COLUMBUS, Ohio — Maryland football coach DJ Durkin ran down the sideline and pumped his fist after Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman shanked a second-quarter kick 22 yards, giving the Terps an opportunity to chip into their 20-7 deficit.
It was one of several momentum-shifting plays that went Maryland's way over the first 30 minutes Saturday in Columbus. The Terps also blocked a field goal, forced a fumble and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
But a year after losing to Ohio State by 59 points, none of that mattered.
The Terps offense gained just 66 yards, failing to reward the defense and special teams for their early effort in a 62-14 loss.
"It sucks not being able to capitalize on a turnover on defense or special teams," running back Ty Johnson said. "Their defense came into the game and did what they needed to do. … We're going to put this behind us."
Maryland's offense was ineffective from the get-go.
Offensive coordinator Walt Bell called a flea flicker on the first play, but instead of connecting on a deep pass, quarterback Max Bortenschlager held onto the ball and went down for the first of his four sacks. Bortenschlager fumbled on the third play of the drive, and the Buckeyes scooped up the ball and returned it for a touchdown.
Bortenschlager went 3-for-12 through the air and committed two turnovers. His day ended with an apparent head injury in the third quarter.
But the Terps, who have discussed handling adversity throughout the season, didn't buckle after a quick 14-0 deficit. Johnson returned a kickoff down the left sideline for his first-ever special teams score. Defensive lineman Chandler Burkett blocked a kick. Cornerback Josh Woods forced a fumble.
Maryland (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) only folded after its offense failed to capitalize on Chrisman's errant punt, which gave the unit possession at Ohio State's 36-yard line. Buckeyes linebacker Jerome Baker reached Bortenschlager unimpeded with a blitz on fourth down, forcing a drive-ending fumble.
The Buckeyes (5-1, 3-0) scored touchdowns on their next three possessions, taking a 41-7 halftime lead. Their advantage ballooned in the second half, as Maryland followed its 26-yard first half with a 40-yard second.
"We left a lot of plays out there on the field," Woods said. "That's all there is to it."
Late in the fourth quarter, the Terps took over at the Ohio State 27-yard line following a fumble recovery by cornerback J.C. Jackson. Running back Javon Leake carried for a 20-yard touchdown.
But even after he crossed the goal line, Maryland trailed by 48, marking the program's fourth blowout defeat against the Buckeyes in as many years.
While Durkin didn't believe there was the kind of second half effort drop-off he bemoaned following the Terps' 38-10 loss to Central Florida two weeks earlier, he expressed post-game frustration.
His players were seemingly poised to take a step forward this year after a road victory at Minnesota, but the performance against Ohio State indicated they remain far from the top of the Big Ten.
"We didn't play well as a team," Durkin said. "When the offense needed to pick up the defense, they didn't. When the defense needed to pick up the offense, they didn't. We were out of sync."
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story incorrectly stated Maryland was 1-2 in the Big Ten. It's record is 1-1. This story has been updated.