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Hayden, special teams lead Buckeyes

Nov. 20 – A grade card of Ohio State’s 43-30 win over Maryland:

INJURY: C

Freshman running back Dallan Hayden (27 carries, 146 yards, 3 touchdowns) appeared on a day when Miyan Williams was unable to play and TreVeyon Henderson was attempting to play but an existing foot problem appeared to have quickly worsened. It was Hayden’s third 100-yard game of the season, but the first time he did it under pressure.

The offensive line seemed to play better in the second half with Hayden on the field after OSU rushed just 28 yards in the first half. Hayden got all but three of his yards in the second half, and it wasn’t until he became the face of the Buckeyes’ running game that the offense took effect.

The offense went 75 yards in six games for a touchdown when she first had the ball and then didn’t score another touchdown until she had the ball for the first time in the second half. It wasn’t one of quarterback CJ Stroud’s better days. He was 18 of 30 for 241 yards and a touchdown. Ohio State had 11 penalties, seven of them in the first half. Delaying game penalties after game clock expired continued to be an issue.

DEFENSE: C+

The only Big Ten teams that Maryland scored more points this season than the 30 points it had on Saturday were Indiana and Northwestern. Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, who had passed under 100 yards against Penn State and Wisconsin in Maryland’s last two games before Saturday, hit 16 of his first 18 passes and ended the day 26 of 36 for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Nine Maryland receivers caught at least one pass.

Tommy Eichenberg led Ohio State with 13 tackles. OSU had five sacks, including two from Zach Harrison, on Maryland’s last possession to end any Terrapins chance of an upset.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

Lathan Ransom blocked a punt for the second straight game and that could have been the game’s turning point. OSU fought offensively in the first half and found themselves 13:10 behind. Ransom’s block seemed to bolster both offense and defense. Two games later, Hayden scored a touchdown for a 17-13 lead and the Buckeyes led the rest of the game.

Noah Ruggles kicked three field goals, including a 47-yarder and a 46-yarder, and Xavier Johnson returned a kickoff from 46 yards.

On the other hand, OSU botched a two-point conversion and an extra-point kick in the same sequence. After taking a 33-21 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes braced for a two-point try but were called out for game delay. After the penalty, they decided to kick instead and it was blocked and returned by Maryland for two points.

OVERALL: C+

Ohio State was at some point behind in three of their four away games, so perhaps their struggles against Maryland shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise. But a similar effort this Saturday against Michigan probably wouldn’t produce the result the Buckeyes have been looking for since last year.

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