(1) Ohio St -41.5 over Maryland (bought half):
The Buckeyes (8-0 5-0) just continue to move the accelerator pedal up the national ratings board week by week. In the National Championship playoff rankings, Ohio St couldn’t fare any better as they rose tot he top of the bunch determining which 4 teams will compete come January 2020. As they come off a well deserved bye week when they totally dominated despite a slow start in their 38-7 win over Wisconsin, they now get to show even more style against Maryland (3-6 1-5), who was throttled by Michigan by that very same score aforementioned at College Park last week. Giles Jackson wasted no time in setting off the onslaught when out of the gate raced the opening kickoff 97 yards to paydirt. Zack Charbonnet (8-28 3.5 2 TD) didn’t put much of a dent into the stat sheet except for his 2 TD runs of 2 and 8 yards in the first half. Scott Patterson (13/22 150 1 TD) was efficient, finding Nick Eubanks (2-12 1 TD) on a 5 yard scoring pass, and Hassan Haskins (13-60 4.6 1 TD) added a rushing TD of 14 yards in the second half with the outcome well in hand. The Wolverines forced a turnover, held the Terps to just 233 total yards, and wrecked havoc on Josh Jackson (9-20 971 1 INT) all day recording 5 sacks. Javon Leake helped the Terrapins avoid the shutout with a 97 yard kickoff return himself in the third quarter.
Justin Fields (128/186 1659 24 TD 1 INT) finds himself at the forefront of the Heisman discussion and contentions category, not just known for his dominating efficiency and execution through the air, but also with his feet (76-319 4.2 9 TD). You could also make a case for JK Dobbins (154-1110 7.2 9 TD) who is the second leading RB in the nation only behind Oklahoma St’s Chubba Hubbard. When Dobbins isn’t carrying the load, Master Teague III (86-588 6.8 4 TD) is also carving up front lines into the secondary as a ground machine. Ohio State’s receiving core is also incredibly balanced, led by playmakers Chris Olave (28-411 8 TD), Binjimen Victor (19-355 3 TD), a deep ball specialist, and KJ Hill (30-305 4TD) in the flat. Chock full of offensive production, the Buckeyes are averaging better than 48 points per contest never mounting less than 34 in any game thus far and should be able to run it up against Maryland. OSU amasses 515 total yards on average and sport the third rated rushing attack in the country amassing 285 yards per. This bodes horribly for MAryland, who allows about 413 total yards per contest along with 30 points on average, especially vulnerable against the pass. In their last 4 defeats, the Terps have been outscored 164-59. The erratic play of Maryland’s defense has proven to be more of a problem for first-year coach Mike Locksley. Losing senior defensive back Tino Ellis, who is out for the year with an upper body injury after starting the first six games, has proven costly week by week. Keandre Jones leads the team in sacks with 7 while Ayinde Eley is quick and eager to pounce on the opposition with 66 tackles, but both will have their hands full and will need to make plays just to have even a glimmer of hope to stay in the game containing this fierce and gruesome attack.
Things couldn’t have started out any better in Maryland’s first 2 games, pitching a 79-0 shutout against Howard followed by a 63-20 silencing of Syracuse. However since then it has all gone downhill losing 6 of their next 7 games with their only other win during that stretch against Rutgers. Can’t blame the misfortune totally on Jackson though (79/159 1065 10 TD 5 INT), as his inefficient completion percentage is a combination of dropped passes and errant throws. The Terps lack depth at receiver with Dontay Demus Jr (32-491 4 TD) as the workhorse. Their strength if any is in the controlled run game with a dual threat in Javon Leake (75-581 7.7 7 TD) and Tayon Fleet-Davis (90-438 4.9 7 TD). Maryland has averaged only 17.7 points over their last 7 games and are in the bottom 30 through the air. Lucky for Ohio St, they have one of the best defenders in the nation in Chase Young, but he will sit out this weekend due to a investigation of violations relative to accepting a loan from a family friend. Don;t think this will have major consequences in the final outcome. Young has recorded 30 tackles just far and 14 sacks accounting for 95 yards in losses by the opposition. Let’s also not look past Jordan Fuller and Malik Harrison with 41 tackles each, and 4 sacks by the latter and 3 picks by the former, tied with Jeff Okudah in INT’s. The Buckeyes surrender only 8 points per contest, and allow only 224 total yards on average, 92 of those on the ground ranking third in the country.
You knew it was only a matter of time that The Greek would go back to his familiar ways laying tons of chalk, but if you notice, it didn’t happen nearly as much earlier this season than in previous. Still, even with Young out of the mix this week this game is one-sided on the field and from the stat comparisons and matchups. The only determining factor for me would be how soon Ryan Day may want to rest his starters as the score gets lopsided late, but even I can’t fathom the backdoor ever opening as this Buckeye team just soars above the level of competition on either side of the ball, adding fuel to their #1 rank fire dominating on both sides of the ball.
I’ll have a second play for Saturday coming up shortly.