On paper, Saturday's matchup between Iowa and Maryland definitely swings in favor of the Hawkeye offense. They have one of the best rushing offenses in not only the Big Ten but the country, while the Terrapins have struggled against the run for most of the year. Maryland ranks second to last at stopping the opposing run game in the conference, but they did find success in containing running back Saquon Barkley of Penn State.
Despite stopping Barkley, they allowed the Nittany Lion passing attack take off as Christian Hackenberg threw for over 300 yards against the Terrapins. They've surrendered a lot of points this season but Maryland has also faced some stiff challenges defending the Michigan State, Michigan, West Virginia, and Ohio State offenses already.
The Hawkeyes will be no different. Hackenberg had a big day through the air but the Iowa signal caller knows that it may not be indicative of what's to come this Saturday.
"I watched some of the game and the film," C.J. Beathard said of Maryland's last contest against Penn State. "I didn't really think anything of (Hackenberg throwing for over 300) against Maryland because they're a good team and a good defense. They have a lot of talented players on their defense. We'll just take what they give us, whether that's running the ball or throwing it."
Despite their record, Maryland has hung around in most of the games they've played for quite a while. They will be no easy out and the Hawkeyes are prepared for that.
"They're a good team," offensive lineman Jordan Walsh noted. "I don't feel like their record shows how good they are. They have some quick guys on their defensive line. They have a few physical linebackers."
"We know they're going to be a tough team regardless of how they played last week against Penn State," tight end Henry Krieger Coble shared. "They're a good team and we're focusing on ourselves. They're going to come out and play hard. They'll play the full 60. They'll be a big challenge for us."
Maryland will be doing a lot of work to correct the mistakes they made against Penn State in pass defense. However, Iowa is a smashmouth, physical, downhill running team. That's been their calling card for years under Kirk Ferentz and this season has been no different.
They've had three different 100-yard rushers in Jordan Canzeri, LeShun Daniels, and Akrum Wadley. Canzeri and Wadley have also had games where they've eclipsed the 200-yard mark. Wadley should get the lion share of the carries against the Terrapins, who've been exploited on the ground a few times this year. There's a good chance that happens again on Saturday.
"They like to take a lot of risks," Akrum Wadley pointed about the Maryland defense. They're sloppy at times. That's where have to make them pay. I've thought about (how they stopped Saquon Barkley). We watched the film. Penn State made some mistakes. We're trying to avoid those and focus on us. There's certain things where we're trying not to do what (Penn State) did."