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Terps quarterback C.J. Brown leaves game with back injury before returning vs. Iowa

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown leaves the field after suffering a back injury against Iowa at Byrd Stadium. He later returned to finish the game.
Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown leaves the field after suffering a back injury against Iowa at Byrd Stadium. He later returned to finish the game. (Mitch Stringer / USA Today Sports)

COLLEGE PARK — Early in the third quarter Saturday, Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown fell forward as he was being tackled near the Iowa football team's sideline.

As he went down, a Hawkeyes defender dived in and landed on Brown's upper back.

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Brown remained facedown on the ground for several minutes. He later was evaluated on the sideline before being taken into the Terps locker room.

After being treated, Brown returned to the game with about 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

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"It definitely scared me because the whole right side of my back tightened up, locked up," said Brown, who suffered an upper-trapezius injury in his back. "I've got to look at the film. I thought it was a late hit. He got me on top of the head, so my neck and my shoulders are a little bit tight. … But I felt like I could go, and I was able to go back out there and finish."

Brown was initially unsure about whether he would be able to return. But he warmed up on the sideline and threw the ball some with running back Wes Brown and reserve quarterback Shane Cockerille (Gilman). And when Maryland coach Randy Edsall approached him and asked whether he was OK, Brown told Edsall: "Yeah, I'm good."

"We'll see how he feels," Edsall said after the game. "He's sore. He wanted to go back in and he was cleared through our medical people. I'm sure he'll be sore. He'll probably stay in the cold tub down there for probably another three hours before he heads home."

Backup quarterback Perry Hills played five series before Brown re-entered. Hills became the top backup to Brown after Caleb Rowe suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice Tuesday.

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Hills started slow but had a nice 15-yard completion to wide receiver Stefon Diggs along the sideline. He also delivered the screen pass to Diggs that Diggs turned into a 53-yard touchdown.

Hills finished 5-for-10 for 86 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He added 15 yards on three carries.

"I thought Perry went in and did the things that we needed to do to get us through that period to get C.J. back," Edsall said.

Defensive line stands out

Watching film of Iowa's previous games, Maryland's defensive linemen had seen opposing teams succeed at times in getting into the Hawkeyes backfield.

The Terps did just that Saturday.

Defensive end Andre Monroe had six tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a half-sack. Nose tackle Darius Kilgo had six tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery, and outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue had seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

Overall, the Terps finished with four sacks and limited Iowa to 3.7 yards per carry.

"Andre has played really well all year," Edsall said. "Darius Kilgo is really starting to be a force out there. He's really upped his game, and it's great to see because he's a great kid. He's a senior. Overall, I thought our defensive line played really well."

End zone

Maryland forced three turnovers in the win, recovering two fumbles and making an interception. … Cornerback Will Likely, who entered Saturday tied for the lead in the Big Ten Conference with three interceptions, added another against the Hawkeyes, returning it 45 yards for a touchdown. … Running back Brandon Ross and outside linebacker Matt Robinson (Atholton) both left with injuries and did not return. … Punter Nate Renfro continues to struggle. He averaged just 37.8 yards per punt Saturday; one went 19 yards, and another, from the Hawkeyes 38, landed 10 yards beyond the end zone for a touchback at a key moment in the fourth quarter. … Diggs had nine catches for 130 yards and a touchdown.

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