The 25th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes got behind early — with a blocked punt and an interception both returned for touchdowns by Florida in the first half — and couldn’t dig out in a 31-24 loss to the 16th ranked Gators in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. A controversial call in which Iowa recovered an onside kick late in the game but was called for being offside, killed the Hawkeyes chance of going for the tying score.
Two penalties also helped Florida get a score late in the first half. Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz said he couldn’t comment on the officials, “Probably the best thing I could say is that, I thought the crew demonstrated great consistency throughout the game.” Ferentz says the turnovers hurt by putting them in too big a hole. He says they made too many mistakes throughout the game, but he’s proud of the way the team fought back.
Ferentz says the punt block for a touchdown after Iowa stalled on its first drive was puzzling. Ferentz says he’s still not sure what happened, he says it might have been a busted play, either way he says it was a tough way to start the game. Florida faked a punt deep in their own with just over four minutes to go — and got the first down to keep the ball and hurt Iowa’s comeback chances.
Ferentz says it was a great call on Florida’s part.
Iowa sophomore defensive end Bryan Mattison says the team never felt it was out of the game. He says that’s one of the qualities of coach Ferentz, he brings in kids that don’t give up. Mattison refused to say the botched calls by the officials cost them the game. Mattison says, ” You can’t ever blame a game on the refs, it should never come down to that. Sure the calls could’ve gone either way, I’m sure there’s some that could’ve thought could’ve gone their way and they didn’t.” Iowa finishes its season at 7-5.