The Maryland Terrapins are coming off of a nail biter, losing to the Penn State Nittany Lions 31-30. They looked like a much better team in the loss but now they face an undefeated and ranked Iowa Hawkeyes team looking to get payback. Here are the three most important matchups to look for:
#1. Maryland's running game vs Iowa's running defense
Maryland ran the ball pretty well against Penn State last week and put up 241 yards, 2 touchdowns and 5 yards per carry. Perry Hills was the leading rusher with 128 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Iowa is third in the NCAA in rushing defense only allowing 74.1 yards per game and 2.5 yards per rush. While their defense is stout in this area, that won't prevent the Terps from challenging the Hawkeyes.
Perry Hills has had back to back 100-yard rushing games and that new wrinkle the Terps have put in the offense has helped them stay competitive the last two weeks. This time around, the Terps need to make sure that their running game is a part of a winning formula.
#2. Maryland's rush defense vs Iowa's depleted backfield
Maryland's ability to stop the run has been so so over the last three games. They gave up 198 rushing yards to Michigan, 182 rushing yards to Ohio State and 48 yards to Penn State. According to donbest.com, Iowa will be without leading rusher Jordan Canzeri (136 carries, 698 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns), who has an ankle injury, and possibly LeShun Daniels Jr., who also has an ankle injury but has been upgraded to probable. Advantage Maryland? I say wait and see.
#3. Maryland's Passing game without D.J. Moore
D.J. Moore injured his knee against Penn State and is questionable for this Saturday's game. Will the big plays in the passing game be held to a minimum with him not on the field? If he doesn't play Saturday, hopefully Moore's injury isn't serious enough to keep him out long after the Iowa game. The Terps need him.