COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland coach Randy Edsall is trying hard to sell his players on the notion that they'll be playing just another game on Saturday.
The ticket sales suggest otherwise.
A sellout crowd will be on hand for the Terrapins' inaugural Big Ten home game, against No. 20 Ohio State. If there was any doubt by Maryland bolted from the Atlantic Coast Conference, the evidence will be on full display at rocking Byrd Stadium for the noon kickoff.
It's the first sellout at Maryland since Nov. 22, 2008, against Florida State.
Although the historical aspect of this game is noteworthy, Maryland (4-1, 1-0) is more interested in getting the best of the Buckeyes (3-1, 0-0), who have won 16 straight Big Ten games and the same number of successive league openers.
"I understand all the significance of it," Edsall said. "But this game gives us the opportunity to get to 5-1 and gets us the opportunity to be 2-0 in the league. We know Ohio State is a very good team and we need to play well. All the surroundings of the game, we leave that up to our operations people. What we need to do as a football team is focus on who Ohio State is."
The Buckeyes are the biggest challenge the Terrapins have faced this year. Although Ohio State lost quarterback Braxton Miller in the preseason to a shoulder injury, the Buckeyes still have a formidable offense, as evidenced by their 50-point, 700-yard performance last week against Cincinnati.
Ohio State is used to playing in a hostile environment, but this will be a unique experience.
"I know it's what we're going to walk into," coach Urban Meyer said. "I've never been to this stadium. But I imagine they've been working on this one for a while. This will be a big time atmosphere."
Regardless of what Edsall contends.
"We're taking the same steps we do every week, we're not changing anything," Maryland offensive lineman Michael Dunn said. "As coach Edsall said, it's just any other game to us."
Some things to know about Ohio State vs. Maryland:
QUARTERBACK QUANDRY: Maryland starting quarterback C.J. Brown left last week's 37-15 win over Indiana with a sprained left wrist, and his status for Saturday is in doubt. If he can't go, junior Caleb Rowe will take over an offense that averages 417 yards per game. "Really, we're not expecting there to be any drop off," Terps running back Brandon Ross said. Ohio State, on the other hand, has been relying on redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett at quarterback, who has improved steadily since making his debut in the opener against Navy.
PASSING FANCY: The Buckeyes won by 22 points last week, but the defense was burned for four touchdowns by the Bearcats, three of them on passes in excess of 60 yards. Now OSU goes up against talented receivers Stefon Diggs, Marcus Leak and Deon Long. "We've got to get it fixed," Meyer said of his pass defense. "It's a combination of coaching and playing."
RANKED STATS: Meyer is 22-1 against unranked teams since arriving at Ohio State. Edsall is 1-24 in his career against ranked teams, including 0-8 at Maryland. The Terps have dropped 12 of their last 13 against ranked teams, the exception as 38-31 win over North Carolina State in 2010.
COLE HAS SOUL: Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors after recording 11 solo tackles and eight assists against Indiana. "Cole Farrand is an awesome guy. I'm just so proud of him," Terps defensive tackle Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil said. "I just can't say enough. He really works hard, and you can see it in practice running to the ball. I wasn't surprised he had 19 tackles last week."
RETURN TRIP: This is the second time this year the Buckeyes have come to Maryland for a game. They opened in Baltimore — a so-called neutral site — with a win over Navy. This one will be different, however, because Ohio State will be at the home of the Terrapins. "It's going to be a challenge to go over there and take it on the road," Buckeyes offensive line coach Ed Warinner said, noting that Ohio State will be going up against "a veteran group that's going to try to play hard and try to get after us in their first Big Ten game."