Hawkeyes Gameday: Key storylines against Maryland
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Iowa has had four running backs carry the ball at least 17 times this season. Jordan Canzeri has 136 carries, LeShun Daniels 52, Akrum Wadley 34 and Derrick Mitchell 17.
Canzeri, who won’t play against Maryland Saturday because of a high ankle sprain, has cracked the 100-yard mark four times. Daniels, who is expected back after missing the last two games, and Wadley have both done it once.
“We’ve got a bunch of great backs on this team,” said quarterback C.J. Beathard, who has 49 carries himself. “It doesn’t matter who is back there. We’ve got full trust and full faith that they’re going to do a great job.”
Both of Iowa’s starting safeties, Jordan Lomax and Miles Taylor, are from Maryland. Lomax, a senior from Upper Marlboro, Md., had a career-high 11 tackles in last season’s 38-31 loss at Maryland. Taylor, a sophomore in his first season as a starter, is from Silver Spring, Md.
Lomax is the Hawkeyes’ third-leading tackler with 43 (20 unassisted, 23 assisted). Taylor has 27 tackles (15 unassisted, 12 assisted).
Iowa has a total of seven players from Maryland on the roster. Lomax and Taylor are joined by defensive tackle Darian Cooper, linebackers Eric Grimm and Steve Manders, running back Marcel Joly and defensive back Omar Truitt.
Taylor’s brother, Kyle, a linebacker, is one of 23 commitments in Iowa’s Class of 2016. That list includes Devonte Young, a wide receiver from Waldorf, Md.
STUFFING THE RUN
Iowa ranks third nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 74.1 yards a game. The Hawkeyes have held six of their seven opponents under 100 yards rushing. The last time Iowa surrendered less than 100 yards a game for the season was 2008.
Iowa is also No. 3 nationally with its 2.5 yards per carry average, and it is the only team in the country to allow just one rushing touchdown all season.
Since being inserted as the starter at quarterback again two games ago, Perry Hills is averaging 147 yards rushing a game. Iowa has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season.
With Hills back as a starter, Maryland has jumped from 11th in the Big Ten in rushing (162.6 yards a game) to third (186.7 yards a game). Hills rushed for 170 yards against Ohio State, the most ever by a Maryland quarterback. That included a 75-yard run.
Maryland ranks 126th out of 127 FBS teams in turnover margin at minus-13. That includes five turnovers in a 31-30 loss to Penn State last week. The Terrapins have been outscored 67-10 in points off turnovers. Iowa has a plus-seven turnover margin, which ranks 12th nationally. The Hawkeyes have a 56-30 edge over opponents in points off turnovers.
Iowa is 6-8-1 all-time in Halloween games. Just as scary is Maryland defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. He has nine sacks this season, and 17 for his career. Maryland has 24 sacks as a team, which is a concern with Beathard not 100 percent or as mobile as he usually is.
Also scary is Terrapins defensive back William Likely. He had a Big Ten-record 233 punt-return yards against Richmond, breaking Nile Kinnick’s 76-year mark of 202. Likely has two punt-return touchdowns this season.
Likely picked off one of Jake Rudock’s 56 passes last season and returned it 45 yards for a game-clinching touchdown.