IOWA CITY, Iowa — Wind Bowl 2018 ended with the 19th-ranked University of Iowa football team posting its first shutout since the 2016 season with a dominating 23-0 Homecoming victory over Maryland on Saturday afternoon inside a sold out Kinnick Stadium.
The Hawkeyes held the ball for more than 40 minutes — 40:55 — and limited the Terrapins to 115 yards to move to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play. Iowa is bowl eligible for the 17th time in the last 18 seasons.
Iowa’s defense was suffocating and the Hawkeyes employed a ball-control offense to neutralize northwest winds that included gusts as strong as 35-40 miles per hour.
The Hawkeyes limited the Terps to 115 yards — 200 yards below their season average — and the fewest in a Big Ten game under head coach Kirk Ferentz. The yardage is the fewest by an Iowa opponent since 2010 (112 vs. Ball State). Maryland didn’t eclipse the 100-yard mark until its final drive of the game.
Iowa held Maryland’s rushing attack to 68 rushing yards. The Terps’ offense entered the game with the nation’s 17th-best rushing attack at 245.2 yards per game.
Senior Jake Gervase led Iowa’s defense with six tackles, while senior Parker Hesse had five stops, including one sack and two tackles for loss. Iowa forced two turnovers in the game — a second-quarter Amani Hooker interception and a third-quarter fumble recovery for a touchdown by Anthony Nelson.
Offensively, Iowa rode its rushing attack on a day when weather dictated the script. The Hawkeyes rushed for a season-high 224 yards on 52 attempts. Sophomore Ivory Kelly-Martin had a career-high 98 yards on 24 carries, while sophomores Mekhi Sargent (10-54) and Toren Young (9-21) combined for 75 more yards.
Junior quarterback Nate Stanley completed 11-of-22 attempts for 86 yards and one touchdown — a 10-yarder to sophomore Brandon Smith in the waning seconds of the first half.
DOMINATING THE T.O.P.
Iowa controlled the action, holding a 40:55 to 19:05 advantage in time of possession. The Hawkeyes held the ball for all but 1:20 of the first quarter where they had a 34-7 advantage in plays.
Iowa held a 22:49-7:11 advantage in time of possession in the first half. The Hawkeyes ran 44 plays to Maryland’s 16, and out-gained the Terps 205-46 in total yards.
The time of possession is the second highest in the Ferentz era (41:53 vs. Kent State in 2014).
The Hawkeyes ran 76 plays in the game compared to 39 for Maryland — the fewest by an opponent in the Ferentz era. Iowa had 22 first downs and allowed just seven — two of which came on the Terps’ final possession.
WHEN IT WAS OVER
With Iowa leading 16-0 late in the third quarter, junior punter Colten Rastetter pinned the Terrapins deep in their own territory with a 45-yard punt that caromed out of bounds at the 10. After rushing for no gain on first down, Maryland quarterback Tyrell Pigrome collided with wide receiver Brian Cobbs while he was in motion, jarring the ball loose and it was inadvertently kicked into the end zone.
Junior Anthony Nelson pounced on the fumble for Iowa’s first defensive touchdown of the season, extending the lead to 23-0 with 3:31 left in the third quarter. Iowa has scored at least one defensive touchdown in each of the last 11 seasons.
QUOTING HEAD COACH KIRK FERENTZ
“I am pleased to get the victory. They’re hard fought all the time, and I congratulate the team on earning their sixth victory, which makes us bowl eligible, and that’s certainly not the final stop, but never want to take that for granted. It’s significant, and just we never want to take that for granted.
“I am happy with our team’s performance today. You play a team like Maryland, they pose some unique challenges, and you factor in the conditions on top of it, our guys did a good job of being focused, doing the things they had to do to be successful, and overall it was a good day.”
“Our effort was good out on the field, but bigger picture, the week’s preparation was really good. The guys were on top of things the way they needed to be, and then it has been a trend with these guys over the last seven, eight weeks. They’ve shown up every week and did their best to get ready for the game, and they show up and compete.
“You get into a game like this with the weather being like it was, and they were calling for that earlier in the week, so they nailed it that way. It does kind of limit what happens. It’s not exactly like the bowl game but similar in some ways where you have to be smart about what you do and be realistic about it.
“All in all, we really did a good job of doing the things we had to do today, and that included all three phases. The defense played a tremendous game, the offense did a great job of possessing the ball and keeping it on the ground, and I can’t say enough about our special teams, especially our specialists. There’s nothing routine, starting with the deep snap, Jackson Subbert did a great job and then both Miguel (Recinos) and Colten (Rastetter) did a tremendous job. Colten didn’t have to do a lot, and that’s good, but both those punts were big. With Miguel, there’s nothing easy about what he did today.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
After turning the ball over via a Nate Stanley interception on the first drive of the game, the Hawkeyes followed with their longest drive of the season in both plays (17) and time of possession (9:04) to take a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.
With the wind howling, Iowa rushed 11 times for 38 yards on the series. The Hawkeyes converted a fourth-and-2 when senior Nick Easley show outstanding body control on a ball thrown behind him to make a 12-yard reception, moving Iowa to the 34. Recinos’ 23-yard field goal gave Iowa a 3-0 lead.
Iowa pushed its lead to 6-0 with an 11-play, 40-yard drive on its first series of the second quarter. Sophomore Mekhi Sargent keyed the possession, running for gains of 4, 9, and 10 yards on successive plays to start the series. The Hawkeyes converted a fourth-and-3 with a 7-yard screen pass to Noah Fant, but Iowa settled on Recinos’ 25-yard field goal.
After safety Amani Hooker intercepted Kasim Hill and returned it 13 yards to the Iowa 42, the Hawkeyes put together its first touchdown drive — a 10-play, 58-yarder — to make the score 13-0. Stanley’s 13-yard run on a quarterback draw on third-and-9 picked up a first down with 58 seconds to play in the half, and Iowa took advantage of a Terrapin personal foul to move to the 11.
On third-and-9 from the 10, Stanley connected with Brandon Smith on a fade route in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown with eight seconds left. Smith caught his first career touchdown pass despite a pass interference penalty on the play.
Iowa stretched its lead to 16-0 with a 10-play, 27-yard scoring drive on its first possession of the second half. The Hawkeyes converted two third downs on the series via a 13-yard screen to T.J. Hockenson and a 9-yard completion to Noah Fant. After seeing the drive end at the 16, Recinos connected on his third field goal — a 36-yarder.
Saturday was Iowa’s 10th shutout of the Ferentz era. Maryland is the fourth opponent Iowa has held to a season-low in points (Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Indiana, Maryland).
The Hawkeyes led 13-0 at half. It was the third time this season Iowa held its opponent scoreless in the first half (Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa).
The last time Iowa played a game without being penalized was Sept. 30, 2006, vs. Ohio State (L, 38-17).
Iowa has won six of its first seven games for the fourth time in Kirk Ferentz’s 20 seasons (2018, 6-1; 2015, 7-0; 2009, 7-0; 2002, 6-1).
Senior Miguel Recinos kicked a career-best three field goals. He was perfect on two extra-point attempts. He scored 11 points today and has 138 career points, 21st all-time in program history. He moved past Danan Hughes (128), Owen Gill (132), and Nick Bell (128) today on Iowa’s career scoring list.
ON THE HORIZON
The Hawkeyes return to action Oct. 27, traveling to University Park, Pennsylvania, to face No. 18/16 Penn State at 2:30 p.m. (CT).