Iowa is coming off a bye week with a 7-0 record and they'll take on Maryland in Kinnick Stadium. The Terrapins are 2-5 but they have played better since firing Randy Edsall as head coach. Mike Locksley is now in charge and though they haven't come out on the winning side, they are competing harder.
That should not help him much on Saturday when they travel to Iowa City.
The Hawkeyes may not be sharp in the early going due to having two weeks off since they last played but they'll eventually pour it on. Maryland has struggled stopping the run almost all year, second last in the Big Ten in that regard. Iowa hammers it down everyone's throat on the ground regardless of opponent so it should not be pretty for the Terrapins. It should be Akrum Wadley getting the majority of the carries and he may eclipse the 200-yard mark once again.
Iowa's bread and butter is running the ball, they get one of their running backs back in LeShun Daniels, and they get one of their starting offensive tackles back from injury in Boone Myers. That's a recipe for success against a team that can't stop the running game. Add in the fact that quarterback C.J. Beathard isn't 100 percent and the Hawkeyes may run the ball over 40 times on Saturday and top 300 yards as a team.
Maryland is aggressive on defense and loves to take chances. That should enable Iowa to break off even more explosive plays in the running game.
Defensively, Maryland can move the ball and they have all year. They have a mobile quarterback in Perry Hills and the Hawkeyes will have to contain his running ability. That should fall on the shoulders of linebackers Ben Niemann and Cole Fisher. Iowa State signal caller Sam Richardson is mobile but not exactly a true scrambler. Iowa hasn't faced a true on since the opener against Illinois State where they shut down Tre Roberson. This will be a test.
Despite all that, Maryland gives the ball up at will. They've turned the ball over 24 times already this year, including 20 interceptions. Iowa has some ball hawks in their secondary, especially Desmond King. Look for Iowa to force turnovers and wreak all kinds of havoc. If it wasn't coming off a bye week and they didn't have the target on their back that they do, I might predict a much larger scoring margin than I have because this game just screams blowout in every single way. If the Hawkeyes come out sharp, they could win this game by 30 or more.