Looks to be a mismatch in Big Ten play from Iowa City on Saturday afternoon as No. 10 Iowa, unbeaten in conference play, faces a Maryland team looking for its first Big Ten win. The Hawkeyes are -17 on Bookmaker's college football odds with a total of 53.5.
Terps Play Hard For Locksley
Maryland (2-5. 0-3) played its first game last week since firing Coach Randy Edsall and the Terps competed well for interim coach Mike Locksley in a 31-30 home loss to Penn State. Maryland led 27-24 entering the fourth quarter thanks to a 10-yard touchdown pass from Perry Hills to DeAndre Lane late in the third. But Penn State responded quickly with a 27-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter by Christian Hackenberg. The Terps got to within one point on a Brad Craddock 29-yard field goal with 10:15 left, but they committed turnovers on three of their final four possessions to come up short.
Hills ran for 128 yards and completed 19-for-28 for 225 yards. He’s the first Terp to run for 100 yards in consecutive games since C.J. Brown accomplished the feat in 2011. Only South Florida's Quinton Flowers has more rushing yards (299) for a QB over the last two games than Hills, who has also scored three touchdowns in the span. Maryland had 466 yards of total offense against PSU, its most since the season opener against Richmond.
Maryland won't be hiring Locksley as its full-time coach after this season. Since he was named interim coach Oct. 11, the day Edsall was fired, Locksley has said the second half of the season was about the players and team not his job security. No question the team played with more intensity against Penn State than it had all season.
One name you are now possibly hearing is Al Golden, who was fired at Miami (Fla.) on Sunday but had a winning record there and turned around the Temple program up the coast from Maryland before that.
This is the first time ever Maryland will play a game in the state of Iowa. The Terps’ last road win against a Top-10 opponent came against No. 10 Rutgers on Sept. 29, 2007. Maryland is 4-3 against the spread on college football odds and 4-2-1 'over/under.'
Iowa A National Title Contender?
Is there current unbeaten team being more overlooked than Iowa (7-0, 3-0)? I'll be honest in that I'm not sold yet because the Hawkeyes' schedule is very easy playing in the weak Big Ten West. Iowa's best non-conference win was over Pittsburgh, 27-24 on a 57-yard field goal on the game's final play. Iowa also won at No. 19 Wisconsin, 10-6, and at No. 20 Northwestern, 40-10, last time out on Oct. 17. That's fine and good, but neither the Badgers nor Wildcats are ranked right now.
It's quite possible that Iowa won't face a team all regular season that finishes the year ranked. The Hawkeyes after this visit Indiana, host Minnesota, host Purdue and visit Nebraska. There's almost no way they don't win the Big Ten West, but Iowa will be an underdog against either Ohio State or Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
How is Iowa winning? Running the ball and defense. It ranks 25th nationally in averaging 214.4 yards per game on the ground. Three different players have rushed for over 100 yards in a game this season: Jordan Canzeri (four times), and LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley once each. The Hawkeyes are third nationally in rushing defense (just one TD allowed as well), 10th in scoring and 12 in total D.
Iowa is 5-2 ATS in college football picks and 4-2-1 O/U.
Maryland hosted Iowa last season for the first time as Big Ten foes and the Terps won 38-31. Maryland senior QB Brown returned from a scary injury during the game and got the Terps their first-ever Big Ten home win. He was 12-for-23 for 120 yards and rushed 21 times for 99 yards. Obviously he's gone now. So is Iowa's starting QB from that game, Jake Rudock, who now starts at Michigan. Rudock completed 32-for-56 for 317 yards, two scores and a pick that was returned for a fourth-quarter touchdown. Mark Weisman rushed 10 times for 78 yards and two scores. Iowa led 14-0 late in the first quarter. The Hawkeyes scored 10 points in the final three minutes and got the ball back with 59 seconds to go but could not get into Maryland territory.
College Football Picks: Huge on the 'under.' Take Iowa at Bookmaker. The Hawkeyes are 6-1 ATS in their past seven vs. teams with a losing record. Maryland is 2-5 ATS in its past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The 'under' is 6-1 in Iowa's past 7 games following a win of more than 20 points.