The Good: The Secondary
I was considering going with "pass defense" but since the secondary also had a big part in run support, they get credit as a unit. Miles Taylor had himself a game. He led the team with eight total tackles (four solo), one fumble recovery, and an interception. Admittedly, he got a little greedy on the interception return and coughed it back up to the Terrapins, but his contributions on the day overshadow that one mistake. He was excellent in run support, often meeting the ball carrier at or near the line of scrimmage and frequently made them regret running in his direction.
Desmond King also made Perry Hills regret throwing in his direction. In case you forgot:
Jordan Lomax also had an interception of his own and did you find yourself complaining about #13 at any point? Nor did I. The secondary was on point Saturday.
PS: Honorable mention to LeShun Daniels, who looked like his old self.
The Bad: QB Contain
It was frustrating to watch Hills run through holes in the middle of the defensive line or freely scramble outside the pocket. He finished the game with an impressive 104 yards on 19 carries, a solid 5.5 YPC. That isn't to say that he didn't pay for it. He did. Miles Taylor rocked Hills early in the third quarter and knocked him out of the game for a couple of plays. In the fourth quarter, when Hills successfully drove the Terps to Iowa's 12-yard line he took a couple of tough hits, including one from Jordan Lomax that resulted in a fumble (Desmond King ended that drive singlehandedly). By the time Maryland got the ball back with just over five minutes left, down 31-15, Hills only attempted one more rush and instead relied on his arm to try to get Maryland back in the game. It didn't work.
Now, this is probably much ado about nothing as Iowa doesn't have face a dual threat of Hills's caliber for the rest of the season. But it's just something to think about in the event that Iowa has to play a team that...y'know...starts either one of the guys:
(No, the guy in the hat probably isn't going to run all over Iowa's defense)
The Ugly: Offensive Playcalling
I was trying to figure out what was wrong with Iowa's offense on Saturday and I really couldn't put my finger on it until I saw this Tweet:
That's what was missing. Was there any misdirection in the running game on Saturday? It was the Old Kirk vanilla stretch run/off tackle playbook. Was there a counter? A draw? I don't think there was one play-action pass. Checking the box score, there was only one screen called and Hillyer went for 12 yards on a 1st and 20. It was strange to see Iowa attempting to run down the throat of a team that was as blitz happy as Maryland was. They never tried to take advantage of the Terrapins over-aggressiveness and it was a contributing factor in Iowa averaging 2.5 YPC and Beathard getting sacked four times.
Obviously, Beathard being hobbled had something to do with him getting sacked but I have greater concerns about Iowa's lack of adjustments. If an opponent is going to call a high percentage of blitzes and Iowa cannot run the ball or give the quarterback adequate time because of his issues with mobility, what steps are they going to take to counter that aggressiveness? That's a question I hope the Hawkeyes don't have to answer in the immediate future.