Caleb Rowe

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No. 5 Ohio State obliterates Maryland to keep Big Ten title hopes in sight

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J.T. Barrett passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more as No. 5 Ohio State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) easily picked up a blowout road win at Maryland (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) on Saturday. The Buckeyes left College Park with a 62-3 victory to keep a shot at a Big Ten championship within reach. But at least Maryland had nice uniforms.

Ohio State put up 45 point sin the first half, which allowed the Buckeyes to put things on cruise control and get a few other players involved in the second half with a win easily taken care of. In addition to Barrett’s productive afternoon on the road, Mike Weber rushed for 93 yards and Curtis Samuel turned in a quality game with three total touchdowns and 112 total yards of offense. The Ohio State defense was locked in from start to finish. Maryland converted just one of 132 third down attempts for a first down and the Terps were held to fewer than 200 yards while the Buckeyes were racking up the offensive stats when they had the football.

Ohio State’s offense has really hit its stride the past two weeks, which should be comforting for fans after back-to-back struggles against Penn State and Northwestern. Maybe that served as a wake-up call for the Buckeyes, who now are playing like a true Big Ten and legitimate playoff contender. The defense has been there the entire time too.

Maryland lost starting quarterback Perry Hills to an injury in the first half. A shoulder injury brought an early end to his afternoon, as he did not return. Caleb Rowe filled in for a while, but eventually freshman Tyrell Pigrome got some playing time as well.

For Ohio State, the goal of playing for a Big Ten title remains in front of them, and for the moment they still control their own fate as long as Michigan avoids slipping up tonight against Iowa or next week. Ohio State maintains control of the Big Ten East if they win their remaining games and Michigan enters the regular season finale without a loss prior to arrival in Columbus. If Michigan should happen to lose at least once before getting to Ohio State, then Penn State could potentially stand in the way of the Buckeyes and Indianapolis. Ohio State wins in a three-way tiebreaker for the division but Penn State would win a head-to-head tiebreaker if the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions are tied for the Big Ten East lead at the end of the season.

Simply put, Ohio State fans are put in the somewhat awkward position of rooting for the Wolverines tonight against Iowa and next week against Indiana (Penn State has Rutgers next week).

Ohio State must also take care of business next week on the road at Michigan State. The Spartans finally put a win in Big Ten play on the board this afternoon with a 49-0 shutout of Rutgers. Michigan State clipped Ohio State last season in Columbus, but the Spartans are a far cry from where they were en route to a Big Ten title last fall.

Maryland will hit the road next week to take on Nebraska in Lincoln. It would appear Maryland’s bowl hopes will be on the line in the regular-season finale at home against Rutgers. Maryland needs just one win in order to become bowl eligible.

No. 3 Michigan makes turtle soup of Maryland, 59-3

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No. 3 Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) had absolutely no problem with their latest opponent, Maryland (5-4, 2-4 Big Ten). The Wolverines picked up a 59-3 victory over Maryland to remain undefeated this season and also assuring Michigan fans another week of steep discounts on steak dinners.

A week after handling Michigan State, it has become more and more clear there is almost nobody in the Big Ten that can slow down Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines. Maryland was down 45-0 before managing to put a measly three points on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter. Can we just fast forward to Michigan-Ohio State already?

Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight had a big afternoon, completing 19 of 24 passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns and a rushing touchdown before getting the rest of the game off. Jehu Chesson (112 yards, 1 TD) and Amara Darboh (77 yards, 1 TD) and Jake Butt (76 yards) were Speight’s top targets. De'Veon Smith carried the football 19 times for 114 yards and three scores.

Maryland lost quarterback Perry Hills to an apparent injury in the first half, and Caleb Rowe was unable to lead the offense against Michigan to much success. Rowe was picked off twice and completed just 12 of 23 pass attempts for 203 yards. Hills became the ninth quarterback this seaosn knocked out of a game by Michigan’s defense. An arguably late hit on Hills was uncalled by Big Ten officials in this one.

Michigan may face an interesting challenge next week when the Wolverines leave the state of Michigan for just the second time all season. Michigan plays at Iowa next Saturday night. The Hawkeyes will be coming off a primetime road game at Penn State. Iowa has held four opponents to fewer than 10 points in a game this season, although Michigan will pose the biggest challenge to the Hawkeyes they have faced all season.

Maryland’s quest for postseason eligibility will not likely be very easy the next couple of weeks. Maryland hosts Ohio State next week and travels to Nebraska the following week. Maryland’s bowl hopes may just have to be on the line in the regular season finale at home against Rutgers.

No. 3 Michigan once again on cruise control, leading Maryland 35-0 at half

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Can we just fast-forward Michigan’s season to the part where they play at Ohio State? The Wolverines are easily on their way to a 9-0 record this afternoon with a 35-0 halftime lead on Maryland in Michigan Stadium. Jabrill Peppers has once again played a small role in the offense in addition to his defensive assignments and special teams duties, but Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight has been lighting up Maryland so far.

Speight has completed 13 of 16 passes for 292 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He has also rushed for a touchdown. De'Veon Smith has rushed for 49 yards and a score. Michigan has already accumulated 402 yards of offense (and 17 first downs) to Maryland’s 143 offensive yards.

Michigan opened the game with a  10-play scoring drive traveling 91 yards. A game-opening kickoff return to the Michigan 49-yard line by Peppers was wiped off due to an illegal block. Michigan even managed to put together over 100 yards of offense on the opening drive due to a personal foul on Kyle Kalis. Amara Darboh caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Speight to finish off the opening drive with a score.

Maryland quarterback Perry Hills left the game to be examined by medical trainers in the first half, leaving the Maryland offense in the hands of Caleb Rowe.

Maryland going back to Perry Hills at QB vs. Buckeyes

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Heading into what could be his final game as head coach of the Maryland Terrapins, Randy Edsall will reportedly go with Perry Hills as his starting quarterback.

Hills, a junior, got the start for the first two games of the season but the leash was short. Edsall made a change to Caleb Rowe following a loss at home to Bowling Green. Hills has completed 52.9 percent of his passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. Rowe has been a disaster at the position, completing just 44.0 percent of his attempts for 428 yards, four touchdowns and an astounding 12 interceptions in five games. Daxx Garman has struggled as well with a completion percentage of just 33.0.

Maryland take son No. 1 Ohio State this afternoon in Columbus.

After loss to Bowling Green, Randy Edsall switches QBs at Maryland

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There was not much to be proud of with Maryland’s home loss over the weekend to Bowling Green, but head coach Randy Edsall is pulling the trigger on a quarterback change. Perry Hills is out, and Caleb Rowe is in.

Rowe is now listed as the team’s starter on Maryland’s updated depth chart, with Hillis being bumped down to third behind transfer Daxx Garman. That is quite a change for the offense after two games, but the change may not be all that undeserved.

Hills completed 15 of his 30 attempts on Saturday against Bowling Green for a total of 168 yards and two touchdowns. He was picked off once. Through two games, Hills had a passer rating inside the red zone of 0.00, with incompletions on all three of his attempts so far this season inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Rowe, on the other hand, has already been intercepted twice in his limited opportunities this season. He has completed just one of his four pass attempts for a gain of 17 yards. Rowe did step in at times for Maryland last season, completing 63 percent of his pass attempts for 489 yards and five touchdowns, but he was also intercepted four times. This may not be a huge upgrade at the position for Edsall, but the pressure to find something that works is clearly rising in what was already expected to be a step back year for the Terps considering the talent lost from 2014.