Live from College Park: Maryland backup QB out; Willies in
Good morning from Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md, for the first meeting ever between Iowa and Maryland on the gridiron. This game feels like a non-conference contest, but it is a Big Ten game. The Terrapins and Rutgers joined the league this fall. Asked if it was going to feel like a Big Ten game to him, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said, "Yeah, because it counts. They all feel the same to me."
MARYLAND QB OUT. Caleb Rowe, who played four games this season as a backup to starter C.J. Brown, tore an ACL in practice this week. Brown, a run-pass threat, has been inconsistent this season.
WILLIES RETURNS. Redshirt freshman Derrick Willies, who missed the game last week against Indiana because of injury, made the trip and is warming up on the field.
MYERS, TOO. Iowa offensive lineman Boone Myers is warming up. He didn't play last week.
AND WALSH. Jordan Walsh, who was knocked out of last week's game on the second play with a sprained ankle, is warming up as well.
NEW FACE. Defensive end Riley McMinn, who has been injured for most of his career, is in uniform for the first time this season.
BOWL TALK. Representatives of the San Francisco Bowl and Citrus Bowl will be in attendance today.
WEATHER. Perfect. Sunny, with scattered clouds. Temps expected to be in the mid-70s. Hope Carl Davis drank plenty of liquids yesterday, so he doesn't fight cramps for a fourth time today.
TALKING TRASH. The student busses driving around the Maryland campus have the same electronic sign in front: Go Terps. Beat Iowa.
IOWA'S BIGGEST ADVANTAGE TODAY… Iowa is 2-0 on the road this season (Pittsburgh, Purdue), and was 4-1 away from home in 2013.
WHAT COULD BE THEIR UNDOING? Last week, Indiana's Tevin Coleman used his feet to beat Iowa defenders for three long touchdown runs and 219 rushing yards overall. Today, look for Maryland to take to the air to move the ball. The Terrapins have three playmakers at wide receiver. Junior Stefon Diggsleads the parade (1,882 career receiving yards, 36 catches for 450 yards this season). He is joined by Deon Long (27 catches, 307 yards) and Marcus Leak (16 catches, 253 yards).
WHO SHOULD WE BE TALKING ABOUT BUT AREN'T? He stands just 5 feet 7 inches tall, but William Likelypacks a big punch as a punt returner. He's returned eight of them for 176 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown. He's also a top-notch cornerback, with three interceptions (29.7 yards per return) and an 88-yard pick six.
FINAL PREDICTION: A victory would put Iowa in a good place as far as the West Division race goes, considering that contenders Northwestern, Wisconsin and Nebraska have to play at Kinnick Stadium. Maryland has scored at least 24 points in all six games this season, so Iowa's offense will have to keep up. Iowa 27, Maryland 24.