For just the sixth time in the 23 years of the Kirk Ferentz era, the Iowa Hawkeyes are 4-0. Now they take that early season success on the road to College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins who are also 4-0 to start the 2021 season.
The Hawkeyes come into this one favored by 3.5 points in a game with an over/under set at 48 total points. Iowa has yet to be in a game they won by less than 10 points this season and every matchup has come in at 44 or fewer total points. Will this be the week that changes?
The Pants is torn on that question. While all but one of our staff is on Iowa to win outright, all but one of us is also predicting a one-score game. On the whole, we’re calling for the Hawkeyes to pull out a close victory, 23-18 over Maryland. That officially puts us on the under of 48 points and taking Iowa with the points.
Here’s a look at each of our staff’s individual predictions for this week’s matchup.
Maryland has the talent at several key positions to attack Iowa in ways they haven’t seen to-date this season. The Terps’ ability to generate pressure off the edge against an Iowa offensive line that has had issues protecting Spencer Petras early on is a concern, particularly given Petras’ propensity to get happy feet in the pocket.
On the other side of the ball, Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terrapin offense can really put pressure on Iowa’s secondary with big plays that Phil Parker loathes to give up. But in Phil we trust. I think the Hawkeyes create more than one turnover and win the field position battle in a way that allows the Iowa offense to do just enough to win a close one.
Iowa 24, Maryland 23
Oh gosh. I’m torn about this one. I think the defense will do its job enough to keep this game within striking distance but anything beyond that is a toss up for me right now. I’m gonna say that Iowa pulls out the win, but it again is closer than we want it to be. The Terps will make a late surge, but the defense will come through and seal the win for the Hawks.
Iowa 21, Maryland 17
I did not post my prediction last week and one of my friends said I was going to jinx our squad. As we trailed at halftime I was freaking out that just such a thing was coming to fruition. Whew! Iowa didn’t play a great game last week. Typically that’s when we see a very different Iowa team the next week. I don’t have a good feeling about this game, however. I don’t think we are the number five team in the nation - yet. We are traveling across the country to play a night game against a dangerous team. I think we lose a close one. Our offensive line is going to be the weak link in this one. I’m also bummed as the Hawks are playing on a Friday night. I’ll be watching my son play high school football and trying to watch our Black and Gold on my phone. Friday night college games are garbage. I’m crabby. Get off my lawn!
Maryland 23 - Iowa 17
Maryland brings in an efficient offense with a mobile quarterback and the best wide receiver tandem Iowa has faced this season. Iowa boasts one of the best defenses in the country, and has the personnel to match every Maryland move. My preseason OPOY for the Big Ten was Taulia Tagovailoa so it will be a major challenge for this defense to contain him.
On defense, this Maryland team has a lot of quality players, but struggles with tackling in the open field. Look for guys like Tyrone Tracy Jr and Arland Bruce IV to make plays in space to spark Iowa’s offense.
Iowa 27 - Maryland 23
Maryland might have the best offense the Hawks will see all season. I also thought that about Indiana and Iowa State, so at this point it’s almost a weekly thing for me to say that. However, Taulia Tagovailoa has not faced a defense like the one he will see Friday night. Last season Tagovailoa had a very up and down season but has looked phenomenal this year. With a win over a good West Virginia team and a 4-0 record, this will not be easy. However, I do think Iowa pulls out a close win, in what might be a higher scoring game than anticipated.
Iowa 31 - Maryland 23
I am writing this on the road for our first long weekend away from our one-year-old son. We FaceTimed for approximately 5 seconds which was long enough for him to go into his “I’m about to sob uncontrollably” face. 0/10 experience, would not recommend.
I fear tomorrow night’s game will resemble that, with an early score or two from Maryland. Phil Parker adjusts, Iowa’s offense again does the bare minimum, and sends Terps fans home with their head in their shells.
Iowa 17, Maryland 16
From a betting perspective, this game has all the makings of being a trap game for Iowa. It’s a Friday night game, all the way in College Park, Maryland, and with Penn State looming, this could be easily be seen as a lookahead game for the Hawkeyes.
That said, just evaluating both squads objectively, Maryland comes into this game undisciplined on defense and with an exploitable offensive line. It’s true that the Terrapins have an explosive offense in the passing game as well as big, athletic runners in their backfield. However, Iowa’s defense is elite and has looked better and better each and every week, despite what some people might think.
Iowa 27, Maryland 10
Is Maryland a paper tiger? The Terrapins have started strong several times in recent years before imploding in spectacular fashion, but there are reasons to believe this year’s Maryland team is made of stronger stuff. Tagovailoa hems a legitimately explosive offense and Maryland’s pass rush is dangerous enough to put pressure on Iowa’s inexperienced offensive line.
That being said, I’ll believe it when I see it when it comes to Maryland. Iowa’s defense has the talent and experience to make things difficult for Tagovailoa, and the offense will be able to put up just enough points to help the Hawks pull ahead.
Iowa 24, Maryland 17
Do you remember what I said about Tom Allen? Matt Campbell? Steve Addazio?
A bunch a guys who have never beat Kirk Ferentz. A camp that Mike Locksley is a card-carrying member of.
Iowa 21, Maryland 13
Here’s a quick summary of our picks one last time.
That’s what we’re expecting, what’s your prediction for tonight’s game Hawkeye fans?