COLLEGE PARK, Md. — No. 2 Ohio State received all it could handle from the Maryland Terrapins (6-5) on Saturday before ultimately surviving for a 43-30 victory to remain undefeated on the season.
True freshman running back Dallan Hayden ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries in relief of an injured TreVeyon Henderson, and C.J. Stroud added 241 yards and a touchdown through the air to lead Ohio State.
Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, and he added a rushing touchdown to nearly spark the upset.
Ohio State got out of the gates in a hurry after receiving the opening kickoff. Stroud connected with Marvin Harrison Jr. for 29 yards on the first play from scrimmage to begin the drive, and five plays later, Henderson hauled in a short pass from Stroud and raced 31 yards to the end zone.
Noah Ruggles’ extra point was good, and Ohio State took a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
Maryland engineered a quick scoring response on the ensuing possession, marching 61 yards on nine plays before settling for a 31-yard field goal from Chad Ryland to cut the lead to 7-3.
Ryland added a second field goal late in the first quarter to bring Maryland to within a point at 7-6 as the Ohio State offense became stagnant following its opening drive.
Ruggles increased the lead to 10-6 with a 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter, his first of three on the day, but the Ohio State defense was again unable to get off the field on the ensuing drive.
Tagovailoa’s 34-yard pass to Dontay Demus moved Maryland into Ohio State territory, and a pass interference call on Lathan Ransom had them set up in the red zone. Six plays later, Tagovailoa capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Dippre, and Maryland had captured its first lead of the game.
Ohio State was unable to muster a drive just before the half and headed to the break trailing for the third time this season.
Ohio State’s prolific offense was held to just 159 total yards, including only 28 yards on the ground, while Tagovailoa threw for 180 yards to lead Maryland to the halftime advantage.
Ransom temporarily flipped the game on its head after Ohio State forced a stop to begin the second half, racing off the left side to block Colton Spangler’s punt. Xavier Johnson recovered the loose ball at the Maryland 21 and returned it seven yards to set Ohio State up with a prime scoring opportunity early in the third quarter.
Hayden, who had taken over permanently in the backfield for the hobbled Henderson, carried on consecutive plays, the second of which went for an 8-yard touchdown run. Ruggles added the extra point, and Ohio State regained the lead at 17-13 early in the second half.
It was Hayden again finding paydirt on Ohio State’s next possession for his second touchdown of the game, giving Ohio State slight breathing room for the first time on the afternoon as the game headed to the fourth quarter.
The cushion would be shortlived for Ohio State, however, as Tagovailoa needed less than a minute to bring his team back to within one score on a 5-yard rushing touchdown. Maryland elected to go for a two-point conversion and was successful, cutting Ohio State’s lead to just 27-21 early in the fourth.
Ohio State found another special teams play on the ensuing kickoff when Johnson returned the kick 46 yards near midfield to set up a pivotal drive, which again ended with a Hayden rushing score. Hayden rushed off the left edge and busted into the end zone untouched for his third touchdown, and Ohio State had again stretched its lead back to double digits at 33-23 as the clock ticked under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The theatrics were far from over, however, as Maryland answered right back with another scoring drive as the game grew late. Tagovailoa found Jeshaun Jones in the end zone for a score on fourth down from the Ohio State 1, and the pressure again shifted entirely to the visiting sideline as Ohio State led by just a field goal.
Still clinging to a 33-30 lead with less than a minute to play, Ruggles added his third field goal of the day, drilling a 45-yard field goal with 46 seconds remaining in the game.
Forced to score a touchdown, Maryland’s last-ditch effort was turned away by the Ohio State defense when Tagovailoa was stripped by Zach Harrison at his own goal line. The ball was plucked out of the air by Steele Chambers, who crossed the goal line for a touchdown to seal the victory.
“When you’re playing in November in the Big Ten, these are challenges week in and week out,” Day said following the game. “The number one goal is to win and move on. There’s been times this year when we’ve had style points and we’ve won bug, but there’s gonna be games where you don’t jump out as fast as you want to … What I think was the most important was at halftime, we came together and said, ‘Ok, this is going to be a four-quarter battle, and we really buckled down in the third quarter and did a nice job there and finished out the game the way we should.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.