COLLEGE PARK — With 59 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter Saturday at Byrd Stadium, the Iowa football team took over possession with a chance to mount a game-tying drive against Maryland.
Moments later, after a fourth-down pass attempt from Hawkeyes quarterback Jake Rudock fell incomplete and the Terps' 38-31 win was secured, finally, Maryland linebacker Yannick Ngakoue squatted around the 50-yard line and exhaled.
The Terps (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten Conference) had fallen behind by 14 points midway through the first quarter before fighting back and taking a three-point lead into halftime. After Maryland took a 17-point lead late in the fourth quarter, Iowa had mounted its own comeback.
Ultimately, the Terps held on to win a homecoming game that got them back on track.
"I'm just so proud of these kids in terms of how they conduct themselves, how they handled themselves, how they just never say die and just keep fighting and keep battling when we have some of our self-induced stuff out there on the field," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said of the Terps' first game since a 52-24 loss to Ohio State on Oct. 4. "That was a huge win today against a very fine football team."
Iowa (5-2, 2-1) entered the game with just one loss and was determined, as it is against most teams, to overpower the Terps at the line of scrimmage.
The Hawkeyes scored on their first two drives and had 112 yards of total offense midway through the first quarter.
After that, the Terps defense tightened. After its second touchdown, 12 of Iowa's next 13 drives ended without any points, and the Hawkeyes didn't score again until late in the third quarter. Those 13 possessions produced just 148 yards total.
"I thought our defensive line played pretty well," Edsall said. "We got good pressure most of the day, and we ended up holding them, I think, well under their season average in terms of rushing, and we forced them to have to throw the ball."
A goal of Maryland's going into the game was to force the Hawkeyes to depend on their passing game.
While Iowa running back Mark Weisman had a 38-yard run during the second half and finished with 78 yards on 10 carries, the Hawkeyes finished with only 116 rushing yards and an average of 3.7 yards per carry.
Iowa was forced to become more reliant on Rudock, who finished with 56 pass attempts.
"If you go back and try to find out when the last time Iowa threw the ball 56 times is, I think you're going to be searching for awhile," Edsall said. "That's a good thing."
The Terps also got some big plays from some of their top playmakers.
Jacquille Veii, Maryland's Swiss army knife, broke a tackle in the backfield before bouncing outside to score on a 23-yard touchdown run that cut the Terps' deficit to 14-7 late in the first quarter.
Quarterback C.J. Brown, who left the game with a back injury during the second half but later returned, had 99 rushing yards on 21 carries, following through on his earlier pledge to be more aggressive as a runner during the second half of the season.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs turned a screen pass from reserve quarterback Perry Hills into a 53-yard touchdown that pushed Maryland's lead to 24-14 with 4:18 left in the fourth quarter.
Cornerback Will Likely then intercepted a pass from Rudock early in the fourth quarter and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown after Iowa's Weisman had scored to trim the Terps' lead to 24-21.
"Anytime you get those guys [Diggs and Likely] the ball in their hands" is good, Brown said. "Will made a great play. Someday, the other offense will learn not to throw his way."