The Iowa Hawkeyes will play 15th ranked LSU in the Outback Bowl in Tampa on New Years Day. It will complete a bounce back year for a program that missed out on a bowl in 2012 with a 4-8 record. The Hawkeyes are 8-4, after finishing the regular season with three straight wins, and will take on an LSU team that is 9-3.
Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz says he told they team they would probably play a team that is very recognizable and is ranked. “What else can you ask for? We’ve got plenty of time to get prepared just like they will.”
It will be the second time Iowa and LSU have met in a bowl game. Back in the 2005 Capitol One Bowl Drew Tate hit Warren Holloway with a 56 yard touchdown pass as time expired for a 30-25 Iowa win. The Tigers will be without senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who suffered a knee injury in the regular season finale but Ferentz says in the 2005 meeting the Tigers played three different quarterbacks.
Ferentz says it will be a great opportunity for the Hawkeyes. “It’s a real compliment to our players, it’s a reward they’ve earned,” Ferentz says. Iowa became the fourth choice out of the Big Ten and wins over Michigan and Nebraska the final two weeks moved the Hawkeyes up the pecking order.
Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta who believes fans are anxious to travel to a bowl game after missing out last season and he says this was the top choice of the fans he talked with. Iowa has always been an attractive bowl team because of the number of fans it brings but Barta says the difference this season were the results on the field as they are playing good football and have a history of competing well in bowls. This will be Iowa’s fourth trip to the Outback Bowl and the first one since a lopsided win over South Carolina in 2009.