Quarterback Justin Fields played only in the first half in Ohio State’s 73-14 rout of Maryland on Saturday.

It was the first time this season he didn’t step onto the field for the second half, replaced by his backups with the Buckeyes leading handily. But Fields still attempted 25 passes, equaling his season-high.

 

 

Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter

 

“That’s pretty aggressive for us,” coach Ryan Day said. “That would be on pace for 50 in a game.”

Fields completed 16 for 200 yards and three touchdowns.

As the Buckeyes prepared to face Maryland last week, Day said he challenged the passing game.

“We challenged the protection,” he said. “We challenged the routes. We challenged everybody involved with it, the decision-making.”

As Fields sliced the Terrapins’ secondary, he relied often on Chris Olave, targeting the sophomore receiver 10 times.

Olave caught five for 43 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter when he was left uncovered in the end zone. It was the second straight game that he started in place of senior Austin Mack, who has been out with an undisclosed injury.

Mack, who was listed as a game-time decision before kickoff, was on the sideline in uniform.

Fields has usually exited the game early, with the Buckeyes playing their backups, though Saturday was his earliest departure.

Day noted that some of Fields’ statistics might be flashier, at least compared to other passers across the country, if he played longer in games.

“Sometimes when you look at that compared to some other guys throughout the country, you'd say he only threw it for 200 yards,” Day said. “Only played one half of football. J.K. Dobbins runs for 90 yards, he only played one half of football. But that's a good thing, and I know that those guys are proud of the way they played.”

 

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman