COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Ohio State’s 52-51 overtime win over Maryland on Saturday eventually came down to two gutsy calls in overtime.
Both plays and the final score went OSU’s way and allowed the No. 10 Buckeyes (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) to escape with an unexpectedly close win over Maryland (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten).
That go-ahead score came three plays after the first of the go-for-it-all plays. Facing a fourth-down and inches situation, Ohio State called a pass play and quarterback Dwayne Haskins delivered an 11-yard pass to tight end Rashod Berry.
After a pass interference call got the ball to the 5-yard line, Haskins ran for the go-ahead score to make it 52-45.
Then, after Maryland scored and went for a two-point conversion, the Buckeyes got enough pressure on the Terrapins’ quarterback, Tyrrell Pigrome, that he rushed his throw and missed an open receiver in the end zone.
It was a game in which the list of unexpected things did not end with the score being closer than expected.
Haskins throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns and breaking OSU’s season record for touchdown passes and passing yards was not unexpected. But seeing Haskins run for a career-best 59 yards on 15 carries and running for three touchdowns definitely was.
Seeing Ohio State fall behind by 14 points three times was not expected, either. And Maryland freshman running back Anthony McFarland break off touchdown runs of 81 yards and 75 yards on consecutive carries was also unexpected.
Ohio State had 685 yards total offense and still needed to go to overtime to win after its defense gave up 535 yards overall and 339 yards on the ground.
J.K. Dobbins rushed for 203 yards on 37 carries to Ohio State, carrying an unusually large workload with Mike Weber out with a bruised quad muscle. McFarland had 298 yards on 21 carries for Maryland.
“We were very fortunate to get out of there with a win,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “It was a phenomenal effort by the offense and for the defense to give up those kind of yards is obviously very alarming especially after I thought we had a great week of practice.”
Maryland interim coach Matt Canada said, “I’m guessing everybody didn’t give us a chance. The season was over last week (after a loss to Indiana). That’s what everybody thought. And these guys bounced back and played a tremendous game against a highly ranked opponent.”
Maryland took a 17-3 lead in the first quarter and was up 24-17 at halftime. After intercepting a tipped pass, the Terrapins stretched the lead to 31-17 in the first minute of the second half.
Two touchdowns by Ohio State and another by Maryland in the final 3:41 of regulation sent the game into overtime.
Ohio State tied the game at 38-38 on a 1-yard run by Haskins at the end of a 75-yard drive with 3:41 to play.
Maryland responded with a 60-yard pass from Pigrome to Darryl Jones to take the ball down to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, McFarland fumbled and Chigoziem Okonkwo recovered the football in the end zone for a 45-38 Maryland lead with 1:41 to play.
Demario McCall’s kickoff return to the 50-yard line gave Ohio State a chance and it seized the opportunity.
OSU tied it at 45-45 on a 3-yard pass from Haskins to Binjimen Victor with 40 seconds to play.
“They were a team that had nothing to lose. If we had lost that game pretty much everything is over,” Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones said. “It’s kind of disappointing, knowing that a team that shouldn’t be in the same tier with us, put up 50. It’s upsetting, but we got the W.”