BTN previews how Maryland can attack Ohio St.’s defense, one advantage for OSU

As one of the nation’s top offenses squares off against one of the nation’s top defenses, all eyes are on how Maryland will fare with the ball when they take on Ohio State on Saturday.

“They’ve been really, really good and I think they were especially impressive against Notre Dame. They’ve been so good at eliminating explosive plays,” BTN analyst Nicole Auerbach said of the Buckeyes’ defense during Friday’s preview. “But this is an offense in Maryland that can do that. They can have those explosive plays. You’ve got a quarterback who’s really slippery. He extends plays. He’s hard to bring down. So, I love that that’s going to be the challenge to me…it’s Maryland’s explosive plays versus an Ohio State defense that has been really good at limiting them.”

Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles pointed to the need to create coordinated pressure to disrupt Tagovailoa and the Maryland passing attack, giving the offensive line its toughest test of the season. BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo breaks down how the Terps can counter the Buckeyes’ front seven.

“Obviously Lia is their best player, right? And the offensive line was a question going into the season. It looks like they’ve gotten better, like a lot of parts of the Maryland team. So how can Maryland help the offensive line compete with Ohio State? And it’s by play selection and by helping Lia,” DiNardo said.

“Now, Lia’s only problem is he’s a, I call it competitive stubbornness. In other words, he won’t throw an incompletion. He’d rather scramble around, put himself in danger, which is fine, but he likes to throw across his body and he can’t turn it over. Quick screens, they run the option. I mean, Lia is as good at running the triple option as there is a quarterback in the country. So, the offensive line’s good. It’s not as athletic as the defensive line at Ohio State. Help the offensive line by taking your best player, screens, option, and go.”

While Maryland picked up its fourth consecutive win at home to open the season last weekend, Ohio State was able to rest and hit the reset following the 17-14 win at Notre Dame. Not only did that give wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. a chance to get back to 100%, but it also gave the Buckeyes’ defense extra time to prepare for the mobility of Taulia Tagovailoa.

“The one advantage and the one help Ohio State, they can work anti-scramble drills. They can do more contain drills,” DiNardo added. “They’re playing a mobile quarterback. So, this off week for the Ohio State defense is gold. They can get the fastest wide receiver, the fastest player on the team to play quarterback. The scout team quarterback probably has not been simulating Lia. It’s probably someone else who can run like the wind, run like Lia and challenge them constantly.”

While Maryland will look to pull off its first-ever win against Ohio State, a potential win that would give the Terps their first road win against a top-five team since 1950, DiNardo pumped the breaks on the potential impact if head coach Mike Locksley’s team pulls it out.

“I do not believe it’s a program-defining game. If they win it, it’s an upset. Maryland has gotten better every year in the Big Ten. They have a record to prove that. Lia is not going to be there for the rest of his life. He is a maybe once-in-a-lifetime talent that you recruit. When he leaves, you need to start building the entire program over.”

Kickoff is set for 12 PM EST.

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