Bring Down the House: Iowa vs. Maryland Preview

The Hawkeyes look to stay unbeaten at Kinnick Stadium on Halloween.

Jonathan House, Sports Editor

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In the midst of another crazy deadline week, I figured I would take a little bit of time to preview this week’s game against Maryland. Two weeks ago, I predicted that Iowa would win a close game on the road against Northwestern to start 7-0. Iowa won, but the score (40-10) surprised many, myself included. Following the bye week, the Hawkeyes are now ranked in the top 10 for the first time in over five years.

The Hawkeyes next game will be on Halloween. (The last time Halloween was on a Saturday, the Hawkeyes were undefeated, highly ranked, and played at home against a team they were favored against; the game was just closer than many expected.) Iowa will be going against a Maryland team that is 2-5 and 0-3 in the Big Ten. Maryland also is without its head coach, Randy Edsall, who was fired halfway through the season. Here are my three keys to the game.

  1. Stop Perry Hills. The Terps QB isn’t a big threat with his arm, he has a 53% completion percentage, and seven picks to only six touchdowns. (The Terps have, however, played three different quarterbacks this year.) He is Maryland’s second leading rusher with three touchdowns and over 400 yards. Iowa has sometimes struggled against running quarterbacks. However, if the Hawkeyes’ defense can force Hill to pass, look for them to create turnovers, and for Iowa to have an unscary Halloween.
  2. Force turnovers. Maryland is second to last in the country in turnover margin at -13. (The only team behind the Terps is 0-8 UCF at -15.) The Hawkeyes are tied for 12th in the country at +7. If they can force turnovers, and not turn the ball over themselves, expect a big win.
  3. Have a big day offensively, especially from CJ Beathard. Iowa has been able to run the ball, which it hopefully will be able to continue to do. However, fans have seen solid play from Iowa quarterback CJ Beathard, but I can’t really say that we’ve seen a ‘breakout performance’ from him. Maryland is 108th in the country in passing yards allowed, and has allowed 13.53 yards a completion. I wouldn’t be surprised for Iowa to take a few shots deep down the field early in the game to try and get after the Maryland secondary.

This looks like an easy win on paper, but with Iowa football, you never know what can happen. Every game is a good game when you are undefeated. Look for the Hawks to go 8-0 if they follow these keys. Iowa is a 17.5 point favorite coming in, expect it to cover.

Prediction: Iowa 38, Maryland 17