Ninth-ranked Ohio State went to overtime to avoid one of the most stunning upsets in this college football season, defeating Maryland 52-51 Saturday when the Terrapins failed to convert a 2-point conversion after the potential game-tying touchdown.
Favored by 14½ points, Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten, No. 10 CFP) trailed by two touchdowns in the third quarter and 45-38 with under two minutes left before rallying to a pivotal victory.
After a 5-yard touchdown run by Dwayne Haskins gave the Buckeyes the lead to start overtime, Tayon Fleet-Davis scored to get the Terrapins within a point. Interim coach Matt Canada decided to end it right there, going for 2, but Tyrrell Pigrome's pass to Jeshaun Jones was off target.
The victory kept the Buckeyes in the hunt for the Big Ten title and a spot in the College Football Playoff. Ohio State concludes the regular season next week in a game against Michigan that will decide the Big Ten East winner.
The Buckeyes never led until overtime against the upstart Terrapins (5-6, 3-5). Haskins ran for three touchdowns and was 28 for 38 for 405 yards and three TDs.
Ohio State finished with a whopping 688 yards, including 203 on the ground by J.K. Dobbins, but the defense allowed 535 yards and seven touchdowns.
Maryland freshman Anthony McFarland had touchdown runs of 81 and 75 yards in the first quarter and finished with 298 yards rushing - seven short of the school's single-game record.
The Terps took a 45-38 lead when Chigoziem Okonkwo recovered a fumble by McFarland in the end zone with 1:41 left. Haskins then orchestrated a 50-yard, beat-the-clock drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Binjimen Victory with 40 seconds remaining.
Up 24-17 at halftime, the Terrapins garnered further momentum on Ohio State's first drive of the second half when RaVon Davis picked off a deflected pass and took it 37 yards for a score.
The Buckeyes answered with a 73-yard scoring drive that featured a pair of penalties against Maryland, including a pass interference call on a third-and-7. After Ohio State pulled even in the fourth quarter, Maryland moved back in front on a 27-yard touchdown pass by Pigrome, who was making his first start of the season after Kasim Hill sustained a season-ending knee injury last week.
Pigrome went 6 for 13 for 181 yards.
Ohio State: It goes without saying that the Buckeyes must play much, much better next week to beat Michigan. The offense had no trouble moving the ball, but three turnovers proved costly. The defense, needless to say, was awful against a one-dimensional team that repeatedly peeled off huge runs.
Maryland: Despite putting forth a great effort against a Top-10 team on Senior Day, the Terrapins still can't seem to get the offense and defense working in sync. Last week, four turnovers were too much to overcome in a loss to Indiana. In this game, the defense couldn't back a strong outing by a big-play offense that gave the Buckeyes headaches all afternoon.
PERFECT NO MORE
The Terrapins had scored on all 25 trips to the red zone this season, and Maryland freshman Joseph Petrino was the only kicker in the nation without a miss on a field-goal try (10 for 10) before both streaks ended in the second quarter. After reaching the Ohio State 18, the Terrapins lost ground before Petrino misfired on a 49-yard attempt.
Ohio State: The stakes couldn't be much bigger when the Buckeyes look to beat Michigan for a seventh straight time next week.
Maryland: With one last chance to become bowl eligible, the Terrapins travel to Penn State next Saturday.
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