Can Ohio State knock it out of the park against Maryland?


When you think of Maryland, there are a lot of things that come to mind.

Sea food for one. Or The Preakness, one of horse racing’s Triple Crown races, which is run every year in Baltimore. Maybe the Naval Academy, located in Annapolis.

Or possibly you think of Nov. 6, 1995, a date that will live in sports infamy in Ohio because that’s the day Art Modell announced he was moving the Browns to Baltimore.

Maybe home runs should be included on that list, too.

Babe Ruth (714 career home runs) was born in Maryland. Jimmie Foxx (534 career home runs), Cal Ripken (431 career home runs) and Al Kaline (399 career home runs) were born there, too.

Maryland native John Baker, who was the Babe Ruth of his day in the early 20th Century, was even known as Home Run Baker.

He led the American League in home runs four years in a row with 11, 10, 12 and 9 of them and had 96 career home runs. Today his nickname would be something more like Slap Hitter Baker.

Maryland can even claim the home run hitter whose power was viewed more skeptically than anyone not named Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in the steroid era.

Brady Anderson hit 50 home runs for the Baltimore Orioles in 1996. He had never hit more than 21 in a season before that and never hit more than 24 in a season the rest of his career.

The football version of home runs have all belonged to Ohio State since Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014. OSU has scored 62, 62, 52 and 49 points in its four Big Ten games against the Terrapins, including a 62-14 win last season.

This year Maryland has had a season overshadowed by tragedy and turmoil.

Offensive lineman Jordan McNair died in June of heat stroke during an off-season workout. Head coach D.J. Durkin was suspended during an investigation, reinstated, then fired a day later. Two trainers were also fired.

With offensive coordinator Matt Canada acting as interim coach, Maryland is 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten going into today’s game against Ohio State.

Its wins have been over Texas, Bowling Green, Minnesota, Rutgers and Illinois. Its losses have been against Temple, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State and Indiana.

The Terrapins lost starting quarterback Kasim Hill during a 34-32 loss to Indiana last Saturday when he suffered a torn ACL for the second season in a row. He was replaced by Tyrrell Pigrome, who was the starting quarterback last season before a torn ACL in the opener sidelined him.

Whoever the quarterback has been this season, Maryland’s offense has been dominated by its running game. Freshman running back Anthony McFarland has gained 724 yards and Ty Johnson has 506 yards.

Four of the five teams who have beaten Maryland have shut down or contained the Terrapins’ running game. They got only 26 yards on the ground against Michigan State, 68 yards against Iowa, 132 yards against Temple and 147 yards against Michigan.

Ohio State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) showed some signs of progress in a 26-6 win over Michigan State last week.

But the Buckeyes still did not look like a team you could automatically write down as a sure thing to put 50 points on the scoreboard or hold Maryland to one or two touchdowns today.

Unpredictability remains the most predictable thing about OSU this season.

The prediction: Ohio State 35, Maryland 17.

Jim Naveau Staff columnist Naveau Staff columnist

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