That sure was a fascinating game, huh? There were a lot of interesting backstories at play inside Byrd Stadium today: Perry Hills' uneasy but all-in-all effective return to game action after two years since his last competitive snap; Stefon Diggs and Will Likely's brilliant, game-changing plays; Andre Monroe's superb work against elite Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff; Brad Craddock setting a school record by making his 17th straight field goal; homecoming weekend going on at the university.
There's a lot to take stock of today. Most of it's good, though not all of it. A lot happened, so, please, go easy if you see an omission that really grinds your gears. But here's a shot at who's up, who's down and who's holding.
Blue-chippers: Stefon Diggs, Will Likely, Andre Monroe
It's time to recognize Monroe as one of the best ends in the Big Ten. He's got very strong numbers – 5.5 sacks now in seven games – and, as he showed today, can be a real terror even when he isn't racking up J.J. Watt numbers from his edge-rushing position. Monroe, all 5 feet 11 inches of him, got the better of highly-touted Iowa left tackle Brandon Scherff on Saturday, limiting Iowa's options on the ground and in the air. When he doesn't have pads on, Monroe doesn't look much like a star college football player. He isn't comparatively big and doesn't have outrageous measurables. But he's developed into a terrific asset for Randy Edsall's program. Just ask Scherff.
Growth stocks: Jacquille Veii, Darius Kilgo
Veii gets chunks of yardage practically every time he touches the football. He had two carries against Iowa: a 10-yarder and a 23-yard touchdown after he spun away from several tacklers and dashed through the Iowa back line. He's been in a fine run of form and should only see more touches going forward.
After the game, Edsall said he thought Kilgo was developing into a "force." He's right. Nose tackles aren't usually pass-rushers first and foremost, but Kilgo got into the Iowa backfield a lot. He's capable of occupying multiple blockers, and he's developed into a leader in Maryland's front seven. Like Monroe, he's a senior whose abilities have increased markedly over his time in College Park. He's also a genuinely good guy and a coaching staff favorite.
Penny stocks: Maryland's offensive line
We've criticized Maryland's offensive linemen a lot this season, and it's been justified. On Saturday, against a non-Ohio State-good but generally effective defensive line, Maryland's five men up front held up very well. Give them credit where it's due. Ryan Doyle was ravaged in the losses to Ohio State and West Virginia, but he capably handled his assignments against the Hawkeyes. Sal Conaboy had one bad snap to Brown, but he and guards Andrew Zeller and Silvano Altamirano controlled the interior at the line of scrimmage for most of the day. And after a tough start, Mike Dunn did well against Iowa end Drew Ott.
Polarizing investment: C.J. Brown
Brown gets a lot of heat for his bad throwing, and he didn't do anything to skirt that against Iowa. Maryland had him try to throw a lot of intermediate and deep balls, and he usually didn't do well on them. In total, he finished 12-of-23 for 120 yards and two interceptions. But we already knew throwing isn't Brown's strong suit, and his grip on his starting spot only tightened with Caleb Rowe's horribly unfair ACL tear.
(Speaking of ACL tears, good for Perry Hills for getting back on the field two years after suffering through his own. Hills wasn't all-and-all great, but he made some important plays in his return to the field during Brown's absence with a muscle injury.)
Blue-chipper: Deon Long
Long has been, and remains, a well-regarded talent at wide receiver. It's hard to say why he didn't have a single catch on Saturday. He wasn't targeted often, and when he was at his most open on a deep route during the first half, Brown airmailed the ball over his head. But his numbers this season aren't where they should be, and Maryland has yet to find a way to get him the ball in the way it has Diggs. There's still time for a rebound, and Long certainly has the skill to make one happen. For the moment, though Long has just over 300 yards and one touchdown in seven games. It's absolutely not all his fault, but production is production.
Penny stock: Nathan Renfro
No one thinks much of the punter, but Renfro had a tough day on Saturday, and the Terps paid for it in field position. By the end of the day, a couple of Iowa mishaps (interceptions, fumbles and muffed punts) and skewing factors (a recovered onside kick in Iowa territory) made the field position difference between the Terps and Hawkeyes look artificially small. Iowa, on average, started at its own 37-yard line and Maryland at its 33. Before some of that skew came into play, though, there was a 19-yard difference in average starting position at one point in the second half. That falls on the punter more than anybody. Renfro placed one out of nine punts inside Iowa's 20-yard line, compared to five out of nine for Iowa's two scholarship punters. Ultimately, Renfro's yardage average was almost identical to the Iowa punters, but that was misleading, again, because of field position. The Terps managed to be OK Saturday, but some improvement from Renfro would help them going forward.