The Iowa Hawkeyes close the football season in Tampa where they play 18th ranked Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl. The Hawkeyes are 8-4 and making their sixth appearance in the New Year’s Day game.
“Every bowl that we have participated in has been extremely significant and for the most part has been first class and this one is right at the top”, said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. “We are excited to be here and are looking forward to a really tough challenge.”
The game features a pair of top ten defenses. First-year Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead was the offensive coordinator at Penn State when the Nittany Lions beat the Hawkeyes in 2016 and 2017.
“There are some similarities and some differences too”, added Ferentz. “Probably the biggest similarity is they both have the quarterback as the catalyst.”
Bulldog quarterback Nick Fitzgerald leads the team in rushing with more than a thousand yards. Moorhead says he is familiar enough with the Hawkeyes to know they hang their hat on toughness.
“And they have been the model of consistency and the blue print for success for a very, very long time”, said Moorhead. “It is going to be a tough game against a physical, blue collar, fundamentally sound football team.”
Kickoff in Raymond James Stadium is 11:00a.m. The game will be televised by ESPN2.