After 4 non conference games and a bye week, the Buckeyes finally launch into B1G play. The scarlet and gray make their second trip in to the state of Maryland for the 2014 season and introduce the Maryland Terrapins to the B1G. The welcome gift the Terps get…..a B1G home opener against the best team in the conference.
The Buckeyes will be coming off a tougher than usual non conference schedule and they’ll play the Terps with a bye week to follow. The Terps will be playing their sixth game in as many weeks and will have one B1G game under their belts as they travel to Bloomington the week prior to Ohio State.
There is little doubt that the Terps boast the best young WR in the country in Stephon Diggs, but quite possibly could have the best WR tandem in the country when you add Deon Long. Most notably, though, the Terps will try to overcome a horrendous injury plague season that was 2013. What would you think if I told you they ended the season with a freshman linebacker……AT QUARTERBACK. Yes, you read that right. The Big Ten’s new kid on the block has the potential to be potent offensively if it can get healthy.
Senior quarterback C.J. Brown became the first Terrapin to ever pass for 2,000 yards and rush for more than 500 in a single season, but his physical style makes him prone to injury, particularly behind an unproven offensive line still hoping to add pieces this summer.
But what Brown can do for you, besides make chunk-yardage plays on the ground, is get the ball to the aforementioned Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, both back from broken legs. Their return should make the Terps better on third down — where they converted just 32 percent of the time (114th nationally) in 2013 — and make Maryland a quick-strike team in a pound-on-the-ground league.
The return of sophomore tailback Wes Brown from suspension improves a running back-by-committee that boasts Brandon Ross and his 776 rushing yards last year. C.J. Brown and Diggs, who will get the ball in a variety of ways in multiple receiver formations, are the main threats, though.
The Terrapins should be stout on the defensive line with nose tackle Darius Kilgo flanked by sack-machine Andre Monroe and quick Quinton Jefferson. There’s some depth, too, behind them, particularly in the middle with Keith Bowers and Nate Clarke.
Seniors Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree both return at inside linebacker, and they can seek and destroy running backs with the best of them. Farrand was honorable mention All-ACC and second on the team with 84 tackles (7.6 per game) despite a season full of nagging injuries. On the outside, Matt Robinson is a stud in pass coverage just like a former safety should be. Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil was on his way to a monster year terrorizing quarterbacks when a pectoral injury knocked him out of the last seven games.
Jeremiah Johnson is back from a toe injury that took him out of all but two games, and he’s a lockdown corner. Fearless 5’7″ sophomore William Likely returns at the field corner. Better play from veteran safeties Sean Davis and Anthony Nixon will help, too.
There is no doubt that the Terps have some talent down in College Park, however, the Buckeyes should win this one with ease. Randy Edsel will need to do the coaching job of his career to upset the Bucks. Buckeyes cruise to a win, 66-21. As Buckeye fans who have to watch this on tv or in person can only hope the uni’s Maryland rolls out for this game don’t have us blind come the 4th quarter.
Stop back next week where we’ll take a look at the Buckeyes next opponent, another newbie, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.