Maryland lost another game Saturday, this time dropping a 31-15 result to No. 10 Iowa. That's not exactly shocking. The Terps have lost six games so far, and they'll lose more before the season is over.
Iowa is a good team, and this result wasn't too surprising. As always, here's a non-exhaustive list of what was good and what was bad, and what was somewhere in the middle:
Yannick Ngakoue, defensive end. Maryland's junior pass-rusher got into the backfield on several plays and registered his 10th sack of the season in the second quarter. He was a bright spot on a not-bad day for the Terps' defense, finishing with three tackles and 1.5 sacks.. His performance wasn't quite equal to his output last week against Penn State, but Ngakoue is definitely boosting his draft stock this season.
Will Likely, cornerback/kick returner. He provided a huge spark in the fourth quarter with a 100-yard kick return touchdown. Likely's been bottled up in the return game recently, but thanks in part to a block by Ty Johnson, he put the team within a two-score deficit of the No. 10 team in the country. His name wasn't mentioned often as a defensive back, which is usually a good thing.
Maryland's secondary. After getting torched by Christian Hackenberg to the tune of 315 passing yards last week, the Terps held Iowa's C.J. Beathard to 183 yards through the air, and the longest completion they gave up was for 26 yards. Alvin Hill had an especially great play in the third quarter when he ripped the ball away from an Iowa receiver who was clearly going to come down with it.
Mike Locksley, interim head coach. His decision-making wasn't bad during the game, but his decision to punt the ball on fourth down-and-four down 31-15 with four minutes left was truly mind-boggling. That call essentially ended the game, because Iowa didn't give the Terps the ball back until there was under three minutes left (and then Locksley basically did the same thing again). That decision doesn't really jive with Locksley's "fun" mentality that he's been trying to instill in the team. It was surrender.
Maryland's passing offense. Perry Hills couldn't get anything going through the air, finishing 11-for-22 with an anemic 74 yards passing. Iowa, meanwhile, had 74 yards passing in the first quarter. The redshirt junior threw two interceptions, one of which was tipped at the line, while the other was significantly overthrown into double coverage. Hills's limited arm strength was on display, as he had zero completions longer than 14 yards. In a familiar story, Maryland's offense was extremely stagnant, scoring in the fourth quarter with some help from a couple Hawkeye penalties.
Maryland's running backs. Iowa is sixth in the country in defensive rushing S&P+, so the fact that the Terps struggled here isn't surprising. An early Brandon Ross fumble extinguished any momentum the team had, and except for a brief periods in the third and fourth quarters when Ross and Hills traded 10-plus yard rushes, the Terps couldn't get anything going against the Hawkeyes' talented front seven. Ross and Wes Brown combined for 64 yards on the ground, while Hills once again led the team in rushing yards with 104. Locksley tried putting in Will Likely in on offense again, but he was stopped on his only carry for a loss of 2 yards.