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Oct. 8—COLUMBUS — Ohio State's opponent Saturday, Maryland, has become more of a factor in recruiting since Mike Locksley took over as the Terrapins' coach in 2019.
It hasn't translated into a lot of success on the field yet. But Maryland's 2020 and 2021 football recruiting classes each included a 5-star recruit and a total of six 4-star recruits have signed with the Terrapins the last two years.
Maryland has also become more competitive in another area. But that competition is all about screen size and pixels, not prospects.
The newly installed video board at Maryland Stadium is the biggest in the Big Ten and the ninth-biggest in college football at 120 by 54 feet (6,532 square feet).
It's so large the students could almost watch the second half of the Terrapins' blowout losses on it from their dorms.
The Big Ten has eight of the 25 biggest college football stadium video boards in the country by square feet.
Michigan State's 114 by 47 feet board is the second biggest in the Big Ten, followed by Ohio State (124 by 42), Minnesota (108 by 48), Wisconsin (101 by 42), Michigan (85 by 47), Nebraska (117.6 by 33.6) and Iowa (122 by 31).
The biggest video board in college football is in Oregon's Autzen Stadium. It is 186 by 66 feet.
The final tally on the scoreboards in Ohio State's games against Maryland since the former ACC school joined the Big Ten in 2014 have shown decisive OSU victories, with one exception.
Ohio State is 6-0 against the Terrapins since 2014. The Buckeyes won five of those games by 59 points, 59 points, 48 points, 28 points and 21 points.
But in 2018, OSU had to go to overtime to get a 52-51 win in a game that ended with Maryland's quarterback missing a wide open receiver in the end zone with a two-point conversion pass that would have given the Terrapins an upset win.
Maryland hasn't had a winning season since 2014 but was feeling pretty good about itself when it started this season 4-0 with wins over West Virginia, Howard, Illinois and Kent State.
But a 51-14 loss to Iowa last Friday was a gut punch in more than one way.
In addition to losing the game, the Terrapins lost their leading receiver, Dontay Demus, to a season-ending knee injury.
And quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa's confidence might have been shaken by throwing five interceptions against the Hawkeyes after having only one in Maryland's first four games. Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Miami Dolphins' quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, has completed 72 percent of his passes for 1,467 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
Today's game matches a team playing with the most confidence it has had this season against a team that might be questioning itself for the first time all season.
Ohio State's 52-13 domination of Rutgers last Saturday might have shown that the Buckeyes are headed in the right direction but it was what teams like Ohio State are supposed to do against teams like Rutgers.
OSU is playing better than it was a month ago but the jury is still out if it is a team that can win a fifth consecutive Big Ten championship and maybe more.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud (17 of 23 for 330 yards, 5 touchdowns) showed what he can do when healthy against Rutgers. OSU's big three receivers — Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba — plus tight end Jeremy Ruckert combined for 14 catches and four touchdowns.
And, other than a 75-yard touchdown pass in the first half and a touchdown with five minutes left in the game, Ohio State's defense was solid.
Maryland should be a bigger challenge than Rutgers. It is a team that can score some points. Ohio State has given up quite a few points. But talent usually wins out in the end and OSU has more.
The prediction: Ohio State 42, Maryland 20.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.