After an emotional win against a top-10 opponent on the road, Ohio State isn’t resting on its laurels.
The Buckeyes have already started preparation for Maryland, who will be the fifth straight undefeated opponent to open the season for Ohio State and the seventh straight undefeated team it's faced dating back to last year. You have to go all the way back to 1940 for the last time the Buckeyes started the year with five straight undefeated teams.
“I’m kind of past Notre Dame at this moment, I haven’t really been thinking about that game,” Ohio State wide receiver Emeka Egbuka told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m on to Maryland ... I celebrated that night and I was excited. But we’re not anywhere near where we need to be. The win doesn’t mean anything if we lose to Maryland.”
Ohio State will have to contend with Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, who has been effective as a passer through five games as he’s completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,464 yards and 13 touchdowns to three interceptions. The Terrapins have also won all five of their games by double digits.
But Ohio State will be facing Maryland having benefited from an extra week to prepare, a situation they’ve thrived in during Ryan Day’s tenure as head coach. Since Day took over at Ohio State in 2019, the Buckeyes are 6-0 in regular season games where the team has had two weeks of preparation. All but one of those games haven’t been competitive either, with Ohio State winning games after off weeks by an average of 41 points in the past four seasons.
Going back even further, Ohio State hasn’t lost a game coming off an off week since 2005, when it lost 17-10 to Penn State. All-time in contests after a regular season bye, the Buckeyes are 44-15-1.
But staying more recent, let’s break down exactly how things have played out when Ohio State returns off a bye under Day’s tutelage.
Ohio State 54, Iowa 10 on Oct. 22 at Ohio Stadium
Breakdown: Ah, yes. The game that unofficially may have started some future contract stipulations for Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz. Ohio State forced six Hawkeye turnovers and held Iowa to zero offensive touchdowns in a 54-10 romp in Columbus. The lone Iowa score was on a defensive touchdown in the first touchdown on a scoop and score after Joe Evans forced a fumble by sacking C.J. Stroud. The Buckeyes also hit a milestone against the other Ferentz, scoring the most points against a team coached by Kirk Ferentz in his 25-year coaching tenure.
Ohio State 54, Indiana 7 on Oct. 23 at Memorial Stadium
Breakdown: In a wet, miserable matchup in Bloomington, the Buckeyes dropped 54 points on Tom Allen’s Hoosiers in a complete all-around offensive effort, with Stroud throwing for four touchdowns and TreVeyon Henderson rushing for two. While he had to sit behind future first-rounders Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson in the 2021 season, Marvin Harrison Jr. displayed how truly special his future looked after a spin move that looked like it came out of Madden.
Ohio State 42, Indiana 35 on Nov. 21 at Ohio Stadium
Breakdown: The COVID year will likely be the oddest season to reflect on as time passes. The Buckeyes weren’t supposed to have any off weeks at all, considering the Big Ten didn’t start play until late October. Yet, they had two in the regular season after the Maryland and Illinois games were canceled. As for the game itself, remember when Indiana was good? Seems like forever ago. In the lone game that’s been competitive in Day’s tenure after an off week, the Hoosiers mounted a furious comeback effort after the Buckeyes rolled to a 35-7 lead, then nearly coughed it up in the second half. Future Heisman candidate (though not for you, Indiana) Michael Penix Jr. carved up Ohio State for 491 yards and five touchdowns with one interception on 51 attempts. Wilson and Olave each had more than 100 yards receiving for the Buckeyes and Master Teague ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns to secure the win.
Ohio State 52, Michigan State 12 on Dec. 5 at Spartan Stadium
Breakdown: The second game off a bye in 2020 was far less exciting. Justin Fields was effective through the air and on the ground, throwing for two touchdowns and running for 112 yards and a score as the Buckeyes cruised to a win in their final game before the Big Ten Championship.
Ohio State 52, Northwestern 3 on Oct. 18 at Ryan Field
Breakdown: We’ve seen some Big Ten teams in recent years (including Ohio State) occasionally struggle to find their footing in Evanston, Illinois, despite facing some underwhelming Northwestern teams. This was not one of those times. Fields threw for four touchdowns, J.K. Dobbins ran for 121 yards and a touchdown and the Buckeyes held Northwestern quarterback Aidan Smith to a paltry 42 yards passing on 20 attempts.
Ohio State 73, Maryland 14 on Nov. 9 at Ohio Stadium
Breakdown: Fortunately for Maryland, the Terrapins will be sending a much better team to Columbus on Saturday than the one they fielded in 2019. Ohio State’s offense and defense each feasted, with the Buckeyes recording seven sacks and seeing four separate players run for at least 78 yards.
On a final note for the data junkies, Eleven Warriors researcher Matt Gutridge delved into Ohio State’s all-time performances after a regular season bye, which you can find in the table below.
|2017||No. 2 PENN STATE||WIN||39-38|
|2011||No. 15 WISCONSIN||WIN||33-29|
|2005||at No. 16 PENN STATE||LOSS||10-17|
|2003||at No. 23 WISCONSIN||LOSS||10-17|
|2001||at No. 14 UCLA||LOSS||6-13|
|2000||at No. 22 WISCONSIN||WIN||23-7|
|1999||No. 14 UCLA||WIN||42-20|
|1998||No. 7 PENN STATE||WIN||28-9|
|1995||No. 18 WASHINGTON||WIN||30-20|
|1994||at No. 25 WASHINGTON||LOSS||16-25|
|1990||No. 18 USC||LOSS||26-35|
|1986||at No. 17 WASHINGTON||LOSS||7-40|
|1971||No. 10 COLORADO||LOSS||14-20|
|1937||No. 7 NORTHWESTERN||WIN||7-0|