the time when the Irish carried a top-five ranking. It’s increasingly difficult to figure out whether the close games were about Ohio State’s focus or ability. Luckily for Ohio State, the Buckeyes are through to 11-0. All eyes will be on Columbus in Week 13 with a playoff spot on the line.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *