The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

Bye Week Over, Back To Buckeye Football


It feels like an eternity ago that Chip Trayanum reached across the goal line for the game winning score against Notre Dame, yet it wasn’t even a full two weeks ago. The bye week is so torturous for the passionate fans out there, but finally, we made it. We are on to Maryland.

The Buckeyes matchup with the Terrapins is a game that doesn’t pop off the paper when looking at their schedule, but by no means is it one to look over. Maryland is off to a hot 5-0 start in 2023, winning their last seven games dating back to last year. They haven’t dropped a game since last November when they collided with…Ohio State.

You have to think there is diesel fuel-type motivation in the Maryland locker room. The Terps have never beaten the Buckeyes since the two teams began playing in 2014 when Maryland joined the Big Ten. Between the Terrapins playing their best ball and Ohio State still breaking in a first-year quarterback, the time feels now in College Park.

This is Mike Locksley’s best team since his arrival in Maryland four years ago. He’s got the Terps cruising offensively, averaging over 38 points per game. Taulia Tagovailoa has been excellent this far at quarterback. The fifth-year senior is an elusive player who has the ability and the weapons to be a headache for Ohio State on Saturday if he’s on his game.

The Terps have a solid trio of wide receivers between Jeshaun Jones, Tai Felton, and Kaden Prather. This will be the Ohio State secondary’s best test yet, making it a matchup to focus on with how well they have played. Roman Hemby is a sufficient running back for Maryland but he doesn’t move me as a threat in this one. If Maryland is going to keep up with the Buckeyes, it’ll happen through the passing game.

Where’s the drawback for this team you may ask? Well, that would fall on the defensive side. Through five games, Maryland has given up eight touchdowns already, tied for the eleventh most in the country. The unit is also surrendering over 328 yards of total offense per game.

Yet, the Terps do have a commanding 13 sacks on the season. So what does their effective pass rush mean for Kyle McCord and the Buckeye offense going into this weekend?

It means McCord has to get the ball out of his hands fast and let his first round wide receivers go to work. It hasn’t been the firework display we’ve expected from Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka this year, but I believe this is a major mismatch in the game. Harrison rolled his ankle in the Notre Dame game but is a full go this week, said Ryan Day in an interview.

There’s two ways this will go, and I’m not just rhetorically referencing a win or a loss. There’s outcome #1, my personal favorite, where the Buckeyes stay on track by laying a merciless beat down on the much inferior opponent. They dominate the turnover margin, play clean offensively. Check the highlights of the Western Kentucky game and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. 

And then, there’s good old outcome #2: Ohio State comes out flat after the week off and finds themselves in a one score game late in the second half. An array of mistackles, undisciplined penalties, turnovers on offense, all things that kill a football team. Let me point you to the Indiana game in week one.

This cannot, cannot happen against a team with the momentum that Maryland has right now.

Tagovailoa threw for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns in this game last year, and if the pass rush isn’t getting pressure early, he can pick the Buckeye defense apart. Tyleik Williams and Mike Hall on the interior defensive line will be X factors in getting him out of his rhythm.

Ohio State only has two games left before their highly anticipated showdown with Penn State in early November, giving them eight quarters of football to tighten the loose screws. Even in a game against an unranked team, we’re really about to see how serious this team’s championship aspirations are.

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About the Contributor
TJ Heyder
TJ Heyder, Sports Editor
TJ Heyder is a fifth year Media Studies major at Mercy, with a passion for sports journalism. TJ has become a main beat writer covering Mercy athletics in his time writing for The Impact. He’s also a current member of the Men’s Lacrosse team for the Mavericks.  He writes a college sports based column titled "Around The Net,” with a sharp focus on The Ohio State Buckeyes.  He can be reached at [email protected]  

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