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Game Report, Iowa vs. Maryland: Grades, numbers, notes and more

A look at No. 22 Iowa’s 23-0 win over Maryland Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

Play of the game

The Set Up — Time was running out on the Hawkeyes at the end of the first half. First, Iowa dominated the half, but didn’t really have a lot to show for it.

Iowa drove for a pair of Miguel Recinos field goals for a 6-0 lead. Maryland had finally breached Iowa’s side of the 50-yard line. The Terps got two plays off. The second was an interception by Iowa safety Amani Hooker.

That gave Iowa first down at its 42 with 4:17 left in the half.

What Happened — A 16-yard Nate Stanley pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson gave the drive a boost. Then, on a third-and-9, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz kind of “pantsed” the Terps with a QB draw. Stanley ran behind his shoulder pads to push for a 13-yard gain and a first down.

Iowa called timeout with 13 seconds left. That set up one shot at the end zone. With no timeouts left, it had to be a shot at the end zone. Anything short would’ve run off the final seconds. The Hawkeyes wanted to get at least a field goal out of this.

On third-and-9 from the 10 with 13 seconds left, Stanley was left with a do-or-die shot at the end zone.

The Result — This probably isn’t a play wide receiver Brandon Smith makes at the beginning of the year. He’s a true sophomore. Last season, Smith learned the speed of the game. This season, he’s been learning and growing and now it’s really showing up.

Smith used his 6-3, 219 pounds to keep cornerback Tino Ellis out of the way. Smith got an outside release and got up field. He and Ellis had a good fight going. Ellis, a 6-1, 195-pounder, but Smith kept his outside arm alive.


Stanley put the ball where only Smith’s outside arm could bring it in. And then curling to stay in bounds was refinement. Refinement is coming fast and furious to Smith’s game.

— Marc Morehouse


Marc Morehouse: B+

If that was a hockey fight, one guy ran out of the arena and still might be running. In his skates.

Mike Hlas: A-

The weather was too windy. The Hawkeyes were too everything else.

Jeff Johnson: B

As in “blah,” which kind of described this one. Actually, so did “beatdown.” And “brief,” considering it lasted only two hours and 49 minutes.


According to Blair Sanderson of, Iowa hosted 46 potential recruits Saturday. One of those was Eric Epenesa, brother of Hawkeye defensive end A.J. Epenesa. Eric Epenesa is a junior wide receiver and outside linebacker who is just 6 foot and 160 pounds. A.J. checks in at 6-5 and 277. Others in attendance were commit Jack Campbell of Cedar Falls and walk-on commit Taylor Fox of East Buchanan.

• Dignitaries in the press box included two representatives from the Citrus Bowl, New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio and director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort. Kansas City Chiefs college scouting director Greg Castillo also was here. On the field was former Hawkeye cornerback Josh Jackson, now with the Green Bay Packers.

• True freshman quarterback Spencer Petras made his Hawkeyes debut late in the fourth quarter. The Californian threw one pass, an incompletion in the end zone that sailed over tight end Shaun Beyer’s head and just shy of diving wide receiver Kyle Groeneweg. Petras is the ninth true freshman to see playing time this season for Iowa, though only defensive backs Julius Brents, Riley Moss and Kaevon Merriweather have surpassed the four-game threshold for not being able to redshirt.

• Kicker Miguel Recinos made a career-best three field goals (23, 25 and 36 yards). He also hit both of his extra-point tries, his 11 points giving him 138 for his career. Recinos surpassed Danan Hughes, Owen Gill and Nick Bell on Iowa’s all-time scoring list with the big day.


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• Punter Colton Rastetter’s improvement continues. The former Clayton Ridge prep had only two kicks, but they averaged 46.5 yards. He had a 48-yarder into a 30-mile-per-hour wind in which he rolled left and booted the ball across the field to his right, a long forward roll pinning Maryland inside it 20.

• Austin Kelly had the first two carries of his career, accounting for seven yards and a pair of first downs. Kelly is a senior from Hickory Hills, Ill., who replaced the injured Brady Ross at fullback for Iowa. Kelly has one career catch, coming last season.

• Maryland’s Wade Lees punted six times for an average of 34.7 yards. At 30, Lees is the oldest player in the Big Ten Conference and second-oldest in the FBS this season. He is from Australia, dropped out of school at age 17, became a promising Australian League Football player but was suspended in 2012 for purchasing a weight-loss supplemented that contained a banned substance. He eventually made his way to ProKick Australia, a development program that helps Australian kickers and punters find their way to the United States for college and pro opportunities.

By the numbers

10 — Number of shutouts in the Ferentz era. This was Iowa’s first one since 2016 against Illinois.

21:50 — That was Iowa’s advantage in time of possession, which is pretty incredible.

39 — Number of plays Saturday for Maryland, the fewest by an opponent in Ferentz’s 20 years as Iowa head coach. That goes back to those above numbers.

115 — Maryland’s yardage total. The Terrapins came in averaging 365. That’s the fewest yards a Ferentz-coached team has allowed against a Big Ten opponent.

169 — There’s your game duration for this one in minutes. Two hours and 49 minutes for a college football game in this era? That’s unheard of.

224 — Saturday’s season-high rushing total for Iowa.


Injury report

Cornerback Matt Hankins missed the game with wrist and hamstring injuries for Iowa. The Hawkeyes rolled again with two true freshmen at the corner spots: Riley Moss and Julius Brents.

Nick Niemann returned at outside linebacker, after missing the previous two games with a leg injury. Running back Ivory Kelly-Martin also came back, starting at running back after missing last week’s game at Indiana with a concussion.

Others out, as expected, were fullback Brady Ross (ankle) and linebacker Jack Hockaday (knee). Iowa appeared to come out of Saturday’s game relatively unscathed, sans, perhaps, running back Toren Young, who appeared to ding up his shoulder on a carry in the second half.

Up next

Iowa heads back to the road next week, taking on 16th-ranked Penn State at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions were 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten going into their game Saturday at Indiana. Kickoff next Saturday is 2:30 p.m. (ABC).

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