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Maryland football lost by 23 points, but didn’t even play Iowa that close

This game was even more lopsided than the final score indicates.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland football had a miserable trip to Kinnick Stadium Saturday, getting shut out for the first time since 2015 in a 23-0 loss to 19th-ranked Iowa. Maryland couldn’t do anything against a stingy Hawkeyes defense, and the game would’ve been a bigger blowout if not for the Terps’ own defensive efforts.

The Terps weren’t expected to win, but few expected Iowa to thoroughly dominate like it did.

Maryland was lucky it only lost 23-0.

When you take a look at the box score, this becomes much more apparent.

Maryland had only 115 yards of offense, its fifth-worst performance since 2000. The Terps’ 39 plays tie for their second-lowest in a game since 2000, according to Sports Reference. Maryland ran 39 plays against Navy in 2010, but won thanks to a goal-line stand on Navy’s final drive.

The Terps only held the ball for 19 minutes, allowing Iowa to swallow up the rest of the game with multiple long drives. The Hawkeyes’ shortest drive of the first half was eight plays, which was more than Maryland had in the entire first quarter. Maryland’s defense did its’ best version of bend but don’t break to limit the damage, holding Iowa to one touchdown in five red zone opportunities.

The Terps had a historically bad passing day.

Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome completed just 6 of 16 passes for 47 yards and an interception, which was Maryland’s worst passing day in a season filled with anemic performances. Only last year against Ohio State, when Maryland threw for 16 yards, have the Terps thrown for fewer yards this decade,

For the second time this season, Maryland also had as many completed passes as it had punts. That’s the fifth time that’s happened since 2000, and the fourth time since 2015. The Terps almost had as many penalty yards (46) as passing yards (47) too, which Sports Reference doesn’t track but probably hasn’t happened in a long time, if ever.

Maryland’s bad offense allowed Iowa to run the ball ... a lot.

With Maryland’s offense sputtering and its own quarterback struggling, Iowa went with a classic Big Ten approach to run out the clock. The Hawkeyes ran 52 times for 224 yards, and the Terps ran 39 plays total. It’s the first time a team has had more runs than Maryland has had plays since a 38-14 loss to Penn State in 2016, and the last time it happened before that was a 38-7 loss to Temple in 2011.

Ivory Kelly-Martin led the Hawkeyes with 98 yards on 24 carries, which was one more carry than the 23 the Terps had as a team.

This may not be the last Maryland gets dominated like this.

Iowa might be the best version of itself this season, but Maryland’s Big Ten East schedule means stiffer challenges await. It’s easy to imagine Michigan State shutting down Maryland’s one-dimensional offense and then grinding out a victory on the ground like last season. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions both have weaknesses on defense, but their front sevens can overpower the Terps as well. Those teams also have more playmakers than both Iowa and Michigan State, which could wreak havoc on a tired Maryland defense. The Terps were outscored 145-24 combined by Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State last year, and Saturday’s pathetic offensive performance suggests similar results could be coming.