COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — Just in case doubters remained about the Iowa Hawkeyes football team, given the methodical and plodding reputation that has preceded it over the past two decades, its demolition of a fellow undefeated Big Ten team on the road in a nationally-televised primetime affair signaled to every doubting Thomas to take the Hawkeyes lightly at your own risk in 2021.
Quarterback Spencer Petras accounted for five total touchdowns and Iowa’s defense forced a whopping seven turnovers — including four in the decisive second quarter — as it steamrolled Maryland 51-14 on Friday night.
Of those seven turnovers forced by the Hawkeyes, five came in the first half and four of those in the second quarter, when the Hawkeyes outscored the Terrapins 31-0 to put the game on ice early. The first of the four Maryland second-quarter turnovers proved costly in more ways than one, as wide receiver Dontay Demus fumbled and remained on the ground injured on a kickoff return after Petras scored on a quarterback sneak to give the Hawkeyes a 10-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter. Demus, who had four catches for 61 yards in the first quarter and started the day leading the Big Ten and ranked 11th in the FBS in receiving yards (446), was carted off the field with an apparent leg injuty.
Iowa recovered the fumble at the Maryland 10, and took advantage when Petras threw an 8-yard score to receiver Arland Bruce IV to extend the lead to 17-7.
Going into tonight, Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa had thrown just one interception all season, but the Hawkeyes defense, after it went up 17-7, proceeded to pick off Tagovailoa’s next two passes. A deflected pass was picked by Iowa safety Jack Koerner, which led to Petras’ second touchdown sneak and a 24-7 lead, and a Dane Belton interception on the Terps’ ensuing drive led to a Monte Pottebaum two-yard touchdown run and a 24-point lead halfway through the second quarter.
Maryland’s lackluster performance in a primetime game had a tinge of déjà vu to it, as it similarly went into a primetime game on a Friday night in 2019 with a lot of momentum before being shellacked 59-0 at the hands of then-No. 12 Penn State. Along with the seven giveaways, Maryland also committed 10 penalties and gained just 271 yards of total offense, compared to the Hawkeyes’ 428.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s game, with all the photos produced by DC-area photographer Clifford Ray Williams. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 19 pictures in total.