The game was over before it started between Ohio State and Maryland, but regardless of the lopsided matchup, several Buckeyes excelled in the old-fashioned beatdown.
In a dominant win against Maryland, there are plenty of players that could have won this Buckeye Leaf. But for me, I think the player that stood out most on the defensive line in Chase Young’s absence deserves it, and that was Davon Hamilton.
Hamilton has consistently been one of the most underrated members of the defense, and today he really impressed. He only had two tackles, but both were for sacks, and both came on impressive moves to get into Maryland’s backfield to get one each on Josh Jackson and Tyrell Pigrome in the first and second quarters.
There’s a reason the Buckeyes’ defense didn’t miss a beat without Young in the lineup, and Hamilton was a major contributor to that, and continues to prove himself as a difference maker up front for Ohio State.
He only played a half, but Hamilton made his presence known early, and started the Buckeyes out on the right foot and allowed for the domination to begin immediately.
Many players were worthy of Buckeye leaves for their performance against Maryland, but J.K. Dobbins particularly stood out.
The junior tailback gashed the Terrapins for 90 yards and two scores on the ground on just 12 carries, while adding one catch for eight yards.
One of the game’s most impressive plays came from Dobbins on a first-down run from the Maryland 20-yard line. The co-captain took a carry to his left, followed his blocking outside and cut back sharply, juking multiple Maryland defenders out of their shoes for a 20-yard touchdown.
The score marked Dobbins’ second of the game and No. 33 of his Ohio State career, moving him past Pepe Pearson for 14th in school history.
Fifth-year senior tight end Rashod Berry deserves honorable mention for lining up on both offense and defense, where he served as a pass rusher.
In a game that was thoroughly dominated by Ohio State in all phases of the game, my Buckeye Leaf goes to kicker Blake Haubeil for a perfectly executed onside kick to wide receiver Chris Olave in the first quarter that started the rout.
Haubeil’s career got off to a rough start because he struggled with directional kickoffs as a freshman, but he’s shown this year why he was one of the nation’s most-highly sought-after kickers in 2017 with a 55-yard field goal at Northwestern and this onside kick.
I am surprised the Buckeyes pulled this trick out of the bag in a game that didn’t need anything special preparation, but it’s nice to know the coaching staff trusts Haubeil to get the job done in many different ways.
He only played for the first 30 minutes of the game, but sophomore quarterback Justin Fields may have had his most impressive game yet as a Buckeye. He was dominant in the air, throwing for 200 yards and three scores on 16 of 25 passes, while rushing five times for 28 yards and a score.
The Maryland defense had no answer for any part of Ohio State’s offense, but the passing game led the way for the Buckeyes in the first half and continued to excel even after Fields had left the game.
While Fields didn’t put up enormous numbers due in large part to his lack of playing time, he was able to pick apart the Maryland defense in a way that isn’t fully represented in the numbers.
He was decisive, confident and continued to flash his elite talent on almost every pass. There may not be a better example of that talent than his touchdown pass to Chris Olave late in the first half. The pass only went down as two-yard completion, but Fields waited for what felt like an eternity as Olave broke free of the defense, and dropped a beautiful ball right into the back corner of the end zone.
It was yet another showcase in what has been a season of massive performances from the Heisman-contending quarterback, and while the Buckeyes may have not even needed their starting quarterback to beat the Terrapins, Fields took advantage of his opportunity against a lesser defense in a big way.
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