NCAA Football

Ohio State vs. Maryland scores: Dalan Haden earns No. 2 Buckeyes power over upset Terps

Ohio State vs. Maryland scores: Dalan Haden earns No. 2 Buckeyes power over upset Terps

No. 2 Ohio State survived a scare from Maryland, but still won 43-30 to move to 11-0, setting up a nightmare matchup against No. 3 Michigan on Nov. 26. Although 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 strong effort by the Terrapins — to remain undefeated.

With sprinklings in the passing game, Ohio State turned to freshman Dalan Haden. Haden rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns on a critical 88-yarder to give Ohio State control of the game. Quarterback C.J. Stroud was inconsistent, completing just 18 of 30 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown. OSU’s two second-half touchdowns came from a blocked punt and a long kickoff return.

The Terps got a masterful game from quarterback Taulia Tagavailoa, who threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Tagovailoa completed nine different passes, throwing to tight end C.J. Dupree and wide receiver Jeshawn Jones.

Maryland had one final drive to try to take the lead with less than a minute left, but allowed a pair of sacks from Tagavailoa, stripped on the last, for a decisive return for a touchdown

The win ensures that next week’s matchup against No. 3 Michigan will be a battle of 11-0 programs in hopes of earning a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, with the winner all but punching their ticket to the College Football Playoff.

Here are more takeaways from Saturday’s near upset.

Bucky finds another bell cow

Running back Treveyon Henderson was expected to be an All-American candidate for the Buckeyes this year. However, when injuries hampered him, Mian Williams took up the mantle with four 100-yard performances. But now that Williams is sidelined, Hayden has taken over the bell cow duties.

The freshman from Memphis, Tenn., was an incredible reliever after rushing for 102 yards and a score last week and exploding for 146 yards and three touchdowns in a win against Maryland. During a critical 88-yard touchdown drive that gave the Buckeyes a two-score lead, Haden touched the ball seven straight times to start the drive and set up a 3-yard touchdown run.

Ohio State relied on its running game at almost every point that mattered. The fact that the Buckeyes have three different backs to step up is a big deal.

Ohio State’s Sudden Deficiencies

Stroud remains the betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, but he turned in another average performance in a key spot. For just the fourth time in his career, but third time this season, the junior has finished under 250 yards, and he’s completed just 53.6% of his passes over the last three games.

The Buckeyes have the most formidable collection of receivers in college football, but they had the ball in their hands down the stretch as coach Ryan Day relied on the running game. On one key stretch, Day put the ball into Stroud’s hands on fourth-and-1, and the fumble failed to give Maryland another shot to take the lead.

The Buckeye defense stepped up to keep the game from getting out of hand, but will it be the same against Michigan? Or maybe Georgia down? Ohio State has not done a satisfactory job of answering that question.

Major implications for the game

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

The win over Northwestern yielded just 14 points, and Pennsylvania’s game came to an end. A 21-10 win over Notre Dame doesn’t look as big now as it did when the Irish were ranked in the top five. It’s getting harder to tell if the close games were a focus or Ohio State’s ability. Fortunately for Ohio State, the Buckeyes won 11-0. All eyes will be on Columbus in Week 13 with a playoff spot on the line.

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