COLUMBUS, Ohio — Maryland tried to mix things up right from the start Saturday, trying a flea-flicker on its first offensive play. Ohio State linebacker Dante Booker wasn’t fooled. He sacked Max Bortenschlager for a 4-yard loss.
Matter of fact, the Buckeyes had little trouble with the Terrapins all game.
“We stopped the run, and we didn’t give them many opportunities,” Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis said. “We just came out and played good fundamental defense.”
Quarterback J.T. Barrett threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in the first half for Ohio State (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten). Ohio State beat the Terrapins last year 62-3.
Ohio State overwhelmed Bortenschlager, holding the Terrapins to 16 passing yards and only six first downs. Bortenschlager, who was promoted to a starting role after injuries to the top two QBs, was only 3-of-12 passing.
He didn’t complete a pass until the second quarter and was sacked four times before being shaken up and leaving the game in the third. He was hit in the head by cornerback Damon Arnette while sliding on a scramble, resulting in Arnette being kicked out for targeting.
Caleb Henderson played the rest of the way, and Maryland managed a meaningless touchdown against Ohio State’s backups late in the game.
“The line of scrimmage, we just dominated,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.
Barrett, a fifth-year senior and holder of most of the school’s passing records, was 20 for 31 for 261 yards before taking a seat near end of the third quarter. Barrett threw scoring passes to Binjimen Victor , Austin Mack and Terry McLaurin.
J.K. Dobbins ran the ball 13 times for 96 yards and a touchdown for Ohio State.
Maryland: The Terps may be improved — they beat Texas and Minnesota this season — but not enough to compete with Ohio State’s athletes. And it’s going to be a harder road if Bortenschlager can’t come back.
“We had some opportunities early in the game where we needed to make a play and respond, and we didn’t,” Maryland coach D.J. Durkin said. “We didn’t play well as a team. When the offense needed to pick up the defense, they didn’t. When the defense needed to pick up the offense, they didn’t. We were out of sync.”
Ohio State: Buckeyes continue to handle lesser teams, pad the stat sheet and march toward the Oct. 28 showdown with No. 4 Penn State. They’ve done everything they were supposed to do since losing to Oklahoma in the season’s second week, showing improvement with each game.
“I wouldn’t say that we are exactly where we need to be, but I definitely like where we are at,” H-back Parris Campbell said. “We are making progress week by week, and I think we are getting better, but I think we still leave too much on the field.”
Ohio State’s starting right guard, Brandon Bowen, was lost for the season when he broke his left leg in the second quarter.
Meyer said he’ll have surgery. Matthew Burrell stepped into his spot and likely will start next week.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOT SO SPECIAL
Ohio State’s glaring weakness is special teams.
Maryland’s Ty Johnson returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Later in the quarter, the Buckeyes allowed a 47-yard Sean Nuernbergerfield-goal attempt to be blocked by Maryland’s Chandler Burkett.
And Meyer has complained about short kickoffs all season, replacing Blake Haubeil with Nuernberger for kickoffs this week.
“We’re the only team in the country that can’t kick the ball down the field,” he said.