COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio State got its first taste of adversity this week when star defensive end Chase Young was suspended for the Maryland game for a possible NCAA infraction involving a personal loan.
On Saturday the No. 3 Buckeyes set that to one side and took out their frustrations on beleaguered Maryland, a program heading in the wrong direction.
Justin Fields threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in the first half Saturday as Ohio State rolled to a 73-14 win behind 705 yards of offense and 40 first downs.
A team that gave the Buckeyes (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten, CFP No. 1) headaches last season was no trouble this time, even without the fierce pass-rushing of Young. The preseason All-American was suspended Friday while Ohio State investigates a possible NCAA violation involving a loan.
"We went through a little adversity this week," coach Ryan Day said. "Adversity reveals character, and our character was at the forefront of this game. I felt we came out and showed we're made of something special here."
J.K. Dobbins rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns as the Buckeyes built a 42-0 halftime lead and the backups added to it in the second half.
Fields tossed touchdown passes to Binjimen Victor , K.J. Hill and Chris Olave before taking a seat. His backup, Chris Chugunov, threw another one in the third quarter.
The Buckeyes defense, without Young, held the Terrapins to a single yard of offense in the first quarter and 139 yards for the game. Anthony McFarland, who rushed for 298 yards against the Buckeyes last season, managed only 7 yards on six carries.
Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson left after the first quarter and didn't return until the third. He finally got the Terps on the board in the third quarter with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Dontay Demus, a drive that would have ended earlier had it not been for three consecutive 15-yard penalties against Ohio State.
"This was a team loss," Maryland coach Mike Locksley said. "All three phases, coaches, players, all included and I didn't like the way we showed up and played today."
Maryland: The body language of the Terrapins players was bad from the beginning, and they never seemed to give themselves a chance. After starting strong under Locksley this season, Maryland has fallen apart, losing seven of its last eight. After falling to Ohio State by a single point in overtime last year, the Terps took a big step backward.
Ohio State: The train keeps rolling, with the next big test in two weeks against Penn State, which was upset by Minnesota on Saturday. The Maryland game was another methodical dismantling that has become Ohio State's signature this season.
NEXT MEN UP
The absence of Young gave some other Ohio State defensive linemen a chance to step out. With Jonathan Cooper out with an injury, the Buckeyes started freshmen Zach Harrison and sophomore Tyreke Smith. Davon Hamilton and Smith each collected two sacks, with one each by Zach Harrison, Tuf Borland and Malik Harrison. The Terrapins were limited to 62 rushing yards, an average of under 2 yards per attempt.
LOTS OF LAUNDRY
As prolific and efficient as the Buckeyes are, they're having trouble playing by the rules. They were flagged 13 times for 141 yards. On one Maryland possession in the third quarter, Ohio State was penalized 15 yards on three straight plays, one of them an unsportsmanlike conduct foul against Zach Harrison for celebrating his first career sack. That helped set up Maryland's only score of the day.
"It's just next-man mentality," said Harrison. "That's what Coach Day preaches, so when my name is called, I've got to step up."
WHAT'S UP WITH CHASE?
Ohio State spokesman Jerry Emig said the team is working with the NCAA and has no expectations of how long Young's suspension might last, despite reports that the Ohio State was expecting a four-game penalty.
Day declined to discuss it in detail.
"Chase is dealing with a situation that we're all supporting him with, and once we get some clarity on what's going on, we'll go from there," Day said.
Maryland: After an off week, hosts Nebraska on Nov. 23.
Ohio State: At Rutgers next Saturday.
Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy