In what was billed as the biggest game in Maryland football history, College Park turned into a celebratory induction ceremony for the Terrapins' first home game as a member of the Big Ten.
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Around the modest-sized Byrd Stadium, fans crawled in red, music played, fireworks shot off and Big Ten-flavored ice cream (which was more or less vanilla with strawberry, if you must know) was served in the press box.
Before the game, Maryland's athletic department gave Ohio State a cake to welcome it to this humble abode. The Buckeyes returned the favor by crushing the Terrapins, 56-24, and spoiling their first game as a host in the Big Ten.
"It’s a big game for us every week," said sophomore defensive end Joey Bosa. "Apparently the biggest game in Maryland history, or whatever they were saying and we’re Ohio State: we come in, and every game’s a big game for us."
Player of the Game: J.T. Barrett
While Barrett was superb against Cincinnati, he showed a different level of confidence and grasp of Ohio State's offense against Maryland. In what was a testament of growth and development since his first-career start against Navy, Barrett threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns on 18-of-23 passes. He also ran for 101 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts.
And because of this, the Buckeyes dismantled the Terrapins for 533 yards.
"A lot of confidence in our quarterback right now and our skill positions," head coach Urban Meyer said. "It’s a very balanced where I’m very involved in the play-calling myself with Tom and there’s a lot of opportunities to make plays because they’re confident. We weren’t that way in the first game, didn’t show it in practice enough. Now they’re starting to practice that way."
After the game, Barrett said his success was because he'd found a remedy to calm his nerves on Friday nights before games. Before Ohio State played the Midshipmen, Barrett said, "I think I popped up at like 2 a.m., 3 a.m., and like 5:30. It was one of those deals of just nervousness and having those butterflies in your stomach compared to last night."
"The thing I do now is I take the Sleepytime Tea so I can go to sleep," he continued, "because I don’t want to be up just sitting with my thoughts at night."
Critical Play of the Game: Darron Lee's interception before halftime
Just before halftime and after jetting out to a 24-10 lead in its first true road game of the season, redshirt freshman linebacker Darron Lee intercepted senior quarterback C.J. Brown in front of Maryland's end zone.
The Buckeyes scored a play later to ensure there would be no comeback in College Park.
What it Meant
For an Ohio State team still trying to find its identity, the Buckeyes answered a lot of questions by pounding Maryland on the road.
Maryland Game Coverage
The offense rolled through College Park like a hurricane. The defense, save for a couple of big plays in the second half, flustered the Terrapins' offense and shut down star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. While Maryland turned out to be a pretty average football team by the end of the season, the win was a massive shot of confidence for Ohio State, which had just put together its best performance of the year.
"We’re getting a lot better, and we’ve gotta continue to get better," Lee said. "And that’s what gets us going because we can always continue to get better and know the end result’s gonna be scary. Just wait on it."
Added Meyer: "Very pleased with our performance today. I know it wasn’t perfect, and obviously that’s what you strive to be, but we're not."