OSU recharges, gets ready for unbeaten Maryland


COLUMBUS — At the Big Ten football media days in July, Maryland coach Mike Locksley spent the first few minutes of his presentation telling a long story about a 14-hour flight delay he and his family endured on their way home from a summer vacation in the British Virgin Islands.

The football season has treated Locksley and his football team much better than that, though.

The Terrapins (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) are off to their best start since 2001 as they prepare to travel to No. 4 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten).

Ohio State had a bye week last week after beating Notre Dame 17-14 two weeks ago. At his weekly press conference on Tuesday, OSU coach Ryan Day said he has kind of a divided opinion on having the bye week immediately after a big win.

“We gave the guys a little bit of time to clear their minds, their bodies, their souls because it’s going to be a heck of a run here the next couple months,” he said.

“There’s a part of me that like a little mental break and physical break. But part of me wants to just keep playing and continue building momentum,” he said. “We’re 4-0 but there are all kinds of areas where we need to get better.”

Ohio State is 8-0 against Maryland since the Terrapins entered the Big Ten in 2014. Last season, OSU won 43-30 but it was a three-point game until the Buckeyes scored 10 points on a field goal and a fumble recovery in the final 42 seconds.

Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa leads the Big Ten in passing yards (1,464) and touchdown passes (13). Last season he completed 26 of 36 for 293 yards and two touchdowns against Ohio State.

“Taulia has played a lot of football, he makes a lot of plays,” Day said. “They have a lot of weapons, they have weapons on offense. We saw that last year with what they did.”

Ohio State’s first-year starter at quarterback, Kyle McCord, led the first big game-winning drive of his college career in the final 1 minute, 26 seconds of OSU’s win over Notre Dame.

“Now you’re seeing what Kyle can do. Now the expectations are getting mounted up. That’s good. You’ve shown you can do it. OK, now let’s continue to do that and improve in these other areas. It does give confidence not only to me and and the coaching staff but also to the guys around him,” Day said.

“There were a lot of good things in the game, certainly finishing the way it happened. But now it’s on to Maryland. There are bigger challenges ahead, a lot of football ahead. He (McCord) has to grow, he’s got to get better in a lot of different areas just like everybody else. But it’s good to get that experience.”

Asked about his comments about former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz after the game against the Fighting Irish and the reaction to them, he said, “I don’t really want to get into that much today. I’m proud that we’re 2-0 against Notre Dame the last two years. I’m proud of the way our team played. I’m proud of the grit they showed.

“I can tell you the response I’ve gotten from Buckeye Nation, people around Columbus and our team has been remarkable. They just love the passion our team played with (against Notre Dame).”

Day also said wide receiver Marvin Harrison, who sprained his ankle early in the Notre Dame game but returned to the field, will be at full strength this week.

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