Hawkeyes Humbled In Outback Bowl
The Iowa Hawkeyes were competitive early but faded in the second half in a 30-3 loss to the Florida Gators in Monday's Outback Bowl in Tampa.
After a tightly-contested first half left Iowa trailing just 10-3 at halftime, the Gators capitalized on a host of Hawkeye mistakes in the second half, outscoring Iowa 20-0. The Hawkeyes intercepted Florida QB Austin Appleby twice in the opening half, but wound up with just the one score to show for it. Kicker Keith Duncan missed a field goal, and Iowa was stopped on the one-yard line on a 4th-and-goal play near the end of the first half. Late in the second quarter, the Gators went ahead for good on an 85-yard TD pass from Appleby to Mark Thompson.
Florida continually put pressure on Iowa's QB C.J. Beathard, who tried to play through an injured hamstring for much of the game. Beathard put up the worst numbers of his career--likely in part due to his injured leg--completing just 7 of 23 passes for 55 yards and three interceptions, including bowl MVP Chauncey Gardner’s 58-yard pick six in the fourth quarter.
Florida outgained the Hawkeyes 332 to 226. Iowa's 3-point effort was their lowest in a bowl game since 1993. Against top competition (Florida, Stanford, Tennessee, LSU and Oklahoma) in the postseason, Iowa has now been outscored 172-75 in its last five bowls, losing all five. [Cedar Rapids Gazette]
It was a dreadful bowl season overall for the Big Ten, which dropped 7 of their 9 matchups--only Wisconsin and Minnesota earned victories (Maryland, Penn State, Northwestern, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa all lost).