Ohio State kept the momentum going against another lesser foe, routing former Urban Meyer assistant D.J. Durkin and the Fightin' Under Armours 62-14 yesterday in the Shoe.
The win improved Urban Meyer to 66-7 at Ohio State and 10-1 against teams guided by one of his former assistant coaches.
J.T. Barrett started fast and finished with 320 total yards and four touchdowns in his best outing of the season (and maybe last few years) while the defense eviscerated the Terrapin offense, holding it to 66 total yards, good for lowest output by a Buckeye opponent in 57 years.
It wasn't all roses and rainbows as Meyer's special teams were atrocious, the offensive line suffered a major injury (more on these two items in a bit) and penalties continued to be a problem.
Next up for the Buckeyes (5-1, 3-0) is a roadie with Nebraska next Saturday night. But before we look ahead to the Cornhuskers, I present Five Things from yesterday's shellacking of the Terps.
BANNER DAY FOR BARRETT
J.T. Barrett looked as good throwing the ball as he has in probably two years completing 20 of 31 throws for 261 yards and three scores with another 59 yards and a touchdown on the ground (7.4 ypc).
Despite somewhat breezy conditions, Barrett showed great touch when needed and precision zip at other times as he carved up an admittedly pedestrian Terrapin pass defense.
A few notable spins included:
- Barrett found Dixon sitting between defenders on a curl with a laser triggering a 35-yard gain.
- On the next drive, Barrett showed nice touch hitting Weber out of the backfield for a 53-yard gainer before unleashing a well-placed dart to Bin Victor on an 8-yard post for a touchdown. The pretty throw sailed just over a linebacker and into Victor's elevated hands, where only he could make a play on the ball.
- During possession three, he again showed nice feel and ball placement finding Austin Mack on a back shoulder toss for 19 yards.
- Three possessions later he again found Victor on a dig route for 14 yards thanks to legit velocity and location.
- Two possessions later, he hit Mack on a 3rd-and-10 rocket featuring excellent timing and anticipation as Mack spun open on an 11-yard curl to move the chains.
- Two plays later, he again connected with Mack, this time for 5-yard score on a perfectly located ball into a tight window after rolling left, putting Ohio State in front 41-7. Short throw, yes. Easy throw, absolutely not.
Of course, Barrett had a few bad throws as well but inferior competition or not, it appears Barrett is finding a rhythm not only within himself but with his receivers.
When the dust settled on Barrett's strong afternoon, he moved into eighth place in B1G history with 10,670 yards of total offense and accumulated at least 300 yards of offense for the 18th-time in 42 career games.
TO THE VICTOR GOES THE SPOILS
Sophomore wide receiver Binjimen Victor is on a bit of a roll and appears to have built some rapport with his quarterback.
Victor had his most impactful game as a Buckeye with four receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown (on four targets).
His signature play against came via the noted 8-yard post route for six as he kept focus on a ball gliding through traffic and used his lengthy frame to shield his arms from the defender and make a hell of a grab.
Victor also came up big on Ohio State's last possession of the first half as he hauled in an 18-yard ball before catching a 15-yarder on 2nd-and-15 leading to a Mack touchdown and a 41-7 Buckeye lead.
Not only does it seem like Victor and Barrett have something going – Victor has a touchdown catch in each of the last three games – but it looks like Kevin Wilson and Barrett have an eye on Victor in the red zone where his 6-foot-4 frame only appreciates in value.
We'll have to wait and see if today's game signals a breakout for Victor but it's easy to be encouraged by his increased presence.
The continued evolution of the passing game took some of the shine away from what was truly a dominant performance by the Silver Bullets.
With the offense scoring at will, the defense was equally dominant all game but especially in the first half as they yielded a mere 26 total yards and two 1st downs on 0.9 yards per play.
Third downs were no picnic for the Terps either as they failed to convert on seven of eight tries.
Once again, the defensive line set the tone in the first half led by Sam Hubbard (4 tackles, 1 TFL) and Nick Bosa (2 TFL, 1 FF). Beyond those two wrecking the line of scrimmage, Jerome Baker came up big from his weakside linebacker spot posting a TFL and scooping up a fumble and rumbling 20 yards to pay dirt giving the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead.
The defense was equally impressive stopping the pass even after its top two corners, Denzel Ward and Damon Arnette, were ejected via targeting penalties.
With Ward out for all but what amounted to five total plays and Arnette being tossed in the second half, the pass defense still held Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager to 3-of-12 passing for 16 yards and stud wideout D.J. Moore two a pair of catches on eight targets for 11 yards.
Moore came in averaging just over 100 yards receiving per game but credit Jeffrey Okudah, Kendall Sheffield and Arnette for holding him in check.
Okudah flashed solid coverage of Moore just after Ward was sent to the locker room and Sheffield ran stride for stride with him on a 4th-and-5 go route before Arnette notched a nifty PBU while locked up with Moore on a dig route.
Finally, shout out to true freshman middle linebacker Baron Browning who posted a team-leading six tackles with 1.5 TFL in relief of Tuf Borland who started in place of the still-injured Chris Worley.
I like Borland, don't get me wrong, but Browning looks more athletic and has seen the most snaps in the middle over the last two weeks.
It's always a shame to see a player go down with a season-ending injury and unfortunately that reality hit Ohio State hard as right guard Branden Bowen suffered a break of both his tibia an fibula late in the first quarter.
Bowen, a redshirt sophomore out of Utah, locked down the right guard slot in fall camp and while his pass blocking was still a work in progress, it felt like he was improving in that aspect in addition to being a serviceable run blocker.
Moreover, the fact he came somewhat out of nowhere passing Matthew Burrell, Demetrius Knox and Malcolm Pridgeon, among others, to earn the starting job illustrates the lack of quality depth along the right side of an offensive line already sporting a below-average pass protector at right tackle in Isaiah Prince, who it should be noted is performing significantly better than last year.
With Bowen lost for the season, it will be interesting to see if Meyer simply lives with the idea of Burrell getting better through increased reps, or if something more drastic like toying with sliding Billy Price to right guard and inserting Brady Taylor at center could eventually come into play.
Right now, even though many aspects of special teams are raging dumpster fires, I'd list the right side of the offensive line as my chief concern as Ohio State enters week seven.
No matter how it shakes out along the right side of the line, good luck to Bowen on his recovery. The big man was always out there battling.
COMEDY OF ERRORS
An area of concern entering the game, Ohio State's various special teams units took on a whole new level of ineptitude against Maryland as pretty much every possible facet committed a major faux pas.
Let's just list these suckers in bullet mode:
- Maryland's first touchdown of the game came on a 100-yard kickoff return by Ty Johnson as kicker Sean Nuernberger booted the ball exactly on the hash marks instead of between the numbers and sideline, setting up a bad situation. From there, two containment guys failed to do their job before Keandre Jones was erased from the play on a fairly pedestrian block. The coverage unit wasn't pretty but the root cause was kick placement. Again.
- After Barrett and Victor connected on the noted 8-yard touchdown to make it 20-7 good guys, a high snap led to a botched hold and scramble prevented Nuernberger from even getting off a PAT effort.
- On the next offensive possession, Nuernberger had a 47-yard field goal attempt blocked as the interior of the line disintegrated when Thayer Munford missed his assignment.
- Two possessions later, Chrisman got off a 22-yard punt.
- Kicking up the trolling a notch, the kickoff team then executed something rarely seen as it earned a delay of game penalty. Delay of game. On a kickoff.
- The punt return team joined the party after that as Amir Riep was flagged for an illegal block in the back wiping out a K.J. Hill return to Maryland's 15-yard line. Riep's block did help spring the return and after the flag, Ohio State started its possession at midfield.
- So you say you want a kickoff out of bounds to start the second half? Your wish is Nuernberger's command.
- Finally, the special teams hijinks came to a close as Nuernberger missed a 29-yard field goal.