Just like No. 3 in Michigan earlier on Saturday, No. 2 in Ohio went through a big panic.
The Buckeyes found themselves in a dogfight on the road against unranked Maryland but managed to exit the game with a 43–30 victory at College Park. CJ Stroud threw for 241 yards and a touchdown in the win, but rookie running back Dallan Hayden stole the show.
With Mian Williams out and TreVyon Henderson injured, Hayden rushed for 146 yards and had three touchdowns in the game-winner.
With that win, Ohio State improved to 11-0 for the year and set up an undefeated clash with Michigan in Columbus the following weekend. The East’s Big Ten will be on the line in a game that will also have huge college football playoff implications.
But in the play needed to set up this battle of the undefeated, Ohio State actually ended up behind 13-10 at halftime.
The Buckeyes quickly turned this around to open up the second half. Lathan Ransom flew in and blocked a Maryland punt to set up Hayden’s first touchdown streak of the game to give the Buckeyes a 17–13 lead.
And by the time the third quarter ended, Ohio’s lead was up to 27-13. But Maryland continued to struggle as Taulia Tagovailoa made a number of brilliant shots.
The two teams traded touchdowns early in the fourth, with Maryland cutting the lead to 27–21 before Ohio State quickly restored it to 33–21. However, this OSU extra-point attempt was blocked by Maryland and went back the other way for two points to give Ohio State a 33–23 lead.
Tagovailoa hit some great shots that followed, including a fourth touchdown with Jeshawn Jones, who cut OSU’s lead to 33-30 with 9:49 left in the game.
Maryland soon got the ball back with a fourth and one stoppage in center field with 6:20 left. Suddenly, the terps were in a great position to equalize or even take the lead.
Instead, the Buckeyes’ defense forced a three-and-out clutch, and the offense was subsequently able to drain a good portion of the remaining hours with a field goal.
This gave Maryland one last chance to lose 36-30, but Tagovailoa was sacked and the ball went out, allowing OSU to bow to the victory with a defensive touchdown.
What does this mean for the state of Ohio?
There’s only a week left before the game we’ve all been waiting for.
The Buckeyes have been waiting for revenge for a year. Last year, Michigan toppled Ohio from the throne of the Big Ten and destroyed the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor.
The Big Ten title and a place in the CFP were at stake. This time the stakes will be the same.
Whoever wins will be the big favorite in the Big Ten title match, regardless of who ends up coming out from the West. The underdog will be 11-1 and just hoping some other contenders will lose, opening the door to possibly slip into that No. 4 seed in the college football playoffs.