The Maryland Terrapins football team is set to travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, October 7 in what looks to be a pivotal matchup for the outlook of both teams this season.
While both teams have a rich history dating back more than a century—each program began in the early 1890s—the two teams only began playing each other in 2014, when the Terrapins joined the Big Ten Conference after 60 years in the ACC. Here’s a look at the history of the two programs, and what’s at stake for each of them as they prepare to face off at the Horseshoe this fall.
Breaking Down the Rivalry
Unfortunately for fans of the Terrapins, calling the matchups between Maryland and Ohio State a rivalry is looking at the situation through rose-tinted glasses. The Terrapins have never managed to unseat the Buckeyes on the gridiron, sporting an ugly 0-8 record since they began playing each other each year as members of the Big Ten East Division.
It’s one thing to lose a tightly contested game, but it adds insult to injury when you’re getting the doors blown off on top of that, which is precisely what happens most of the time the two teams face off. The fewest points the Buckeyes have scored against the Terrapins is a measly 43, which they did last season when playing on the road in College Park.
The second fewest is 49 points, and the Buckeyes topped 60 points in four of their eight showdowns.
The closest the Terrapins played was in 2018, when they gave the Buckeyes a legitimate scare in a 52-51 overtime thriller. The Terrapins had a chance to continue into the second overtime period, but decided to roll the dice and try for a two point conversion that would win the game, rather than opting for the safe play and kicking a point after try to keep the game going. The gamble was unsuccessful, but seeing a Terrapins team that ended with a miserable 5-7 record giving the eventual Big Ten Champions a scare was in many ways the high water mark of that season.
That 2018 matchup was the only one of the eight in which the Buckeyes didn’t win by double digits, with the average margin of victory in the rivalry coming in at nearly 35 points.
This season the Terrapins are expected to make a bowl game, as their win total over/under is set at 7.5 games: the Buckeyes, on the other hand, have a win total of 10.5 games, so it’ll be a tall order for the Terrapins to pull off the upset on the road. Odds for this specific matchup won’t drop until we get closer to the game itself, but you can expect the Buckeyes to be heavy favorites with a double digit point spread, assuming things go as per usual for the two programs.
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Now that you’ve had a primer on the history of the rivalry, here’s a look at how this year’s game might pan out when the Terrapins take on the Buckeyes.
What are the Odds: Ohio State
We’ll begin with the home team. While the Buckeyes are always going to be one of the flagship programs in college football, this season is widely expected to be a down year in Columbus… if you can call a likely double-digit win totally disappointing.
The Buckeyes were ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll, but they dropped down to No. 5 after Week 1 because of an ugly offensive showing in their 23-3 win over Indiana. It looks like there might be some growing pains as head coach Ryan Day moves on from two-year starter C.J. Stroud, who ended up being the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft this offseason.
Day claims he hasn’t decided who the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback should be this season. Junior Kyle McCord got the nod against the Hoosiers last weekend, but he failed to throw a touchdown pass in the game, logging just 239 passing yards along with an interception.
Redshirt freshman Devin Brown attempted three passes later in the game, completing just one of them for a two-yard loss, so it looks like the Buckeyes have the type of quarterback controversy you never want to see: rather than having a pair of excellent signal callers to choose from, they have middling options.
Day ripped McCord following the win, saying that he was “not good enough for our future goals,” so it’ll be interesting to see if the junior can hold on to the top spot. If none of the Buckeyes’ quarterbacks pan out this year, the stage could be set for the Terrapins’ first-ever win over Ohio State.
What are the Odds: Maryland
The Terrapins, on the other hand, had a modest showing in Week 1, taking care of in-state little brother Towson 38-6. Senior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa looked excellent with three touchdown passes (albeit against weaker competition than the Buckeyes faced), and it’ll be interesting to see just how far he’s able to boost his draft stock in his final year with the Terrapins. While the team still isn’t ranked heading into Week 2, ESPN’s Football Power Index has them as roughly the No. 40 team in the country right now. After a couple more tuneup games against the Charlotte 49ers and the Virginia Cavaliers, the Terrapins will face a tough test, heading to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans two weeks before their date with the Buckeyes.
While Taulia may not be quite as talented as his older brother Tua, who is the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, the experience can be an excellent weapon for a collegiate signal caller. He’s seen and done it all before, and if the Terrapins are able to hang close against the Buckeyes for three quarters, he could be enough to put them over the top in crunch time.
Ohio State’s defense is going to be excellent once again, so it’ll be up to the Terrapins’ offense to go blow for blow with an Ohio State offensive unit that could struggle: keep an eye on how their offensive line plays, as they could struggle against a talented Buckeyes pass rush.
Other Terrapins to keep an eye on this season include tight end Corey Dyches, who topped 100 receiving yards against Towson.