Urban Meyer began the week claiming Maryland was too talented to overlook with Michigan next on the horizon.
The coach of the ninth-ranked Scarlet and Gray said his players would see that when they flipped on the film.
Time will tell if that is true, but given the the Terrapins’ 5-5 record, it was hard to view that statement as much more than coach speak.
One of Meyer’s mentors, Lou Holtz, was famous for overhyping his opponents, and Meyer’s coaching counterpart to the north had to field similar questions this week about the Wolverines worrying more about Ohio State than Indiana, Michigan’s penultimate opponent of the regular season.
Jim Harbaugh even presented what might be a new tables-turning term for referring to such inquiries: “Media-speak.”
“They’re good, there’s no doubt about it,” Harbaugh said of the Hoosiers during an appearance on Detroit radio station 97.1. “I think when you start throwing those, ‘Is the team thinking ahead?’ or the statistic of winning here — You accuse coaches of coach speak. I accuse the media of media speak. Those things just aren’t relevant when preparing for a big game. That’s what this is — big game.”
Regarding the Ohio State-Maryland game, it turns out there is evidence the Terrapins will pose a greater threat to the Buckeyes than their record might suggest.
According to the 247Sports.com 2018 College Football Team Talent Composite, Ohio State is No. 1 in the Big Ten followed by Michigan and Penn State. That would probably surprise few followers of football, but what about Maryland checking in at No. 4?
That is where they are this season, ahead of perennial contenders Michigan State and Wisconsin as well as this season’s Big Ten West division champ, No. 9 Northwestern.
Here are four more things to know about the game Saturday:
1. Numerous Terrapins and Buckeyes were high school teammates.
Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager and Ohio State linebacker Pete Werner and receiver Terry McLaurin played together at Indianapolis Cathedral while Terps defensive back Raymond Boone and OSU offensive lineman Isaiah Prince played together at Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor Roosevelt.
Maryland quarterback Legend Brumbaugh and OSU cornerbacks Tyreke Johnson and Shaun Wade played together at Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy, and Maryland linebacker Ayinde Eley and defensive linemen Jesse Aniebonam and Tyler Baylor played with Ohio State linebacker Keandre Jones at Onley (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel.
That’s not all: five Maryland players played with OSU linebacker Teradja Mitchell at Virginia Beach (Va.) Bishop Sullivan Catholic and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young played with 10 current Temps at famed DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md.
2. Haskins pulling double duty?
Ohio State’s star quarterback, who has an opportunity to break single-season records for passing yards and touchdown passes this weekend, said he contributed to the scouting report this week.
“They beat Texas last year and this year so I know how talented they are,” Haskins said. “I’ve worked out with them so I know how skilled they are so I feel like it’s good to have a self-scouting report going into this week.
“When coaches ask what does this guy do well and what does that guy do well, I feel like I have a lot of answers and I’m helping a lot with the scheme and the game plan this week.”
3. Maryland will be starting its backup quarterback.
With Kasim Hill lost to a torn knee ligament last week against Indiana, the reins of the offense go to Tyrell Pigrome.
He has played in every game this season and started last year when Hill was hurt (until Pigrome also sustained a season-ending injury).
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said the change may or may not make preparing for the Terps easier.
“They do have a different personality when (Pigrome is) in the game,” Schiano said. “Now, what does that mean? When you’re the starter sometimes you take on more of the personalty of the offense than when you’re a guy who’s plugged in in different packages. Then the packages are fitted to you. So we’ll see.”
4. Ohio State will look to extend an impressive streak in noon starts.
According to the Ohio State sports information department, the Buckeyes are 29-0 in games that kick off at noon since the start of the 2012 season, Meyer’s first back in Columbus.
“I think (strength coach Mickey Marotti) and our staff do a good job of just the energy and getting them to bed early and we’re used to noon games,” Meyer said. “A lot of guys like ‘em. I know I like them as well. So I like the energy we’ve had the last few noon games.”
The game against the Terrapins won’t be the last early start for Ohio State: As usual, the Michigan game will also kick off at noon.
The last team to beat the Buckeyes in a noon start?
That was the Wolverines, who held off Ohio State 40-34 in Ann Arbor in 2011 — two days before Meyer was officially introduced as the newest head coach of the Buckeyes.