After scoring a touchdown on the opening fourth quarter possession against Maryland on Saturday, Ohio State initially planned to go for two. The Buckeyes instead gave up two points to their opponent.
After a touchdown and two-point conversion by the Terrapins on their previous possession, Ohio State took a 12-point lead as Dallan Hayden capped off the Buckeyes’ ensuing drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. The Buckeyes initially kept their charge on the field to try to cut their lead to 14 points, but instead sent their extra points team into the game after a game penalty delay.
What should have been a routine play to give Ohio State a 13-point lead, the Buckeyes eventually cut to just 10 points, as Noah Ruggles’ kick was blocked by Deonte Banks and went all the way back to the other end zone. on an 80-yard scoop-and-score by fellow Maryland cornerback Jakorian Bennett.
Day said after the game that the blockage happened because Ohio State should have had another tackle on the right side of the line, but didn’t, causing Banks to unblock the ball to the ball.
“At that point there was a mistake that we can’t let happen,” said Ryan Day after the game. “In that situation we want the tackle to come over, we didn’t do the tackle over so we had a short lead, and that block cost us three points. So I was very upset afterwards. And when those things start to happen, all of a sudden it can quickly turn into a bad situation, and it almost did. But I give credit to our guys. They kept fighting and they refused to lose.”
The block was Ohio State’s first failed extra point attempt since 2019 and the first time a team scored a two-point return against the Buckeyes since Illinois’ Kevin Mitchell scored on a failed Ohio State extra point attempt in 2005. had major consequences for Saturday’s game.
Maryland scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession to cut Ohio State’s lead to three, and the Buckeyes would not score another offensive touchdown for the rest of the game. When Ohio State settled for a Ruggles field goal to take just a six-point lead on the last possession, Maryland got the ball back with 42 seconds left to play and a chance to win, which it wouldn’t have had if the Buckeyes had made the aforementioned extra run instead of letting the Terps score two runs.
Zach Harrison extinguished that threat when he sacked Taulia Tagovailoa and Steele Chambers plucked the loose ball out of the air for a decisive defensive touchdown. But the blocked extra point will certainly give the Buckeyes a reason to put some extra emphasis on making sure it doesn’t happen again on future field goal attempts and extra point attempts.
Ruggles goes 3-on-3 on threes
Despite that mistake, Day showed his confidence in Ohio State’s field goal team by sending Ruggles out to kick a 45-yard field goal in the final minute of the game.
Facing 4th and 3rd on the 27-yard line, the Buckeyes could have chosen to go for it to try and put the play away and avoid the risk of something going wrong on the field goal attempt. But Day decided Ohio State had to go for the three points to prevent Maryland from tying the game with a field goal if stopped at fourth, and Ruggles shot the ball through the uprights as he has on all his field goal attempts all but two. this season.
“We had blocked one before, but that was because we hadn’t finished the tackle, so I was still confident that we could protect. And at the time I felt like if you make the field goal, now they have to score a touchdown to beat you,” Day said. “I just felt like it was the right thing to do. Make the field goal, great execution, great; that’s Noah’s clutch to make that field goal.
While Ohio State prefers not to rely on Ruggles to score field goals and often doesn’t need to, he has consistently performed when the Buckeyes called on him in tricky situations, and Saturday was one of his greatest examples to do that. . Ruggles also made a 33-yard field goal on Ohio State’s opening second-quarter possession to give the Buckeyes a four-point lead and a 47-yard field goal on the Buckeyes’ second drive of the third quarter to give them a seven- . point lead.
In a game that would have ended as a one-score game without Chambers’ defensive touchdown with just nine seconds remaining, Ruggles’ reliability played a vital role in the Buckeyes’ breakout of College Park with a victory.
Plagued by penalties
The game penalty delay leading to the blocked extra point was just one of 11 penalties against Ohio State at Maryland, marking the first time the Buckeyes committed double-digit penalties in a game all season. The 11 penalties were the most Ohio State has conceded in a game since committing 13 penalties for 141 yards in a 73–14 victory over Maryland in 2019, while the 95 penalties were the most since the Buckeyes lost 95 yards on eight penalties against Akron in 2021.
While Ohio State had struggled on penalties early in the season, committing 16 penalties for 160 yards in the first two games of the year against Notre Dame and Arkansas State, the Buckeyes have been much cleaner in that area ever since. Between the third and tenth games of the season, Ohio State’s worst game in terms of penalty kicks came when it lost 50 yards on eight penalties at Penn State.
However, against Maryland on Saturday, penalties were a major factor in why the Terrapins were able to keep the game close for four quarters. Those penalties included three stoppages of play, two false starts, an intentional grounding by CJ Stroud, a facemask grab by JT Tuimoloau that voided a sack, a pair of pass interference penalties against Cameron Martinez and Lathan Ransom, and a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against Taron Vincent and Chambers. Zach Harrison was also penalized for going offside on the final play of the first half, which would have given Maryland one more chance to try and score before halftime, but the Terrapins chose to disallow the penalty and take a three-point lead to take in the locker room. .
Day found the number of penalties the Buckeyes conceded on Saturday unacceptable, and he said they all have some extra conditioning work ahead of them on Sunday – including Day himself, who blamed himself for at least one of the game’s delays. fines – as a result.
“(The officials) were winding (the clock) fast when they came off the sidelines. And, you know, I need one of them in quicker. Another one where I think CJ may have lost the clock. How many did we end up with, 11? Yes, that’s too many. I don’t know if I have a good answer to that,” Day said. “We’ll have to figure it out and go for a little run tomorrow. Coaches also run when there are penalties. So I’ll have to run a little bit, I think, work out.