Preview/Prediction: Maryland

Iowa brings its 5-1 record to Maryland this weekend for a match-up with the new Big Ten team. HI Publisher Rob Howe breaks down the contest and offers up his prediction.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - When Randy Edsall watches Iowa film, he sees a team that sticks to its plan. Instead of flash, success is built on executing fundamentals.

"They're well coached, they know what they want to do and they're going to do it. What you have to do is you've got to stop them," the Maryland Coach said.

The Hawkeyes (5-1 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) travel to College Park for Maryland's Homecoming game on Saturday. The Terrapins (4-2, 1-1) are coming off a bye week while Iowa downed Indiana, 45-29, last weekend.

"We were able to get some rest for our guys and get some of those bumps and bruises taken care of. We were able to take a look at ourselves and our tendencies and see what we were doing and what people were seeing out of us. We were able to get out on the practice field and have the opportunity to get a jump-start on Iowa. I thought the bye week was productive for us in all those ways. Hopefully that will bear out on Saturday," Edsall said

Ohio State blasted Maryland, 52-24, two weeks ago in the Terrapins first-ever Big Ten home game. The natives have gotten a little restless in Edsall's fourth season at the school where the coach compiled a 6-18 ACC mark in his first three years.

"We've been thrilled with the fans that were here and are continuing to be here," said Edsall, whose team played in front of its first home sellout in six years against OSU.

"We just need to create that atmosphere because it helps so much with our kids. It helps with recruiting. These guys had a good practice this (Tuesday) morning and they're eager to get back out there. We're 4-2 right now, we've got everything still out there in front of us. We're just taking it one game at a time. Iowa's up. We are going to have to play well to get a win on homecoming."

Maryland ranks 37th nationally in scoring (34.7 point per game). The Terps allow 25.2 PPG, which rates 64th in the country. The 451.2 yards per contest they yield puts them at 100 in the FBS and the 212.0 rushing is 104.

"Usually when you give up yards it's because people aren't executing, guys aren't fulfilling their responsibilities the way you need to. It might be a guy missing a gap here; it might be a guy missing a tackle there," Edsall said. "It's a combination of everybody not doing the things that you need them to do. Those are the things that we've been working on, getting everybody to understand what their job is and getting them to continue to do their job. If you can get everybody doing their job and doing it to the best of their ability you have a lot more opportunities for success.

Maryland and the Hawkeyes share a common opponent. The Terps won, 37-15, at Indiana on Sept. 27.

"We're playing a really good football team in Maryland," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "They're a veteran team, first and foremost.  Just about everybody back from last year offensively and defensively.  And then they're a very good team, very veteran team, well coached.

Maryland excels on special teams. William Likely's 22.0 yards per punt return ranks fifth nationally. Stefon Diggs, one of the better receivers in the Big Ten, averages 24.4 yards per kick return. Kicker Brad Craddock enters Saturday having connected on his last 17 field goal attempts, including a 57-yarder against Ohio State.

"This will be as tough a challenge as we'll have," Ferentz said of the Terps special teams. 

Time, TV, Announcers: 11:01 a.m. CT on ESPN2 with Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway and Paul Carcaterra.

The Series: It's the first meeting between the schools.

Betting Line: Maryland opened as a 2.5-point favorite at the Las Vegas Mirage on Sunday. The number jumped to 4.5 on Wednesday. The total was set at 51.0.

Betting Trends:

-Maryland is 1-5 Against The Spread in its last 6 home games.

-Iowa is 8-0 ATS in its last 8 road games.

Match-up to Watch: While he hasn't posted the numbers yet that many people predicted in the preseason, Diggs is as dangerous as any receiver in the league. He's coming off an Ohio State game that saw him catch a team-high seven passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. For the season, he's caught 36 balls for 450 yards and three scores.

Deon Long (27-307) and Marcus Leak (16-253, 3 TDs) complement Diggs. It's a receiving trio that will challenge the Hawkeye secondary.

Cornerbacks Desmond King and Greg Mabin are performing very well for Iowa. The Terps will present them their biggest test to date.

Maryland can protect the quarterback and starter C.J. Brown keeps plays alive with his legs. King and Mabin need to maintain coverage against a group that offers speed and athleticism.

Take Note: Iowa is 5-1 for the second straight year and sixth time since 1999. The last time Iowa won six of its first seven games was 2009 when it started 9-0. Since 1999, the only other time Iowa won six of its first seven games was 2002 (started 11-1, finished 11-2).

Take Note, Take Two: Maryland has posted at least 24 points in all six games this season. It is the first time in program history a Terrapin offense has scored 24 or more points in its first six games. The Terps are averaging 34.7 points per contest, tied for the fourth-highest total in the Big Ten.

Non-Sports Related: Emmy-winning journalist Connie Chung (68) is a Terp. She's been married to Maury Povich for 30 years.

Did You Know?: The first African-American students to enroll at Maryland did so in 1951.

Did You Also Know?: Maryland director of football operations Fran Foley was coached by Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz at Worcester Academy.

Maryland Wins If… it can slow Iowa's running game.

Iowa Wins If… it can neutralize Maryland's receivers.

Overview: The Hawkeyes head to the nation's capital area having won six of their last seven road games. They've been victorious in enemy territory their last four tries.

Iowa won't be intimidated going into Byrd Stadium. While it won't resemble Ohio State or Wisconsin, Maryland should enjoy the best home field advantage the Hawkeyes have faced this year.

The Terrapins should benefit from a bye week. They're healthier and well versed on what to expect from Iowa.

Maryland's position this week reminds me of where the Hawkeyes were coming into the Indiana contest. Iowa looked crisp and well rested against the Hoosiers.

For me, this is a toss-up game. In that case, I'll go with the fresher team playing at home.

Prediction: Maryland 24, IOWA 20


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