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Three Takeaways from Maryland’s Heartbreaking Loss to Ohio State

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Maryland falls to No. 10 Ohio State 52-51 in overtime in their home finale. If anyone had said that Maryland would score 51 points against Ohio State, Penn State, or anyone including Alabama, one it would not be believable and two it would have been certain a Maryland win. However, that was not the case for the Terrapins, who had their opportunities to put the game away and unfortunately failed to ultimately losing a heartbreaker in overtime.

Quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome missed a wide open wide receiver Jeshaun Jones in the end zone of a two-point conversion that would have won the game in overtime had Pigrome connected. Unfortunately, it did not and the Terrapins fall to 5-6 overall and 3-5 in Big Ten play. Meanwhile, Ohio State survives an unsuspecting scare from the embattled Terps.

Here’s some takeaways from the near upset.

1. It’s Still Definitely a Moral Win for Maryland
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It’s okay not to believe in moral wins, but again Maryland hung 51 points on Ohio State and took them into overtime in the process. After the roller coaster of a season Maryland’s program has gone through with the death of Jordan McNair, the fallout afterwards that led to the dismissal of three prominent members of the training staff and head coach DJ Durkin being placed on administrative leave and then ultimately fired, this game was an accomplishment in itself.

After a loss to Indiana in which saw Maryland lose starting quarterback Kasim Hill to a torn ACL for the second straight season, any hope of becoming bowl eligible was thought to be greatly diminished with the Buckeyes and a trip to Penn State left on the schedule. However, Maryland had other thoughts, jumping out to a 17-3 lead early.

While Ohio State came back to win, Maryland had shown fight. The 51 points and back-and-forth contest that became a thriller was evidence. Maryland squandered the game ultimately, but considering all the factors and the expectations of this game, the Terrapins certainly gained a moral win in the process.

2. Maryland Definitely Should Have Pulled off the Upset
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Maryland answered the bell throughout the game. When Ohio State roared back tying the game at 31-31, the Terrapins marched 83 yards to regain the lead at 38-31. When Ohio State tied the game again at 38-38, instead of pulling back, Maryland fired ahead, going 81 yards for a touchdown with 1:41 remaining in the game to regain the lead at 45-38.

However, a 42-yard kickoff return led by a defensive holding penalty near the end zone, gave the Buckeyes another chance to tie, which they did with 40 seconds remaining.

Even then Maryland’s offense marched down to the Buckeyes’ 38-yard line but a sack and fumble on Pigrome with three seconds remaining killed any chance of the Terrapins stealing the game in regulation.

After Ohio State a scored a touchdown in the first possession of overtime, Maryland’s freshman running back Anthony McFarland ripped a 24-yard gain down to the one-yard line on the first play of Maryland’s overtime possession. They scored on the next snap before interim coach Matt Canada opted for the fateful two-point conversion.

Even on the two-point conversion, Jones was wide open, Pigrome was just off. Jones should have been celebrating on the ground with the game-winning catch instead of him being face-planted in agony.

Maryland had their shots just could not pull it off. And while it’s a moral victory in itself, they may be forced to look back at the moments missed in the game for the reasons they won’t be bowl eligible this season.

3. Anthony McFarland Shows Maryland’s Future Still is Bright
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At one point Ty Johnson was the Maryland offense. That’s no longer the case as McFarland has exploded on the scene in his first playing season in College Park. McFarland rushed for a collegiate career-high 298 yards — against Ohio State.

On the second play from scrimmage, McFarland broke an 81-yard touchdown run down the sideline. Two touches later, he broke a 75-yard run to the end zone that gave Maryland an 14-3 first quarter lead.

He displayed his home-run speed averaging 14.2 yards per rush. He would have had a third touchdown but he fumbled at the goal line. Luckily for him a teammate recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. He also broke open a 24-yarder on the first play of Maryland’s overtime drive.

The near 300 yards pushes the redshirt freshman to 1,022 rushing yards on the season and an 8.2 yards per carry average. A star was born even in a loss. His performance along with a set of other big plays shows how fast Maryland is and how the future is still bright despite the circumstances surrounding the program.

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