Iowa Hawkeyes vs Maryland Terrapins – College Football, October 1, 2021

By Dan Vasta in College Football
| September 29, 2021 1:57 pm PDT

The Big Ten has had several conference matchups this season. Getting these inter-divisional matchups often takes the cake and is highly entertaining. They may not be pivotal in terms of tiebreakers, but this impacts the race for a conference championship.

Maryland will be looking to pull an upset off since they have aspirations to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016. The offense led by signal-caller Taulia Tagovailoa has been impressive, and they were able to sneak out some early-season victories over West Virginia and Illinois.

Iowa has been dominant this season thanks to a tremendous defense that would make any program proud. Their offense is still far from being one of the better units in the country, but they have enough pieces to contend and challenge for the Big Ten crown.

Kirk Ferentz has not won an outright Big Ten title with Iowa since 1985. Ferentz won a pair in 2002 and 2004, so they have something to strive for in 2021. The Hawkeyes have only appeared in three BCS/NY6 games since Ferentz took over in 1999.

Here are the latest odds via Sports Betting AG for this Big Ten clash.

Iowa vs. Maryland Odds

Iowa (-4)-110
Maryland (+4)-110
Iowa to Win-175
Maryland to Win+155
Over 45.5-115
Under 45.5-105

In games that the Hawkeyes have been road favorites of two touchdowns or less, they have covered in four of the past six matchups. Kirk Ferentz is 29-21-1 against the spread as road favorites.

The Hawkeyes could be looking ahead to Penn State, but Maryland is coming off a recent home-field victory. Upsetting West Virginia in the season-opener was impressive, but they have lost five in a row as a home dog. The Terps are 11-16 overall as home underdogs since 2011.

These are intriguing since the public will likely take Iowa due to their top-five ranking.

Here are the keys to victory for this Friday night matchup under the lights at College Park.

Why Iowa Wins

The Hawkeyes have been a phenomenal defense over the years. They have an underrated defensive coordinator. Phil Parker has been at Iowa for 21-plus years and is in his tenth season as a defensive coordinator.

The secondary is the most impressive part of this defense. The athletes in the SEC, Big Ten, and ACC have been getting most of the love. Iowa hasn’t received much because they haven’t always played in the biggest of games. Riley Moss and Jack Koerner are two of the better defensive backs in the country.

They have pressured opposing quarterbacks, but their ability to play man-to-man coverage has been overly impressive. Iowa often keeps everything in front of them on defense by avoiding the home-run passes.

Iowa is a great tackling team in open space, and their ability to execute has been impressive this season. The Maryland offense has improved, but they will find it challenging to keep up with an Iowa offense that can dominate the line of scrimmage.

Tight end Sam LaPorta has continued the tradition of Hawkeye pass catchers, and he looks like a future NFL performer. Tyler Goodson has run for over 300 yards to go along with six rushing scores. They may not be the most explosive squad, but they often make the points count when they do get them. Plus, Maryland head coach Mike Locksley is 1-15 against Top 25 foes in his coaching career.

Why Maryland Wins

The Terps home team advantage will give them a shot of pulling this one off. Friday night lights have often had upsets involving ranked squads, and College Park has seen upset wins over the past few decades.

The passing attack could move the ball against Iowa, but winning the turnover battle will be a given. Penn State is on the docket next week, and the Hawkeyes could be looking ahead.

A well-coached program like Iowa likely won’t dismiss the Terps on national television.

Maryland should put forth their best effort if they want to reach the postseason.

The Big Ten is up for grabs to see which team can get to the postseason. Tagovailoa has weapons at wide receiver in Dontay Demus Jr. and Rakim Jarrett.

If the offense can hit one explosive play early in the game, there will be an opportunity to build confidence and make it a four-quarter game. The Hawkeye offense will not score over 40 points. They already struggle to blow out the lower-tier squads.

We have seen several Top 25 upsets this season with even larger point spreads, and this won’t be the last upset either. Winning the turnover battle is vital, and avoiding a terrible start will allow them to keep believing as the game progresses.

Iowa vs. Maryland Prediction

This Big Ten matchup has the makings for coming down to the wire. Maryland has already had a few closely contested games in September.

October could have similar thrillers, with Indiana and Minnesota still on the slate. They have to travel to Ohio State next week. Some more home cooking could get them into national prominence.

Iowa is too balanced and will win this game at the line of scrimmage like they often do.

Iowa vs. Maryland Pick

There is value in the Terps at home getting points, but we have seen them get throttled at home in similar spots before. They were touchdown underdogs against Penn State two seasons ago and lost 59-0.

I don’t foresee that kind of a blowout here, but the Hawkeyes are more consistent on the defensive end of the football. They will move the chains with their ground game towards a narrow victory on the road. Take the Hawkeyes to win this one outright since the points could be risky.

Pick
  • Iowa to Win
    -175

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