Peach Bowl Prep Chapter 3: Maryland
Ohio State went on the road to College Park in their last game before what was presumably an undefeated matchup with arch rival Xichigan. Maybe this was a trap game for the Buckeyes or maybe a sign of a really good team with flaws that were to be exposed in the stretch run. Regardless, Maryland gave OSU a fight matching them in several metrics. Again, the explosive plays and capitalizing on mistakes got the win. I wrote about the "middle eight" in the forum, that stretch might have cost the Terrapins the game.
Metrics Box Score:
Although Ohio State notched a 13 point win, the defense had a scoop and score in effectively the last play of the game and Maryland had a halftime lead and was a one score game for a large portion of the game. Ohio State was under their season average in offensive success rate and yardage. They capitalized on that late Taulia Tagovailoa turnover and short field from punt block, and the passing offense was very effective. Defensively, they held Maryland to sub 40% offensive success rate, but worth noting that Tagovailoa and the pass catchers had .436 passing EPA - indicating that there were plays made on the secondary and the second highest OSU all season (only Michigan's passing EPA would be higher)
Here are the drive stats and links to plays
Ok this is what I want to note here about the "Middle 8." Maryland goes on a 14 play TD drive to take a 13-10 lead and holds OSU to get ball back with 1:30 left in half. Maryland gets a play to start the drive, then a sack and a meanigless gain to end half. They also receive the kick to start second half. Six plays then a blocked punt. OSU takes back the lead on a short field with a two play scoring drive. While the OSU win probability never actually favored Maryland in this game, Maryland gave away any chance for an upset with these two drives. Maryland would move the ball in second half and battled to get to a one score game, but by not taking advantage of the drives to end 1st half and botching their first drive of second half made it very unlikely to get the upset
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