- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Maryland’s offense seemed to be improving in recent weeks.

No. 10 Iowa made it look worse than ever.

Desmond King had an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and Iowa beat Maryland, 31-15, on Saturday for its eighth consecutive victory to open the season.

Akrum Wadley, LeShun Daniels and Derrick Mitchell had touchdown runs for the Hawkeyes (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten). They’ll enter November unbeaten for just the second time in 17 seasons under coach Kirk Ferentz.

Will Likely had a 100-yard kickoff return for the Terrapins (2-6, 0-4 Big Ten), but Maryland’s Perry Hills threw for just 74 yards with three picks and the Terrapins scored just one offensive touchdowns. They’d averaged 29 points in losses to Ohio State and Penn State.

The Terrapins entered play last in the nation in turnover margin and lost another fumble, too.

“I feel like we didn’t play with the same energy that we played with last week,” interim Maryland coach Mike Locksley said. “We didn’t make enough plays and turnovers became a major issue for us again.”

Iowa used a touchdown late in the second quarter to lead, 21-0, at halftime. The Hawkeyes defense took over from there, and King’s return put the Hawkeyes ahead, 31-7, with 7:38 left.

Maryland got within 21-7 early in the fourth quarter on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Hills to Taivon Jacobs, capping a drive highlighted by Iowa penalties.

Marshall Koehn’s 49-yard field goal pushed Iowa’s cushion back to 17 points with 11 minutes left. The Terrapins quickly drove deep into Iowa territory, but King stepped in front of Hills’ pass for his second career touchdown.

Likely took the subsequent kickoff back for a touchdown, and the Terrapins tacked on a two-point conversion, but Iowa was able to run out the clock in the first of five games against teams that, save for Minnesota, will struggle for bowl eligibility.

Hills rushed for 104 yards and was 11-for-20 passing for Maryland.

“He’s a grinder. He made some plays and … he continues to fight,” Locksley said. “However, we have to protect the football.”

Iowa had a bye last week, allowing some of its key players to heal from injuries and leaving the Hawkeyes rejuvenated — for a half, anyway.

Daniels had been hobbled since mid-September with a sprained ankle. He finished Iowa’s first scoring drive on a one-yard touchdown run.

Wadley was buried on the bench because of fumbling issues and only got a chance because Daniels and Jordan Canzeri were injured against Northwestern two weeks ago. Wadley got the start on Saturday and made it 14-0 on an 11-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter. He finished with 67 yards rushing.

Iowa’s final drive of the first half epitomized just how much things have improved in 2015.

Iowa pinned Maryland deep in its own territory with less than two minutes left. Ferentz — criticized heavily for his clock management in the past — wisely used a pair of timeouts in hopes of getting the ball back. The Hawkeyes then partially blocked a punt to set up great field position, and Mitchell’s two-yard run gave Iowa a 21-0 lead.

Maryland got within 14 points as Iowa struggled to move the ball in the second half, but for the most part, the Terrapins reverted to the form that saw them score just six points over consecutive losses to West Virginia and Michigan.

“Each week we come in here and talk about turnovers, and we have to find a way to get it right,” Locksley said.

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