The 2018 NCAA Football schedule is winding down as we roll into one of the final few weeks of the regular season. As teams look to pick up the wins needed to secure Bowl eligibility, fans and sports handicappers are trying to find the best matchup each week. This week’s slate is thin on top 25 matchups but one matchup that stands out on paper is a Big Ten showdown between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Maryland Terps.
The Buckeyes enter this showdown sitting at 9-1 overall on the year and 6-1 inside the Big Ten. Meanwhile the Terps enter this game needing just one win to secure Bowl eligibility as they have posted a 5-5 overall record and a 3-4 record in the conference. For these two teams this will be the fifth meeting in the schools histories with all of them coming after the Terps joined the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have won all four of those meetings by at least 21 points or more while scoring now fewer than 49 points against the Terps.
For these two teams on Saturday, it will simply come down to the play of the quarterback position. Dwayne Haskins will look to lead the Buckeyes to their third straight victory and tenth overall victory. Entering this contest, Haskins has thrown for 3,280 yards while completing just under 69% of his passes. Meanwhile the Terps will turn to the athletic Tyrrell Pigrome after losing starting quarterback Kasim Hill to an ACL tear for the rest of the season.
Here are the keys to the game for both the Ohio State Buckeyes and Maryland Terps on Saturday November 17th, 2018 @ Maryland Stadium.
NCAA Football Keys to the Game
Ohio State Buckeyes – Take Advantage of Run Game
The Buckeyes have weapons on both sides of the football that will make this a difficult contest for the Terps to not only win but to keep the game close. That said, the Buckeyes will need to take advantage of their ability to run the football against a Terps team that ranks 63rd in the NCAA in rushing yards allowed per game (161.4 rypg). On the year J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber have combined to rush for 1,423 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. If the Buckeyes can move the ball on the ground, it should open up the passing attack against a Terps team that ranks 18th against the pass while allowing just 181.8 yards per contest. Meanwhile the Terps rank 1st in the NCAA with a league high 17 interceptions entering this contest.
Maryland Terps – Shut Down the Buckeyes in the Red Zone
After losing quarterback Kasim Hill to a torn ACL, it leaves the Terps offense with a ton of question marks as they enter this contest and opening the door for the Buckeyes to load the box to stop the rushing attack. For the Terps in this contest it will simply come down to their ability to force Haskins into throwing interceptions and how well they play once the Buckeyes get within the red zone. In the Buckeyes only loss of the year, the Purdue Boilermakers allowed Haskins to throw for 470 yards through the air but held the team to just 20 points.
NCAA Football Betting Trends
Ohio State Buckeyes – The Buckeyes enter this contest as a two touchdown favorite against a Terps team that has big time question marks at quarterback. Entering this contest the Buckeyes have struggled against the spread this season going just 4-6 (1-2 ATS on the road) despite winning nine of their first ten contests. Along with those struggles the Buckeyes have failed the cover the spread in five of their last seven overall road contests and five of their six against teams in the Big Ten.
Maryland Terps – Despite being one of the better defensive teams in the country, the Terps have struggled on offense this season. These struggles have led the Terps to an overall record of 5-5 while covering the spread in just five of their first 10 contests. While the Terps have covered three of their first five at home, the team is just 1-4 against the spread against teams with a winning road record.
Head 2 Head – These two teams are very new to one another with the Buckyes winning each of their first four meetings. In those contests, the Buckeyes won by no fewer than 21 points while covering the spread in each of those contests.
What’s next for these two teams?
Ohio State Buckeyes – The Buckeyes will return home on Saturday November 24th, 2018 to take on the Michigan Wolverines in a Big Ten showdown.
Texas Tech Red Raiders – The Terps will head to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions in their final contest of the season on Saturday November 24th, 2018.