COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Ohio State seems to be getting into a rut — the good kind that can lead to championships. J.T. Barrett accounted for four touchdowns, Curtis Samuel scored three TDs and the sixth-ranked Buckeyes enjoyed another 62-3 rout — this time, against Maryland on Saturday.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Ohio State seems to be getting into a rut — the good kind that can lead to championships.
J.T. Barrett accounted for four touchdowns, Curtis Samuel scored three TDs and the sixth-ranked Buckeyes enjoyed another 62-3 rout — this time, against Maryland on Saturday.
After beating then-No. 10 Nebraska by the identical score last week, Ohio State poured it on against the Terrapins, going up 21-3 after the first quarter and 45-3 at halftime.
"It's just that time of year where you're getting closer to the playoffs and championship games," Samuel said. "We know we've got to step it up. We've got to come out here every day and give it our all, put up numbers."
Unlike last week, this blowout was no surprise because it came against a struggling team with quarterback issues and a porous defense. But playing well in November is what counts, no matter the level of the competition.
"That's where you really hang your hat on for the season," Barrett said. "We try to do our best in those games."
Ohio State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten, No. 5 CFP) has won three straight to remain in contention for the Big Ten title and, more importantly, a berth in the College Football Playoff.
"We know exactly what's coming down the road," coach Urban Meyer said.
Maryland (5-5, 2-5) lost 59-3 to Michigan last week and has allowed 163 points during a three-game losing streak.
"Back to back weeks when the game got away from us early," coach DJ Durkin lamented. "Obviously, the level of competition the past couple weeks factors in, but we've kind of lost our way ourselves."
With Barrett and Samuel leading the way, the Buckeyes eliminated any potential drama by scoring touchdowns on three of their four possessions in the first quarter.
Samuel got things started with a 2-yard touchdown run. Barrett then took it in from 4 and added a 36-yard TD pass to Samuel.
In between, the Buckeyes punted for the first time two weeks. Also, backup quarterback Caleb Rowe led the Terps to a field goal. But even that was disappointing because Maryland failed to get into the end zone after a 37-yard completion produced a first down at the Ohio State 3.
Rowe took over for Perry Hills, who was injured at the end of Maryland's second drive. Rowe proved ineffective and was replaced in the second half by true freshman Tyrrell Pigrome.
Barrett made it 28-3 with a 1-yard run early in the second quarter and Samuel got his third touchdown around right end from the 5.
Meyer replaced Barrett during a third-quarter drive that ended with a TD for a 55-3 lead. Barrett ran for two touchdowns, threw two scoring passes and finished 18 for 27 for 253 yards.
Samuel ran for 38 yards and caught five passes for 74 yards. Freshman Mike Weber carried 12 times for 93 yards.
This blowout victory , combined with No. 3 Clemson losing to Pittsburgh, should boost the Buckeyes up a notch or two in both the AP poll and the CFP.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes are gaining momentum heading into the most important part of the season. The offense has been unstoppable over the past two weeks and the defense limited Maryland to 176 yards and 10 first downs. With one defeat, Ohio State can't afford to slip up as it heads toward a Nov. 26 showdown with No. 2 Michigan, the undefeated East Division leader.
Maryland: After opening 4-0, the Terrapins are now a .500 team still in search of the sixth win needed to become bowl eligible. Maryland can't seem to keep Hills healthy and has come unglued defensively this month.
The Terrapins announced the suspension of three players before the game, including running back Lorenzo Harrison, who leads the team with five rushing touchdowns.
Ohio State travels to Michigan State, which whipped Rutgers 49-0 Saturday. It's the Buckeyes' final tuneup before the regular-season finale at home against Michigan.
Maryland faces Nebraska on the road in a matchup of the Buckeyes' last two victims.