COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — No. 4 Ohio State looked to be in trouble at halftime.
The Buckeyes’ possessions in the first half Saturday included turning the ball over on downs, three punts and a field goal. Though the game was tied at halftime, largely because of safety Josh Proctor’s Pick-6, Maryland and quarterback Taulia Taglovailoa had the momentum.
But the Buckeyes were a different team in the second half, scoring 27 straight points to pull away from Maryland 37-17.
Kyle McCord passed for a career-high 320 yards and two touchdowns for the Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) and Marvin Harrison Jr. had eight catches for 163 yards.
“Early on, I feel like a I missed some opportunities or just saw (things) a second late, so that’s on nobody else but myself,” McCord said. “If we could replicate what we did in the second half, and just do that in the first half, I think that’s a completely different game.”
The Buckeyes didn’t lead until Jaden Fielding kicked a field goal to put them up 20-17 late in the third quarter.
After a Maryland punt, McCord tossed a 44-yard TD pass to tight end Cade Stover. The Terps (5-1, 2-1) gave up the ball on downs on their next possession, and four plays later McCord found Harrison for a 17-yard touchdown to push the Ohio State lead to 34-17.
A late 41-yard field goal capped the scoring in a Buckeyes win that certainly didn’t look certain through three quarters.
“It was like one of those things — OK, what’s going on here?” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said of the sluggish start. “But that’s the game, and you got to respond. So I thought we did respond well in the second half. Good rhythm.”
Tagovailoa was 21 for 41 for 196 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score. But he was intercepted twice, the first a 24-yard Pick-6 by Proctor that gave the Buckeyes their only touchdown of the first half.
Chip Trayanum was the main running back for the Buckeyes with TreVeyon Henderson sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Trayanum was mostly bottled up by the Terps, carrying 20 times for 61 yards. His best run was a scurry around the right end for a 4-yard TD in the third quarter.
The Terps broke the 10-10 tie early in the second half when Tagovailoa weaved his way through traffic from 9 yards out for a touchdown.
The Buckeyes then went to work, with McCord connecting with Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming to set up Trayanum’s 4-yard touchdown run. It was all Buckeyes the rest of the way.
“We talked all week about getting the game into the fourth quarter and then seeing where we fit,” Maryland coach Mike Locksley said. “We were able to do that, and I just didn’t like the way we finished.”
Maryland: The Terps entered the game having won each of their first five games by at least 18 points, and they looked capable of pulling the upset before Ohio State’s superior depth took over.
Ohio State: Buckeyes mounted a great rally after a sluggish start and continued issues with the run game. McCord hit some critical passes, and the Buckeyes’ defense held Maryland to 106 rushing yards and managed to contain Tagovailoa.
Ohio State shouldn’t move much, if at all.
Ohio State’s top running back, Henderson, apparently was injured and held out of the game, according to Day, who did not provide further details. He rushed for 104 yards and a TD against Notre Dame on Sept. 23, his first 100-yard game this season.
Henderson missed five games last season because of a broken bone in his left foot that required surgery in December.
Egbuka left Saturday’s game early in the fourth quarter. Day said he’s being examined and didn’t know how serious it is.
Maryland: Returns home to play Illinois on Saturday.
Ohio State: At Purdue next Saturday before a showdown at home against No. 7 Penn State.