COLUMBUS — It’s not easy for a defense to take the spotlight away from the offense on a day a team scores 62 points but Ohio State’s defense might have accomplished that on Saturday.
When the No. 9 Buckeyes (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) rolled to a 62-14 win over Maryland (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) the numbers that jumped off the stat sheet belonged to the defense.
OSU, which rolled up 584 yards on offense, held the Terrapins to 66 yards of total offense.
One of Maryland’s touchdowns came on a 100-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. The other was set up by an OSU fumble at its own 27-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
“We came out and did what we’re supposed to do. We stopped the run and didn’t give them many opportunities,” Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis said.
Maryland got 50 of its 66 yards on the ground. Quarterback Max Bortenschlager, who began the season as the Terrapins’ No. 3 quarterback before injuries sidelined the two players ahead of him, was 3 of 12 for 16 yards.
“The defense was outstanding,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “When you hold them to 16 yards passing or something like that, that’s good secondary play. But I know why they didn’t throw very much. The defensive line was all over them.”
Ohio State’s defense, which scored seven touchdowns last season, got to the end zone for the first time this season when linebacker Jerome Baker picked up a fumble by Bortenschlager and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
As a group, Ohio State’s linebackers probably did not live up to expectations early this season. But that has turned around, Baker said.
“We just locked in. We were so worried about making mistakes and doing the wrong thing. We told each other to just go out there and play no matter who was out there.
“I talked to Coach (Greg) Schiano after the Oklahoma game and he asked me ‘What’s going on and how can we improve?’ I told him sometimes you just have to settle down, it’s as simple as that,” he said.
The No. 9 Buckeyes’ big win came one year after a 62-3 victory at Maryland. And it came one week after a 56-0 win over Rutgers, the other newest member of the Big Ten, and a team OSU has outscored 114-0 over the last two seasons.
Barrett was 20 of 31 for 261 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown. J.K. Dobbins rushed for 96 yards on 13 carries and had a touchdown. Parris Campbell’s six catches led the receivers.
Ohio State led 41-7 at halftime and outgained Maryland 361 yards to 26 in the first two quarters.
Even with that dominance it was far from a perfect half for the Buckeyes, who lost a fumble, lost cornerback Denzel Ward for the afternoon because of a targeting call and had six early mistakes on special teams, including allowing a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
While Bortenschlager was the starter when Maryland beat Minnesota last week, being down 14-0 just over six minutes into the game was not where the Terrapins wanted to be on Saturday. But that is exactly where Ohio State put them after Barrett’s 1-yard touchdown run ended OSU’s first drive of the game and Baker’s touchdown.
Ty Johnson’s 100-yard kickoff return after Baker’s TD cut the lead to 14-7 before Barrett connected with Binjimen Victor for an 8-yard touchdown and a 20-7 OSU lead with 7:14 left in the first quarter.
Two of Ohio State’s three touchdowns in the second quarter came on touchdown passes by Barrett. The first went to tight end Marcus Baugh for 10 yards and the other was 5-yard throw into tight coverage to Austin Mack.
In between those two TDs, Parris Campbell scored on a 24-yard run on a play on where Barrettt handed the ball to running back J.K. Dobbins, who pitched it to Campbell.
In the second half, Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins added short touchdown runs to put OSU up 55-7. Then Antonio Williams scored on an 8-yard run for the final OSU TD.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.