Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Defense

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Defense

Big Ten

Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Defense

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Biggest Key To The Iowa Hawkeyes Defense

Be a whole lot better on third down conversions.

This all falls under the formula that Iowa needs to get right for it all to work. If it’s not going to be a 40-point-per-game team, and it’s going to rely on great defense, coaching, and special teams to take over most games, it has to do all of the little things right.

This year, with the revamped D, getting off the field matters more than ever.

Overall the Iowa defense was great, and it will be again after the new starters come into place, but when it couldn’t stop long marches, there was a problem.

In 2014, Iowa lost to Wisconsin 26-24 after allowing the Badger O to convert on 54% of their third down tries. That was the last time the Hawkeyes D allowed anyone to convert more than 50% of their attempts before Penn State converted on 53% of its chances in the 17-12 victory in mid-October of last season.

A few weeks later, Wisconsin hammered away for over 57% of its third down tries in a 24-22 win.

By the way, the Hawkeyes are 1-8 over the last eight years when allowing teams to convert more than half of their third down chances.

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Biggest Key To The Maryland Terrapins Defense

Find something it can do well. The Terp D suffered from an O that seemed like it wanted to get off the field as soon as possible, but it also didn’t do itself any favors.

Worst of all, the D got worse. Granted, the team went younger and younger as the season went on to get the new parts into the mix, but the line got killed for 300 rushing yards or more in a run of three games in four towards the end.

The secondary? It allowed more than 300 yards six times, and gave up over 400 in two of those. The pass rush wasn’t steady, there weren’t enough takeaways, and …

The defense needs to find a positive identity.

NEXT: Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans

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