Iowa quiets the questions in stunning rout at Maryland
The only thing that could keep the Hawkeyes off the scoreboard after a turnover was time.
The first half expired as Terry Roberts picked off Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, ending Iowa’s streak of scoring on every possession after a turnover at 13.
“Got the turnovers and responded — turned them into points,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said after the game.
The Hawkeyes came into the game with 51 points off 9 turnovers. Before that last pass of the half, Iowa had increased those numbers to 75 points off 13 turnovers — and turned a 7-3 deficit into a 34-7 lead.
Iowa scored 21 of those 31 points — the most in a quarter since 2002 — in just over 4 minutes. So what exactly happened in the second? Maryland made it as easy as 1-2-3.
The Hawkeyes started at the 1-yard line and quarterback Spencer Petras punched it in, his first of two touchdowns on the ground and three through the air.
One play later: The kickoff fumble
On the ensuing kickoff, tragedy struck the Terrapins. Dontay Demus, who had been dynamic on Maryland’s touchdown drive and already had amassed 61 yards, lost the ball and the Terps lost him for the game. Iowa had the ball at its 10 and two plays later, Petras found Arland Bruce, who snagged his first touchdown as Iowa extended its lead to 10.
“You sit on the bench for two seconds and you’re right back out,” Petras said.
Two plays later: Interception
And it happened again, as Tagovailoa — on the first play after the touchback — threw a ball that was tipped by Jack Campbell and intercepted by Jack Koerner. Iowa was in business again at the 26 and Petras delivered another 1-yard sneak into the end zone.
Three plays later: Interception
Dane Belton, who recovered Koerner’s fumble on the last interception, got one of his own that turned into the first touchdown for fullback Monte Pottebaum.
“Disappointed. Disappointed for our fans. Disappointed for our supporters and for our team,” said Maryland coach Michael Locksley, whose team was looking for its first win over a Top 5 team since 2004. “Give Iowa credit. They’re a football team that took full advantage of the opportunities we presented.”
“Coming up with those big plays, I don’t think anybody could have seen that coming,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “None of us expected it. Their guys have done a great job protecting the football.”
And his side continued to do just that — no turnovers to Maryland’s seven.
“Clean game,” Ferentz said. “We talk about trying to play clean football as one of our goals.”
Ferentz gives a lot of the credit for that to quarterback Spencer Petras, who was 21-for-30 for 259 yards. Those five touchdowns and some impressive — and aggressive — drives should help quiet the critics. His coach and running back are clearly not among them.
“We as a staff probably look at it a little differently than maybe the rest of the world,” Ferentz said. “We think he’s been pretty good for us. … I don’t think anybody’s surprised in our camp about how he played tonight..”
And the name that keeps coming up alongside Petras’? Brad Banks, this time for being the first Iowa quarterback since 2002 with multiple passing and rushing touchdowns in the same game.
Ferentz also praised the gold-clad fans that broke through the “blackout” and the noise of a night game.
“They were really vocal, so that made things a little easier for us,” Ferentz said.
One of his biggest fans came to mind when trying to put this victory in perspective.
“The bottom line is to win games. Like it or not, my wife’s been saying it for about 40 years,” Ferentz said. “It was a really good win for our team and I think a really important one for us as well.”
Some say the clock is ticking on these Iowa turnovers, saying the defense can’t possibly do this every week. And yet they do.
Now the idea that Petras and the offense need to be bailed out is starting to run out of time as well — they scored on nine consecutive possessions.
And if the fans in Maryland are any indication, Kinnick Stadium will be a madhouse when Penn State comes to play next week.
The Nittany Lions jumped ahead of the Hawkeyes last week, but Ferentz knows the stat that matters.
“All said and done, we’re a 5-0 team.”