The Iowa Hawkeyes started the 69th Orange Bowl with a record-setting 100 yard kickoff return from C.J. Jones, but that was one of the few big plays as they fell to U.S.C 38-17. Jones’ kickoff was the longest in Orange Bowl history, and the first time the opening kickoff was ever returned for a touchdown. Iowa was plagued by penalties, a turnover and a blocked field goal that kept them from scoring after moving the ball to the one yard line with seconds remaining in the first half. Even with that, they were tied 10-10 at halftime.
The second half didn’t go much better as the Hawkeye offense couldn’t get it going, while the Trojans turned it on. Iowa quarterback Brad Banks says he never felt he got into a rythm and says he may’ve been trying too hard at times to make plays and get them back into the game. Iowa was nearly held without an offensive touchdown, but did get the ball into the endzone late in the fourth quarter with 34 seconds remaining. Banks did run for 36 yards, giving him the all-time Iowa record for quarterback rushing yards. USC quarterback Carson Palmer, the Heisman Trophy winner, was named the game’s MVP.An estimated 45-thousand Iowa fans traveled to Miami for the game, and U-of-I officials say that’s the most ever for a Hawkeye bowl game. Iowa finishes it’s record season at 11-2.