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Terps

Three takeaways from Maryland football’s 43-30 loss to No. 2 Ohio State

After Maryland football’s 43-30 loss to No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday afternoon, the Terps have now lost 31 straight games against Big Ten Conference opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

From senior wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. having his best game of the season to Maryland struggling in the third quarter, here are three takeaways from the Terps’ third straight loss.

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Dontay Demus Jr. returned to form

In front of several NFL scouts, Demus had his best game since returning from a season-ending knee injury.

The Washington native caught five passes for 67 yards, showcasing the speed to get past defenders and make big plays downfield. During Maryland’s 14-play, 75-yard scoring drive in the second quarter, quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa connected with Demus for a 9-yard completion on third-and-8. Two plays later, Tagovailoa threw a 34-yard pass to Demus, which helped set up a touchdown catch by sophomore tight end CJ Dippre that gave the Terps a 13-10 lead with four minutes left.

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Maryland coach Mike Locksley said Demus, who averaged 13.4 yards per catch against the Buckeyes, is still recovering from the injury he suffered last season against Iowa. But on Saturday, he thought the 6-4, 215-pound senior used his size as an advantage and made big catches.

“Everyone knows [Demus] is a competitor,” Locksley said. “The offensive line gave us the pocket we needed for [Tagovailoa] to make the throws and Dontay made the plays.”

Tagovailoa, who completed 26 of 36 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns, said he was happy to see Demus make plays. Even though Maryland’s star receiver has not had the season many expected, Tagovailoa said Demus’ confidence has remained high.

“He always believes in himself,” said Tagovailoa, a redshirt junior. “I’m happy that he did a great job [at] making plays when his number was called.”

Ohio State cornerback Denzel Burke tackles Maryland wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. during Saturday's game in College Park. Demus caught five passes for 67 yards in his best game of the season.

Maryland’s third-quarter fallout

In the first half, Maryland did the unthinkable. The Terps went into the locker room with a 13-10 lead thanks to Tagovailoa’s efficient start and a defense that was able to contain Heisman Trophy candidate CJ Stroud and the Buckeyes’ high-scoring offense.

When the Terps had a chance to inch closer to making history, they completely fell apart in the third quarter. On Maryland’s first drive of the quarter, Ohio State forced a three-and-out before cornerback Lathan Ransom blocked a punt. Two plays later, running back Dallan Hayden scored an 8-yard touchdown for a 17-13 lead.

Maryland punted on three straight drives to open the second half, while Ohio State scored 17 consecutive points and outgained the Terps 125-45. Hayden rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, as the Buckeyes averaged 6 yards per play.

Hayden, who finished with 146 rushing yards and three touchdowns, totaled 143 yards on the ground in the second half alone. When Locksley was asked about Hayden’s performance, he said the Terps’ missed tackles hurt them.

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“Our defense did a good job [at] competing, but [that was] the difference,” Locksley said. “We got to make those plays.”

Ohio State running back Dallan Hayden scores a touchdown past Maryland defensive back Deonte Banks, right, and others during the second half of Saturday's game in College Park.

Jakorian Bennett builds on strong season

Five days after Bennett accepted an invitation to the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl, the premier scouting showcase for the NFL draft, the senior defensive back continued to show his pro potential. Bennett totaled three tackles and a pass breakup and returned a blocked extra point attempt 80 yards for two points to cut Ohio State’s lead to 33-23 in the fourth quarter.

Bennett’s pass breakup in the first quarter gave him 11 on the season and 27 over the last two years, the most of any player in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Bennett and the rest of the secondary had a tough task at containing the Buckeyes’ wide receiver group that featured star Marvin Harrison Jr., who had five catches for 68 yards.

At times, Bennett went toe-to-toe with one of the nation’s best wideouts, holding Harrison to one reception for 7 yards on four targets, according to Pro Football Focus. Bennett also held wide receiver Emeka Egbuka (six catches for 82 yards) to one reception for 8 yards on two targets.

Rutgers at Maryland

Saturday, noon

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TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: 105.7 FM


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