Five things we learned from Maryland's 62-14 defeat to Ohio State

It's not Groundhog Day, though for many Maryland fans it must feel that way after Saturday's 62-14 defeat at No. 10 Ohio State.

Another blowout loss to the Buckeyes, similar to last year's 62-3 debacle in College Park.


Another quarterback injury, with sophomore Max Bortenschlager becoming the third to leave a game for Maryland this season.

Here are five things we learned from what transpired at The Horseshoe.


1. The Terps have not closed the gap with the elite teams in the Big Ten East.

After getting crushed by a combined 159-20 by Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State a year ago, there was some hope that the Terps would take a step toward being more competitive this year in what is the toughest division in college football.

They did take a step, but it was in the wrong direction.

Given all the confidence Maryland seemed to build from last week's 31-24 win at Minnesota, the Terps wanted to show much they had improved from last year. Having to play catch-up from the start — the Buckeyes went up 14-0 quickly — it was too much to overcome.

While there was a stretch of about 10 minutes when Maryland made things more competitive with a 100-yard kickoff return by Ty Johnson, as well as a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery by Chandler Burkett, any thought of a comeback was snuffed in a hurry.

Ohio State's defensive line had something to do with it, as did quarterback J.T. Barrett.

But the Terps had just as much to do with it, with the offensive line failing to protect sophomore quarterback Max Bortenschlager and the defense giving up too many big plays, especially in third-and-long situations.

2. As happened so often under former coach Randy Edsall, DJ Durkin doesn't have enough quarterbacks.


Even after sophomore quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome's season ended with a torn ACL in the third quarter of a season-opening win at Texas, the Terps seemed to be in good shape at the position with freshman Kasim Hill.

As unfortunate as the injury was for Pigrome after an impressive performance against the Longhorns, many figured that Hill would finally give Maryland the kind of elite quarterback the Terps haven't had in decades.

That dream was short-lived. After Hill's season ended with a torn ACL against Central Florida, Durkin and offensive coordinator Walt Bell turned to Bortenschlager. And now, after Bortenschlager left Saturday's game, the Terps might be turning to redshirt junior Caleb Henderson.

Bortenschlager played well against Minnesota, but the Buckeyes exposed his deficiencies before knocking him out of the game on a late hit in the third quarter. If Bortenschlager doesn't get through concussion protocol, Henderson will likely get his first start against Northwestern.

Before Hill signed last February, many thought Henderson would be the starter this year after transferring from North Carolina. The former four-star prospect appeared a bit tentative after coming in for Bortenschlager, and now could get a week of preparing with the first-team offense.

If this didn't seem like 2012 all over again before Saturday's game, it certainly does now.


That was the year the Terps lost C.J. Brown in the preseason because of a torn ACL, then lost three others before turning to converted linebacker Shawn Petty for the last four games. Right now, the only healthy quarterbacks are Henderson, redshirt sophomore Ryan Brand and freshman Legend Brumbaugh.

At least the Terps have one legendary quarterback.

3. Javon Leake is going to be a beast.

There was some debate about whether Durkin was going to redshirt the freshman running back or give him another chance after Leake showed his speed down the sideline with a 61-yard touchdown against Towson.

Durkin's decision to put Leake in for garbage time in Columbus, Ohio, burned his redshirt, but Leake's 20-yard touchdown run was one of the few bright spots in a disheartening loss. Now with the redshirt possibility gone, the Terps will have to use Leake.

It will be interesting to see if Leake now starts getting some regular carries so that the Terps can take advantage his combination of speed and strength as he showed against the Buckeyes, albeit against their second team.


4. Shane Cockerille (Gilman) might be running out of chances.

While his absence on the field Saturday for undisclosed reasons didn't impact the outcome much, Cockerille's college career appears to be hanging by a thread. Based on comments he made about the senior linebacker from Baltimore, Durkin could be ready to move on.

Cockerille, who was suspended for undisclosed reasons before last season's bowl game and didn't regain full-time status until right before the Texas game, didn't make the trip to Columbus for "disciplinary" reasons, according to The Washington Post.

Since Durkin said last month that Cockerille still had to continue to show that he was serious about following team rules on and off the field despite his reinstatement, this latest misstep is not going to be taken lightly.

This could also open the door for sophomore Isaiah Davis, Sean's little brother, to take over at linebacker.

5. Saturday's game against Northwestern might be a must-win.


Though Durkin never puts that kind of significance on any single game, it's clear that the Terps could quickly put Saturday's loss at Ohio Stadium behind them by beating the Wildcats at home.

Northwestern (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) will be coming to College Park on a two-game losing streak, and without redshirt freshman linebacker Paddy Fisher, the team's leading tackler, for the first half at Maryland Stadium.

Fisher was ejected from Saturday's 31-7 home loss to No. 4 Penn State after a targeting call. Given that Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald had taken Fisher off the field earlier after a penalty, he might be a little tentative against the Terps.

Maryland's schedule after Northwestern — including road games at Wisconsin and Michigan State, and home games against Michigan and Penn State — makes any game where the Terps are given the slightest of chances a must-win for them to make a bowl game as they did in Durkin's first season.