Looking ahead to Maryland football team's second-half schedule

After this week's bye, Maryland (4-2) begins the second half of its season against Iowa next week. Here is a look at the Terps' final six opponents:

Iowa (4-1), Oct. 18 in College Park


The record is deceiving.

The Hawkeyes lost to an Iowa State team that is otherwise winless and barely beat an FCS team (Northern Iowa), 31-23, in their first game of the season.


Iowa has seemingly been good on defense, limiting its last four opponents — Ball State, Iowa State, Pittsburgh and Purdue — to an average of 15.8 points per game.

The problem for the Hawkeyes has been on offense.

Iowa has not scored more than 24 points in a game since the win over Northern Iowa.

The Hawkeyes are averaging just 3.6 yards per carry, and Iowa is reportedly planning on using two quarterbacks against Indiana on Saturday because neither quarterback has established himself as a worthy starter.

at Wisconsin (3-2), Oct. 25

The Badgers are third in the country in rushing and are averaging an FBS-best 7.1 yards per carry as a team.

Wisconsin is also eighth nationally in total defense and limited then-No. 13 LSU to 365 yards and 17 first downs in the Badgers' first game of the season.

What holds Wisconsin back is its quarterbacks.

Badgers running back Melvin Gordon ran for 259 yards and a touchdown while averaging close to 10 yards per carry against Northwestern last week. However, Wisconsin lost, 20-14, largely because its two quarterbacks — Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy — were a combined 12 of 29 for just 138 yards with only one touchdown and four interceptions.

The Badgers have also had trouble stopping the run at times.

LSU running back Kenny Hilliard ran for 110 yards and a touchdown against Wisconsin while averaging 6.1 yards per carry, and Northwestern running back Justin Jackson ran for 162 yards against the Badgers last week.

at Penn State (4-1), Nov. 1


Penn State was 4-0 before falling, 29-6, to Northwestern Sept. 27.

The Nittany Lions have a potential future first round pick at quarterback in sophomore Christian Hackenberg. But Hackenberg is completing just 58 percent of his passes, has just four touchdown passes compared to six interceptions and has not thrown a touchdown in any of Penn State's past three games.

The Nittany Lions are also getting an average of just 3.4 yards per carry from their top two running backs — Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak — and Penn State's offensive line is allowing a Big Ten worst 2.8 sacks per game.

What makes the Nittany Lions dangerous is the potential they have on offense with players like Hackenberg and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton combined with the fact their defense is allowing the lowest yards per carry in the country (1.99).

No. 8 Michigan State (4-1), Nov. 8 in College Park

This is likely the best team remaining on Maryland's schedule and likely the best team in the Big Ten.

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook has thrown 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

The Spartans are running for an average of 239 yards per game and averaging 4.9 yards per carry.

Wide receiver Tony Lippett leads the Big Ten in receiving yards per game (105) and has caught a Big Ten-best seven touchdowns.

Michigan State's offensive line has allowed just three sacks, and the Spartans are third in the Big Ten in total defense and tied for the league lead in sacks per game (4).

Michigan State lost 46-27 to then-No. 3 Oregon Sept. 6, but the Spartans led, 27-18, with under five minutes left in the third quarter before the Ducks scored 28 straight points to win.

The only real negative for the Spartans thus far has been that their pass defense has allowed some plays against the only two teams Michigan State has faced not named Jacksonville State, Eastern Michigan and Wyoming.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for 318 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Spartans, and Nebraska wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp had nine catches for 158 yards against Michigan State last week.

The Spartans also allowed Oregon to break two long runs — a 38-yarder and a 40-yarder. However, Michigan State's run defense has been mostly good aside from that.

at Michigan (2-4), Nov. 22

Michigan began its season with a 52-14 win over Appalachian State. Since then, the Wolverines are just 1-4, with the only win coming over a Miami (OH) team that is 1-5.

Michigan quarterbacks have thrown just five touchdowns with 10 interceptions while completing only 56 percent of their passes.

The Wolverines have also struggled at times on defense.

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson was 23 of 34 for 226 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions during the Irish's 31-0 win over Michigan Sept. 6. Minnesota running back David Cobb ran for 183 yards against the Wolverines Sept. 27, and Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova threw for 404 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in leading the Scarlet Knights to a 26-24 win over Michigan last week.

The Wolverines have some good players, like wide receiver Devin Funchess. Michigan is also averaging five yards per carry as a team. But this appears to be an even more winnable game for Maryland than some may have thought it would be at the beginning of the season.

Rutgers (5-1), Nov. 29 in College Park

Like Maryland, Rutgers was picked by Big Ten writers to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten's East division. But the Scarlet Knights would be undefeated if not for a late rally by Penn State Sept. 13.

Rutgers is just 10th out of the Big Ten's 14 teams in total defense. However, the Scarlet Knights are tied for first in the conference in sacks per game, and the offense has had some good moments under the direction of former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who is in his first season as Rutgers' offensive coordinator.

The Scarlet Knights lost standout running back Paul James to a season-ending knee injury. However, Nova has bounced back from some early issues and has thrown for 695 yards with seven touchdowns and just one interception in Rutgers' last two games.


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