An improved Iowa offense faces a tough challenge against LSU in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. A ground game that averages just over 188 yards helped the Hawkeyes average just over 27 points per game in posting an 8-4 regular season mark and now the offense must find a way to solve an LSU defense that gave up fewer than 150 yards on the ground per game.

Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis  says LSU’s players are very athletic and they remind him a little bit of Ohio State, “guys who can really run.” He says the Hawkeyes still have a ways to go. “We started the year off and we wanted to play a little bit faster than we did last year — we’ve been able to do that, we’re still not playing at the tempo that we would like to, but we’re playing faster,”Davis says. He says they were able to make some more explosive plays too.

Davis says under defensive coordinator John Chavis the Tigers are fundamentally sound and play from a four down front and they are not a big blitzing team.

LSU coach Les Miles has been impressed with the play of Iowa sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock. “He’s a tremendously efficient quarterback. He’s a guy who can make all the throws, gets his team into the right plays,” Miles says. A big question surrounding LSU is just how motivated will the Tigers be for this game? Miles does not think it is a problem

“I want you to know one thing, if they don’t get fired up to play in a quality bowl game against a team like Iowa, then there’s something wrong  with them,” Miles says.

LSU is 9-3.