Going into Saturday’s game against Iowa, Maryland football hadn’t beaten a ranked conference opponent on the road since 2008, when the program was part of the ACC. That losing streak continued with a 23-0 loss to the No. 19 Hawkeyes.
With winds gusting up to 45 mph in Iowa City, it wasn’t going to be an easy day for either offense. Maryland was completely silenced, gaining just 115 yards all game. The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, made the most of their opportunities, totaling 224 yards on the ground and 310 in total.
It wasn’t a dominating performance by Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley, who had 10 touchdowns in the last two weeks, who’d finish 11-of-22 for 86 yards a touchdown and an interception. Instead, running back Ivory Kelly-Martin punished the Terps on the ground, to the tune of 23 carries for 98 yards.
With a 10-yard run late in the third quarter, running back Ty Johnson passed Stefon Diggs for third on Maryland’s career all-purpose yards list after crossing the 4,000-yard threshold last week. He’d finish with 59 total yards, pushing him up to 4,155 yards. Maryland ran just 39 offensive plays, and the numbers weren’t pretty. Kasim Hill went 6-of-15 for 47 yards with an interception, and the Terps ran for just 68 yards on 23 attempts.
Iowa opened the game by marching down the field with seven straight runs before turning the ball over. The Hawkeyes marched down to Maryland’s 16-yard line before linebacker Tre Watson snatched the ball out of the air on Stanley’s first pass of the day. Maryland couldn’t capitalize, picking up one first down before punting it away.
The Hawkeyes started to string plays together on their second drive, methodically picking the up chunk yardage. The Hawkeyes would close out the drive with a score, but the Terps were able to keep Iowa out the end zone. The first quarter ended after an Iowa field goal, following a nine-minute, 17-play, 72-yard drive. The Hawkeyes doubled their lead with an 11-play drive that would also end in a field goal.
Right when it appeared Maryland was putting together a coherent drive, disaster struck. The Terps were mixing in the run and pass for its best drive of the afternoon, when Amani Hooker read Hill’s eyes for the interception. The interception set up one last Iowa drive before halftime, and the Hawkeyes made the most of it. Maryland had a shot to get a stop on third-and-9, but Stanley dropped back before plowing ahead for the first down on the draw. Unlike at the end of the first, Maryland’s defense would break in the red zone. A roughing the passer penalty moved Iowa closer, before Stanley found Brandon Smith for the score. The Terps went into the locker room down 13-0.
The first-half stat line shows a stark comparison between one team getting whatever it wanted and one that couldn’t get anything at all. Iowa controlled the ball for 22:49 compared to just 7:11 for Maryland. The Hawkeyes turned those possessions into 205 yards, including 137 rushing yards, to just 46 total yards for the Terps.
Maryland went three-and-out and lost eight yards to start the second half, but even then things could have been worse after Hill was blindsided and an incomplete pass could have easily been a fumble. Iowa followed the punt with another lengthy drive that would end in a field goal. A couple drives later, the Hawkeyes recovered a fumble for a touchdown after quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome ran into Brian Cobbs on a jet sweep option, lost the ball and kicked it into the end zone to extend the deficit to 23 points.
The fourth quarter would prove uneventful, as the status quo held. The Hawkeyes put in backup freshman quarterback Peyton Mansell to finish out the game, and he’d convert a fourth down to keep a drive alive and kill more clock. Iowa converted 3 of 4 fourth downs on the day.
Maryland’s back in College Park next weekend, when Illinois comes to town. That contest will kick off at 3:30 ET on BTN.
Three things to know
1. Maryland couldn’t string together any drives. Teams already know that the Terps are a run-first offense, and Iowa was able to shut them down. Maryland strung together just one drive of eight plays or more, and only two went for more than 20 yards. By comparison, Iowa had six drives of more than eight plays, each going for at least 40 yards. Maryland’s longest play from scrimmage came on a 19-yard Anthony McFarland run in the fourth.
2. Maryland lost the turnover battle. The Terps entered this contest with the highest turnover differential in the conference, but lost the turnover battle for the day. Both teams notched an interception, but Maryland’s fumble recovered in the end zone made the difference. The Terps would have needed a lot more than to simply win this department, though.
3. Iowa dominated time of possession. While time of possession is sometimes a deceiving stat, it tells a pretty complete story for this game. It seemed like Iowa had the ball all day, as their defense kept Maryland off the field. By the time the final whistle sounded, Iowa had the ball for 40:55 to the Terps’ 19:05.