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Poor tackling, too many penalties and 3 turnovers doom Iowa in 38-31 loss to Maryland

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COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz didn't have much positive to say about an uncharacteristically subpar performance by his football team.

"The things that we're known for doing when we play well, I can't think of one of those things that we did today," Ferentz said Saturday after the Hawkeyes blew an early 14-point lead in a 38-31 defeat.

Iowa (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) gave up 212 yards rushing, offered very little protection to quarterback Jake Rudock and was penalized seven times for 65 yards. Oh, there was also the matter of three costly turnovers, one of them an interception that provided the Terrapins (5-2, 2-1) with a pivotal fourth-quarter touchdown.

"We have a reputation of being a team that blocks cleanly, and we didn't do that today," Ferentz said. "We tend to defend the run pretty well and tackle well. We didn't do that today. By my count, five major penalties. You do those kinds of things and expect to overcome them, it puts a lot of pressure on you."

Rudock went 32 for 56 for 317 yards and two touchdowns, and Mark Weisman ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns.

But the defense couldn't stop the Terrapins, who totaled 418 yards and averaged 4.6 per carry.

"We just didn't tackle very well. They had something to do with that; their guys played hard," Ferentz said. "But we're going to play other teams that run hard, too, so if we don't tackle better than that it's going to be hard to win games."

After taking a 14-0 lead, the Hawkeyes yielded 24 straight points. It was 24-21 before Will Likely picked off a Rudock pass and sprinted 45 yards untouched into the end zone with 12:29 left.

"It was a bad decision," Rudock conceded.

Stefon Diggs caught nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown for Maryland, playing its first season in the Big Ten after leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Terps are now 1-1 at home in league play after losing 52-24 to Ohio State two weeks ago.

Maryland starting quarterback C.J. Brown was temporarily knocked out of the game in the third quarter after taking a hard hit to the upper body. Backup Caleb Rowe wasn't available after tearing his left ACL in practice on Tuesday — an injury announced by Maryland on Saturday.

PHOTO: Maryland defensive back William Likely (4) runs an interception back for a touchdown against Iowa as fellow defensive back Sean Davis (21) reacts during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, in College Park, Md. Maryland won 38-31. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Maryland defensive back William Likely (4) runs an interception back for a touchdown against Iowa as fellow defensive back Sean Davis (21) reacts during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, in College Park, Md. Maryland won 38-31. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Sophomore Perry Hills replaced Brown and threw a 53-yard touchdown to Diggs for a 24-14 lead, but the Hawkeyes answered with a 51-yard drive in which Weisman ran for 38 yards before bulling in from the 2.

Minutes later, Likely went the distance with Rudock's ill-advised throw.

"They were running that play a lot," Likely said. "The defensive line put good pressure to make the ball come out quick and I was just able to make a play on it."

Brown returned with 8:37 remaining and directed a 54-yard drive that produced Wes Brown's second 1-yard touchdown run with 4:58 left, giving Maryland a 38-21 advantage.

Iowa scored 10 points in the final three minutes and got the ball back with 59 seconds to go but could not get into Maryland territory.

C.J. Brown went 12 for 23 for 120 yards and two interceptions. He also ran for 99 yards on 21 carries.

After a horrid start, Maryland limited Iowa to 53 yards in the second quarter and rallied to take a 17-14 halftime lead.

A good portion of the homecoming crowd of 48,373 had not yet arrived when defensive end Drew Ott intercepted a pass by Brown on the first play from scrimmage to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Weisman.

Marcus Leak then dropped a potential touchdown pass before the Terrapins punted.

Rudock opened the possession with a 52-yard completion to Damon Bullock and converted a fourth-and-5 from the Maryland 9 before throwing a 2-yard TD pass to Henry Krieger Coble.

"We got off to a very fast start, so that's one positive we can cite today," Ferentz said.

A 23-yard touchdown run by Jacquille Veii got the Terps to 14-7, and minutes later Maryland kicked a field goal after recovering an Iowa fumble.

Wes Brown's touchdown run gave the Terrapins their first lead with 6:47 left in the half.

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