Ohio State vs. Maryland score, takeaway scores: Dallan Hayden powers no. 2 Buckeyes past upset Terps

Ohio State vs.  Maryland score, takeaway scores: Dallan Hayden powers no.  2 Buckeyes past upset Terps

Ohio State vs. Maryland score, takeaway scores: Dallan Hayden powers no. 2 Buckeyes past upset Terps

No. 2 Ohio State survived a scare at Maryland, but still finished with a 43-30 win to move to 11-0, setting up a monstrous 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 thorough effort by the Terrapins — to remain undefeated.

With the pass rush, Ohio State turned to freshman running back Dalan Hayden down the stretch. Hayden rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns, sparking a critical 88-yard drive to give Ohio State control of the game. Quarterback CJ Stroud was inconsistent, completing just 18 of 30 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown. Two of OSU’s second-half touchdowns were fueled by a blocked punt and a long kickoff return.

The Terps got a masterful performance from quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, who threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Tagovailoa hit nine different pass catchers with scoring throws to tight end CJ Dippre and wide receiver Jeshaun Jones.

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

The win ensures next week’s matchup against third-ranked Michigan will be an 11-0 program’s battle to earn a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, with the winner literally punching their ticket to the College Football Playoff.

Here are some more takeaways from Saturday’s mayhem.

Buckeyes find another cow

Running back TreVeyon Henderson was expected to be an All-American candidate for the Buckeyes this year. However, when injuries hampered him, Miyan Williams took the mantle with four 100-yard performances. But now that Williams has been kicked out, Hayden has taken over the bell cow responsibility.

The freshman from Memphis, Tenn., was incredible in relief, 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 to put the Buckeyes up two, Hayden touched the ball on seven straight plays to start the drive and set up a 3-yard run.

Ohio State relied on its running game for almost every big moment. It’s a big development that the Buckeyes have three different backs to step up.

Ohio State’s surprising deficits

Stroud remains the 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 the third time this season, the junior finished under 250 yards and 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 the ball was out of their hands as coach Ryan Day believed in the play. On one key play, Day put the ball in Stroud’s hands on fourth-and-1, and an errant pass fell short to give Maryland another shot at the lead.

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

Main implications for the game

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

The win over Northwestern came by just 14 points, and the Penn State game came down to the wire. A 21-10 win over Notre Dame doesn’t seem as significant now as it did when the Irish were ranked in the top five. It’s getting harder to figure out if the close games were about Ohio State’s focus or ability. Fortunately for Ohio State, the Buckeyes made it 11-0. All eyes will be on Columbus in Week 13 with a playoff spot on the line.

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