Skidding Maryland a 43-point underdog vs No. 3 Ohio State
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — One year ago, Maryland took Ohio State into overtime before a failed 2-point conversion resulted in a 52-51 defeat.
In the rematch Saturday, the Terrapins are a 43-point underdog — for several reasons.
No. 3 Ohio State is playing at home, unbeaten and riding a defense that has allowed a total of 42 points in the last seven games.
Maryland, on the other hand, has yielded 164 points during a four-game losing streak.
“We are a work in progress as a program,” first-year coach Michael Locksley conceded Tuesday.
Still, 43 points is one heck of a point spread — the largest in the Football Bowl Subdivision this week, according to odds posted by pregame.com.
“Oh wow. That’s a lot. I didn’t see that,” Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson said. “I don’t pay much attention to it.”
Locksley knows the Terrapins (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten) must play flawlessly to pull off a major upset. But that almost happened last season, so who’s to say it’s impossible?
“The good thing is, a lot of guys in our locker room were part of the game from last year,” said Locksley, who spent the 2018 season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. “I would hope that will give us confidence that, when we play the type of football we’re capable of playing, things like last year” can happen.
Though memory of that game might drive the Terps, studying game film would be almost useless. Urban Meyer has been replaced as head coach at Ohio State by Ryan Day, Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins is in the NFL and junior defensive end Chase Young has become a disruptive force.
“Obviously a lot has changed for both teams since last year, but the confidence of knowing they played toe-to-toe with one of the top programs in the country is something I hope to build upon with our guys,” Locksley said.
Maryland running back Anthony McFarland Jr. enjoyed the finest day of his career in that back-and-forth duel with the then-No.9 Buckeyes. McFarland ran for 298 yards, including touchdown runs of 71 and 80 yards in the first quarter.
“It sure would be nice to get that type of production out of Ant this week,” Locksley said.
It hasn’t happened often this year; it’s been a rough season for McFarland. He has missed two games with a high ankle sprain and is still not quite 100%. The sophomore has only 459 yards rushing compared to 1,034 in 2018.
“Those high-ankle sprains with a skill guy are always tough,” said Locksley.
Injuries have played a major role for Maryland in a season that started with two straight victories. Jackson has also been hindered by a high ankle sprain and the offensive line has been patched together on a weekly basis.
Locksley said senior right guard Terrance Davis could sit out the rest of the season and take a redshirt if his injured knee does not improve.
“If he’s not able to be 100% for us, because he’s only played in four games for us there is a chance we could use the redshirt year,” Locksley said.
Jackson, like Locksley, wasn’t at Maryland last year when the Terps faced Ohio State. The Virginia Tech transfer does, however, understand why those who experienced it can draw favorably from it.
“We haven’t talked out it much,” Jackson said, “but obviously we know we are capable of playing with them.”