Quick game thoughts on Iowa's win that moves them to 8-0.
QUICK GAME THOUGHTS
Iowa did not come out with the mindset to jam it down Maryland's throats on the ground like I thought they would. They wanted to pass the ball, and they did it well.
It was a three-headed monster at running back. They rotated LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley, keeping them fresh. Wadley was the number one back, though, and Derrick Mitchell was the third down back. Mitchell did well in protection and as a receiver. The surprise was them having their streak of 100 yard rushers snapped. The good news? They all hung onto the ball.
Offensive line is just a lot better at run blocking than they are at pass blocking. It's still a pretty good offensive line. Boone Myers showed some rust but shook it off for the most part. Croston made the transition from left tackle to right tackle pretty effortlessly. They struggled to block Yannick Ngakoue the same way they struggled with Joe Schobert of Wisconsin.
Quarterback C.J. Beathard won't be 100 percent all season. He needs extended rest and they can't afford to give that to him. It will limit his scrambling and his mobility but he still gives enough production to remain out there. I would just expect another week of limited practice reps once again. Managing his injury will be an every-week event for Kirk Ferentz, Greg Davis, and the training staff.
Matt VandeBerg makes a lot of plays you don't think he will. His size doesn't affect him. He's a perfect possession guy for this team and he is often reliable on third down, which has really been his signature this season. Tevaun Smith is the big-play receiver. He's getting more chances to do that this year with Beathard at quarterback. But with C.J. not 100 percent, they can't afford to call many plays that stretch the play if they don't absolutely need to. The longer the routes, the longer he has to hang in the pocket and risks taking another hit. That's part of the reason why I was surprised by all of the passes as well.
They don't get a ton of looks but the tight ends, Henry Krieger Coble and George Kittle, sure do make the most of their opportunities. They are both sure-handed and make critical plays.
LeShun Daniels showed no ill-affects of his injury. He looked fresh again and the way he did at beginning of season. That will only help the Hawkeyes even more.
Iowa forced a lot of turnovers but if I was to guess, outside of the possession they started out on the Maryland 19 due to the blocked punt, the average field position wasn't too spectacular. It seemed like they didn't have the luxury of operating on a lot of short fields. Their average field position was from their own 41, which isn't bad, but they were backed up a few times.
The offense has to be better. They didn't move the ball hardly at all in the second half. They barely ran for over 100 yards as a team. The offensive line should have handled Maryland's front better than they did.
The defense was super. I don't get to watch a whole lot of other teams but it's difficult to envision another unit in the nation being as consistently impressive as the Hawkeyes.
It's not just Desmond King and Jaleel Johnson. Nate Meier was fantastic today, Josey Jewell was brilliant, and it was the best ballgame of the season by far from Jordan Lomax and Miles Taylor. Coincidentally (or not), Lomax and Taylor are both from the Maryland area.
They lost the shutout early in the fourth quarter with two facemask penalties as the Terps didn't do much to earn the scoring drive.
Perry Hills can be a lethal runner at quarterback for Maryland but he's a very, very, very inaccurate quarterback. It was awful throw after awful throw, making it easy to see why they've thrown so many interceptions on the year. He threw two more today, one to Jordan Lomax and one to Miles Taylor.
Desmond King is superman. He recorded his seventh interception of the season except this time he took the interception back 88 yards for a score. He read a screen pass perfectly and never looked back. Okay, he may have once. He's one of the best cornerbacks in the country and I've said this since Fall camp.
Marshall Koehn missed a 45 yard field goal. He did bounce back and hit one from 49. Couple the miss with the extra point misses over the previous weeks and it's something needs to be continued to be observed. You have to worry about it biting you in a critical moment later on. Dillon Kidd was great at punting again but they did allow a kickoff return for touchdown to the always dangerous William Likely. It was a shaky day for the special teams.
It definitely wasn't Iowa's best performance on the year. They didn't start out slow like I anticipated but they just never were completely crisp or sharp. The defense even got sloppy in the second half with more missed tackles than I've seen in a while.