Hawkeye football prepared for Friday night lights

Iowa will play its first Friday game of the season against Maryland at 7 p.m. in College Park.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa punter Tory Taylor kicks the ball during a football game between Iowa and Michigan State in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. The Hawkeyes dominated the Spartans, 49-7. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

Hawkeye football is taking on Maryland on Friday at 7 p.m. in the first of Iowa’s two non-Saturday games this season.

After a victory over Colorado State Sept. 25, the Hawkeyes have one fewer day to prepare for the Terrapins.

But Hawkeye sophomore punter Tory Taylor, from Melbourne, Australia, doesn’t have an issue with one fewer day of preparation, or a change from Iowa’s usual afternoon game. In fact, he prefers the night game — so it’s easier for his family and friends to watch the matchup.

“I actually like [Friday night games],” Taylor said. “It’s kind of funny. The later we play, the later it is for my family and friends back home where I’m from. I think it’s a 10 a.m. kickoff, so I’m sure everyone’s looking forward to sleeping in. Usually, the 2:30 games mean a 5:30 start on a Sunday morning, so it’s been a bit of a rough time for them.”

Iowa is making its first road trip to Maryland since 2014 — the Terrapins’ debut season in the Big Ten Conference. It’s one of two plane trips the Hawkeyes have this season.

The trip to the east coast is just the second away game so far for the Hawkeyes this season, and the first out of the state. Iowa took home the Cy-Hawk trophy against Iowa State on Sept. 11 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

Now, the Hawkeyes are preparing for another hostile environment when they arrive at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium Friday night.

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“Sounds like it’s going to be a sellout, a blackout. I imagine the environment we were in a couple weeks ago is as tough as it’s going to get, we expect this to be the same way,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “The trick is to somehow block that out and concentrate on the task. So that’s what we have to do. It’s not like we’re taking a bus or a stagecoach. I mean, that’s different.”

While the matchup is not currently a sellout, the Hawkeyes are stressing strong communication on and off the field in front of the loud, blackout-clad crowd.

“In a hostile environment, it really is all about when you get there, it’s just, you know, keeping calm,” junior quarterback Spencer Petras said. “Make sure communication is great in terms of everyone being on the same page. So, we’ve done it before [at Iowa State]. It might help us a little bit, but we got to go through it again on Friday. It’s all about how we do things Friday night.”

Maryland is 4-0 to start the season for the first time since 2016. Currently, four Big Ten East teams are 4-0 heading into the conference play stretch: Maryland, Michigan State, Michigan, and Penn State.

Iowa is the only 4-0 team in the Big Ten West.

“To me, [the Big Ten East] has always been competitive,” Ferentz said. “We’ll know more about who’s what, and what’s what when we get into November. Right now, everything looks tough to me. It’s kind of how I look at it, and certainly this week that’s what it looks like.”

Iowa will return back to Kinnick Stadium Oct. 9 against Penn State — but the Hawkeyes aren’t looking ahead.

“Every game is important, and we’re just taking one game at a time,” Taylor said. “It’s one day at a time, one practice at a time, one rep at a time, and that’s all we can do.”