The Maryland Terrapins are heading into what could be the hardest game left on their schedule when they take on Iowa this Saturday. S&P+ gives Maryland an 8 percent chance to beat the Hawkeyes, the worst odds of any matchup left on the Terps' slate this season.
After losing to Maryland at Byrd Stadium last year, Iowa has become one of the best teams in the Big Ten this season, riding an admittedly easy schedule to an undefeated record and a shot at making the College Football Playoff. Here are three things to look for in Saturday's game:
Iowa is going to complete at least five passes of more than 30 yards
Maryland's pass defense was pitiful against Pen State, allowing Christian Hackenberg to complete five passes of over 30 yards, and allowing three passing touchdowns of 20 yards or more. The Hawkeyes come into the game with the most 40-plus-yard plays in the Big Ten, and the 11th-most in the entire country. Unless the Terps have made some major improvements in their secondary, they could be in for another long play on defense.
Brad Craddock is going to make at least three field goals
After not getting a field goal opportunity for six weeks, Brad Craddock finally got to attempt three last week against Penn State. Even though he missed one in that contest, Craddock is still one of the best kickers in the country and should be all but automatic from here on out. Iowa's defense is 17th in the nation in defensive points allowed inside its own 40 yard line, so Maryland could have a very tough time getting into the end zone against the Hawkeyes. That'll mean more opportunitites for Craddock.
Maryland's running backs will average less than 4 yards per carry
The Hawkeyes have a stout run defense, ranking sixth in the country in defensive rushing S&P+. Opposing rushers only average 2.5 yards per carry against them, so it should be tough slogging through the trenches for the Terps. Maryland running backs Brandon Ross, Wes Brown and Ty Johnson are averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season . One of those units is going to outperform the other, and since Iowa will probably be stacking the box with eight defenders, I'm betting on the Hawkeyes.