1. Control the line of scrimmage

From the start of last year’s game, it was obvious that Maryland had no chance because Ohio State dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Buckeyes runners often weren’t touched until they got 5 yards past the line. Maryland has improved its line play, but how much? Ohio State’s defensive line should have its way, but the Buckeyes’ offensive line still has plenty of growing to do.

2. Contain DJ Moore

Moore has been the focal point of Maryland’s offense this year, and he likely will get his catches and yards. But the Buckeyes can’t let the junior receiver go wild. The biggest factor could be Ohio State’s pass rush on new quarterback Max Bortenschlager. Denzel Ward has been the most consistent of Ohio State’s cornerbacks, showing the ability to be a shutdown corner. The Buckeyes play physically in pass coverage, which can be an issue if officials are quick to reach for their flags.

3. Win the red zone

Ohio State has been so-so in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on 16 of 27 possessions inside their opponents’ 20-yard line. The emergence of receiver Binjimen Victor as an end-zone threat with his long frame, along with the added power running of Mike Weber, should help the Buckeyes improve in that area. The Terps’ defense has been solid in the red zone, ranking 20th nationally. But Maryland’s red-zone offense is near the bottom at 114th, with only eight touchdowns in 14 trips inside the 20. 

4. Win turnover margin

Maryland’s best chance to pull the upset would be if Ohio State isn’t careful with the ball. The Buckeyes (plus-6) have been slightly better in turnover margin than the Terps (plus-3), but OSU at times has been sloppy with the ball, especially near the opponents’ end zone. If the turnover margin is close to even, the Buckeyes should win comfortably.

Who has the edge vs. Maryland

When Buckeyes run


With a healthy Mike Weber available to complement J.K. Dobbins and J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes should be able to wear down the Terrapins.

When Buckeyes pass


The passing progress continues for the Buckeyes, and Maryland has been vulnerable in this phase, giving up 248.0 yards per game.

When Terrapins run


Ty Johnson will put the Buckeyes to the test, but this is more about OSU’s defensive line being able to control the line of scrimmage.

When Terrapins pass


The Terps’ DJ Moore leads the Big Ten in almost every receiving category, but Maryland ranks only 106th nationally in passing offense.

Special teams


Kicker Sean Nuernberger, returner Parris Campbell and kickoff coverage have been rock-solid for OSU. Punting has been an issue for Maryland.

— Bill Rabinowitz / brabinowitz@dispatch.com / @brdispatch