Not last year’s Terps, not last year’s Hawks

Iowa+quarterback+C.J.+Beathard+runs+with+the+ball+at+Camp+Randall+Stadium+in+Madison%2C+Wisconsin+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+3%2C+2015.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Badgers%2C+10-6.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FRachael+Westergard%29

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard runs with the ball at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Badgers, 10-6. (The Daily Iowan/Rachael Westergard)

Let’s make something clear — the 2015 edition of Maryland is not a good football team.

The Terps, who come to Kinnick on Saturday to face No. 10 Iowa, (2:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2) have been a hot mess all season. Maryland fired head coach Randy Edsall after a loss to Ohio State Oct. 10. It almost goes without saying, but the team is a far cry from the squad that beat Iowa, 38-31, last season in College Park. Maryland ranks near the bottom of the Big Ten in scoring offense and defense, yardage — both allowed and gained — and owns a bad rushing defense that prompted Iowa running back Akrum Wadley to snicker a bit when asked about what he’s seen on tape.

“It could be a good day,” he said. “We’ll be fine if we stick with the game plan and do what we do.”

The now first-string running back should see plenty of carries against a defense that’s allowing more than 175 yards rushing a game.

To be fair, Maryland returns just four starters from the defense that held Iowa to 3.7 yards per carry when the Terps won last season. The Hawkeyes managed just 116 rushing yards against a Terrapin defense that ended the season allowing an average of nearly 202 yards given up on the ground per game.

Iowa will also be coming off a bye week, and running back LeShun Daniels Jr. is expected to make his full return to the lineup this week, though he is officially listed as Wadley’s co-backup with Derrick Mitchell Jr. The time off has also helped quarterback C.J. Beathard — who was playing hobbled — heal.

“We gave [Beathard] a majority of last week off, which was good for him, and a couple of other guys in that same category,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He’s throwing the ball well.”

Maryland has given up 275 yards or more in four of its seven games this year, and a healthy Beathard could have a good day against a defense that has given up 17 touchdowns through the air.

After throwing for more than 200 yards in each of his first four starts this season, Beathard has accomplished that once in the last three weeks. Maryland could be a nice bounce-back game for the junior.

With that said, it’s still a conference game, and Beathard watched last year as a 14-0 lead quickly slipped away to the Terps.

“They beat us last year,” he said. “You can’t take them lightly.”

However, Maryland’s only consistent play — its running game and special teams — are two things Iowa has defended well against this season.

On paper, this has all the makings of a game that should be over by halftime, and the Hawkeyes haven’t let teams they should beat hang around. The team’s winning margin is plus-17.7 points, which ranks 11th nationally.

“We have a lot of confidence ourselves right now,” senior wide receiver Tevaun Smith said. “This team is full of fighters … and even when the score is pretty high on our side, no one lets his guard down.

 

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