COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A smothering defense – one that forced five first-half turnovers and seven for the game – and an efficient offense – one that scored on nine consecutive possessions — led the fifth-ranked University of Iowa football team to a 51-14 romp of Maryland in a battle of unbeatens on Friday night at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.
The Terrapins led 7-3 through the first 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes and 31 unanswered points later, the Hawkeyes took a 34-7 advantage into the locker room.
Iowa scored 21 points in the span of 4:04 in the second quarter, forced four Terrapin turnovers and limited Maryland to just nine plays and 28 yards. The Hawkeyes then went on to out-score the Terps, 17-7, in the second half.
“Everyone was doing their jobs today and we reaped the benefits,” said senior Riley Moss. “It was a fun one for sure. The turnovers happened because everyone was doing their job and they didn’t do anything flashy or crazy. They were doing their jobs and good things came from it.”
Offensively, Iowa piled up 428 yards of total offense with 145 coming on the ground and 283 through the air. Junior Spencer Petras had his best game as a Hawkeye, completing 21-of-30 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored twice on the ground.
Junior Tyler Goodson finished with 151 yards of total offense – with 66 yards coming on 19 attempts on the ground and 85 yards coming on two receptions, including a 67-yard touchdown reception. Freshman Arland Bruce IV caught a career-high six balls for 43 yards and a touchdown and Sam LaPorta had five catches for 49 yards.
Defensively, six different Hawkeyes tallied interceptions – Riley Moss, Kaevon Merriweather, Terry Roberts, Jack Koerner, Dane Belton and Quinn Schulte — and Iowa had seven takeaways. They are the most in a single game since 1987 against Northwestern (8).
The Hawkeyes limited the Terps to 271 yards in the game. Moss also had a team-high five tackles – all solo.
QUOTING COACH FERENTZ
“What a great effort by our players, it was phenomenal. Our players did a fantastic job. It was easily our best outing, I am proud of them.
“It was a phenomenal effort by our (defense) and the offense did a great job taking those and cashing them in for points. There were a lot of really good growth moments tonight.
“The second quarter was crazy. In my wildest dreams, I didn’t expect this tonight. There guy comes in with 10 touchdowns and one interception. Our defense did a great job. We were getting pressure up front, they were making him uncomfortable and the guy were ball hawking in the secondary. They are having fun playing and a lot of that is preparation. One thing I am happier about is a short week, they are wired in.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Hawkeyes forced the game’s first turnover in the opening quarter when Riley Moss intercepted Tagovailoa at midfield. Iowa drove 27 yards – with a 10-yard completion to Nico Ragaini and a 13-yard Goodson rush – to the Terps’ 27. After the drive stalled, Caleb Shudak connected from 41 yards out to give Iowa a 3-0 lead.
- Maryland used two big plays to jumpstart an eight-play, 69-yard scoring drive. Tagovailoa opened the drive with a 26-yard completion to Dontay Demus to midfield and the Terps converted a third-and-9 with another 22-yard pass to Demus. Maryland grabbed the 7-3 lead on a 9-yard touchdown pass to Chigoziem Okonkwo with 3:37 left in the first quarter.
- Iowa answered with an eight-play, 59-yard touchdown drive. Goodson opened the series with runs of 5, 6 and 5 yards to the Maryland 43 before Petras hit LaPorta for 16 and Goodson for 18 in the passing game. On the first play of the second quarter, Petras scored on a quarterback sneak to push Iowa’s lead to 10-7.
- The Hawkeyes forced the game’s second turnover on the ensuing kickoff when Sebastian Castro forced a Demus fumble and Jay Higgins recovered, giving Iowa a short field at the 10. On the second play of the drive, Petras connected with Arland Bruce VI for an 8-yard touchdown pass. It was Bruce’s first career touchdown.
- On the first play of Maryland’s next drive, the turnover bug hit the Terps again. Tagovailoa targeted Rakim Jarrett in the middle of the field, but linebacker Jack Campbell tipped the pass and Jack Koerner secured the interception and returned it to the Maryland 26. Koerner fumbled at the tail end of the return, but Belton fended off a plethora of Terp defenders, giving Iowa possession.
- The Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 24-7, covering 26 yards over six plays. Iowa was the beneficiary of a roughing the passer penalty by Maryland and Petras scored his second touchdown with a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
- Iowa forced its third consecutive turnover on the second play of the ensuing possession when Belton intercepted a Tagovailoa pass at the Maryland 45. After three Goodson rushes moved Iowa to the 29, the Hawkeyes took advantage of consecutive pass interference calls before fullback Monte Pottebaum scored from 2-yards out to push the Iowa lead to 31-7 with 5:46 left in the first half.
- After forcing a Maryland punt, Iowa put three more points on the board with a nine-play, 46-yard scoring drive. Ivory Kelly-Martin rushed for 38 yards on the possession, including a 16-yard scamper on third-and-17 to the Terps’ 36. The rush set up a Shudak 38-yard field goal that pushed the lead to 34-7.
- The Hawkeyes scored for the seventh consecutive possession on their opening drive of the second half. On second-and-22, Petras hit Goodson out of the backfield, he made a juke and was gone, out-racing two Terp defenders for a 67-yard touchdown reception that pushed the lead to 41-7.
- Iowa put three more points on the board with a seven play, 29-yard scoring drive. Charlie Jones’ 15-yard punt return gave the Hawkeyes starting field position in Maryland territory and Petras connected with Jones for a 31-yard over the shoulder catch to the 9. Iowa pushed its lead to 44-7 via Shudak’s 32-yard field goal – his third of the night.
- Maryland ended Iowa’s 41 unanswered points with an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive. On the second play, Tagovailoa hit Corey Dyches for 38-yards into Iowa territory and a pass interference call moved the Terps to the 2. On third-and goal, Maryland found the end zone via a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett, making the score 44-14.
- The Hawkeyes scored their sixth touchdown with their longest drive of the game – an 11-play, 82-yarder. Petras completed three passes to LaPorta on the drive and Kelly-Martin had a tough 27-yard rush to the 7. On the next play, Petras found Tyrone Tracy, Jr., for a 7-yard touchdown in the flat as the Hawkeyes topped the 50-point mark, making the score 51-14 with 14:18 to play.
- Iowa has won its last 11 games. The Hawkeyes have outscored their last 11 opponents, 380-141, averaging 34.5 points per game offensively and allowing 12.8 ppg during the winning streak. Iowa has won 11 straight for the first time since opening the 2015 season with 12 straight wins. Iowa reached the Big Ten Championship game and accepted an invitation to the 2016 Rose Bowl game.
- Petras improved to 11-2 as Iowa’s starting quarterback, matching the best winning percentage by a starting quarterback in program history (Brad Banks, 11-2, .846).
- Petras has led Iowa to 11 consecutive wins. He was 21-of-30 for 259 yards passing Friday. He matches his career-high with three touchdown passes. Petras is 177-of-293 with 2,031 passing yards during Iowa’s 11-game winning streak. He has thrown 15 touchdowns and three interceptions over the last 11 games.
- Petras had two 1-yard touchdown rushes in the second quarter. He has three rushing touchdowns this season, five in his career (1, 3, 9, 1, 1). Friday was his first career multi-touchdown game. Petras is the first Iowa quarterback with multiple pass touchdowns and rush touchdown in the same game since Brad Banks in 2002 at Minnesota.
- Petras connected with Goodson for a 67-yard touchdown in the third quarter. It was a career-long pass for Petras and a career-long reception for Goodson.
- Moss intercepted a pass in the first quarter, his third of the season and the ninth of his career (tied for 15th all-time in program history). Iowa turned the turnover into a field goal.
- Castro forced a fumble in the second quarter on a Maryland kickoff return and Higgins recovered it, a career first for both. Iowa turned the turnover into a touchdown.
- Koerner intercepted a pass in the second quarter, his first of the season and fifth of his career. Iowa turned the turnover into a touchdown.
- Belton recorded his second career interception. Iowa turned the turnover into a touchdown.
- Defensive back Terry Roberts intercepted a pass to end the first half. It was his first career interception.
- Safety Kaevon Merriweather intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter, the first interception of his career.
- Bruce IV scored his first career touchdown in the second quarter, an 8-yard reception. He recorded career highs in receptions (6) and receiving yards (43).
- Pottebaum’s second quarter rushing touchdown (2 yards) was his first career touchdown. Pottebaum had career highs in carries (3) and yards (15).
- Iowa scored 31 points in the second quarter, the most points scored in a single quarter since scoring 37 in the first quarter against Akron on Aug. 31, 2002. The 31 points scored in a Big Ten game are the most by a Hawkeye team since putting up 35 points on Illinois in the first quarter in 1985.
- Six different Hawkeyes intercepted a pass Friday, tying a school record for most players with an interception in a single game (vs. Wisconsin in 1982). The six interceptions are the most in a game since Iowa had a school-record seven interceptions vs. Wisconsin in 1982. Iowa leads the Big Ten with 12 interceptions. Iowa has 76 interception since 2017, more than any team in the country.
- Iowa had six takeaways, its most in a single game single game since 2009 at Iowa State (6). The Hawkeye defense has scored 20 points this season (3 TDs and 1 safety).
- Iowa scored points following its first four takeaways, turning the four takeaways into 24 points. The Hawkeyes have scored 75 points on 15 takeaways this season.
- Iowa has played 27 straight games without surrendering 25 points, the longest streak in the nation among Power 5 teams.
- Iowa has won eight straight games against Big Ten opponents (2020-21) for the fourth time in program history (2001-02 (10), 2008-09 (8), 2015(8)).
- Iowa has won eight straight games played on a Friday.
The Hawkeyes host Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 9, at Kinnick Stadium. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. The game is televised on FOX.