Maryland looked bad against Ohio State. But Iowa isn't Ohio State, despite being 5-1.
The Hawkeyes were held to 24 points or less in each of their first five games, they're averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, and they have had issues both stopping the run and the pass at different points on defense.
Key for the Terps will be holding up defensively against an Iowa team that will look to run the football and doing a better job along the offensive line — both in the running game and in pass protection — than they have done at different points this season, especially since Iowa has some disruptive players in its front seven.
And, as always, Maryland will look for quarterback C.J. Brown to take advantage when he has a chance to make plays in the passing game, something he was unable to consistently do during the first half of the season.
Also keep an eye on Brown as a runner. Brown has made a lot of plays with his legs throughout his career. Coaches want him to be more aggressive as a runner than he was during the first six games.
Iowa is currently third in the Big Ten in pass defense (200.3), but it hasn't seen a passing offense of this caliber in league play yet. I think C.J. Brown will bounce back as both a passer and runner to help Maryland control the ball and put points on the board. A major question will be how the Terps' defense handles the Hawkeyes' power formations. But Maryland has had two weeks to prepare and the front seven is healthier, enough so that it should be able to pull this one out.
Prediction: Maryland 27, Iowa 24
The Terps need a signature win in their new conference at this critical mid-point of the season.
And against Iowa on Saturday, the Maryland offense will achieve more balance in the pass-run game. QB C.J. Brown will find success in the zone-read with his feet while hitting the Terps talented receivers in the short, screen game to open things up and exploit their speed advantage.