In a new feature, Hawkeye Insider will draw out some critical stats of the football season on each Monday, for the season and for the upcoming game. Iowa has a home tilt on Saturday against the Maryland Terrapins.
The Terps will enter Kinnick Stadium with a 2-5 record and 0-3 in the Big Ten. Though that looks well below average, Maryland has stayed in a few games including last week's battle with Penn State and they competed hard against Ohio State three weeks ago. On the other side of the coin, Maryland was clearly dominated by West Virginia and Michigan. They have now lost four games in a row, fired their coach in the process, and are now lead by interim head coach Mike Locksley.
Locksley is known for his recruiting prowess, especially in the DMV area (D.C, Maryland, Virginia), a region that Iowa mines for talent as well and has brought them both of their starting safeties in Miles Taylor and Jordan Lomax. Locksley had a head coaching opportunity before at New Mexico but was dreadful and did not have a long tenure before being fired.
Here are some numbers related to this week's contest.
- Iowa enters the game with 4th best scoring offense in the Big Ten while Maryland comes in with the second worst scoring defense in the Big Ten. The Terps also ranked 12th in the Big Ten in total defense. Expect a lot of points from the Hawkeyes if they in fact became a lot healthier over the bye week.
- Iowa has the second best rushing attack in the Big Ten so far while Maryland has the second worst rushing defense. A lot of points may be scored and it just screams out like a contest where the Iowa running backs should have their way even more.
- Maryland's passing offense is second worst in the Big Ten but their rushing attack is the third best in the Big Ten. They do much more of their damage on the ground. Unfortunately for them, the Hawkeyes have an elite defense lead by the the second best rushing defense in the Big Ten and also third best in the nation. Coordinator Phil Parker speaks about the Iowa defense in the video above. The Terps run for 187 yards a game but the Hawkeyes only allow an average of 74 a game. Something's got to give.
- Maryland has the worst passing efficiency in the Big Ten.
- Iowa and Maryland are the two best teams in the Big Ten on punt returns. Watching for a big play on special teams may be something to do. In terms of net average, Maryland is also near last in punting.
- The Hawkeyes are in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten when it comes to sacks allowed. They're probably content with that having to replace two offensive tackles from a year ago and the two replacements have missed multiple games. With a makeshift offensive line, that has not been an awful number but it has dinged up their quarterback some. However, the Terps are a very strong team at getting to the quarterback, averaging 3.5 sacks a game as a defense.
- Maryland is a heavily penalized team. They will show up on Saturday second worst in the Big Ten in that category at 71 yards a game.
- The biggest difference between these two teams is the discrepancy in turnover margin. The Hawkeyes are +7, forcing 15 turnovers and turning it over on offense 8 times. Maryland is on the bottom of the Big Ten in turnover margin at -13. They have turned it over a whopping 24 times this year, losing four fumbles and throwing 20 interceptions already. 20 (!!!!!) interceptions. That's an outrageous number after just seven games.
Iowa Individual Leaders
- Quarterback C.J. Beathard is seventh in the Big Ten in passing yards a game. He's averaging 202 yards a game. He's fifth in pass efficiency.
- Running back Jordan Canzeri is still fourth in the Big Ten in rushing yards a game despite not having played a significantly large portion of two games. He's averaging 99.7 yards a game. He's also third in the Big Ten in socring and second in touchdowns. He only trails Ezekiel Elliott in touchdowns. Elliott has 13 while Canzeri has 10. Elliott has played more games, obviously.
- Wideout Matt VandeBerg is fourth in the conference in receptions a game with 41 on the year.
- Desmond King ranks third in the conference in punt return average 15.7 yards a pop. His 13 passes defended as a cornerback is tied for second in the Big Ten, trailing only Jourdan Lewis of Michigan. However, King's six interceptions is three more than anyone else in the league.
- Dillon Kidd is third in the Big Ten in punting average at 44.8 yards a punt.
- Cole Fisher is sixth in the Big Ten in tackles at 8.7 a game.