Iowa to play LSU in Outback Bowl

BY BEN ROSS | DECEMBER 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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Following an abysmal 2012 season that featured just four wins, the Iowa football team doubled its win total this year and earned a bid to compete against No. 16 LSU in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 1.

Expectations were at an all-time low going into this year, but head coach Kirk Ferentz was able to turn his program around and silence many of the critics that barked at him after 2012. Ferentz and his employer, Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta, stuck to their guns and bought into the very system that saw Iowa win an Orange Bowl over Georgia Tech in 2010.

“We were pleased today to accept an invitation to go back to the Outback Bowl,” Barta said. “We had a great experience there last time. Congratulations to Kirk. We’re so proud of our seniors to turn things around.”

Iowa has played in the Outback Bowl three previous times: 2004, when it defeated Florida, 37-17; 2006, when it fell to the Gators, 31-24; and 2009, when it beat South Carolina, 31-10.

Iowa has played LSU just once, in 2005 in the Capital One Bowl. Iowa won that game on 56-yard pass from Drew Tate to Warren Holloway to put the Hawkeyes ahead as time expired.

“It’s a really happy day for our football team,” Ferentz said. “Playing LSU is a great challenge; we’re really proud of our players, they’ve done a wonderful job since the end of last November. Nobody dwelled on what took place last year. It was disappointing certainly, and great job by our older guys giving us leadership.

“It’s hard; bowl games are a reward for the players. You coach for the players; it’s a reward for doing well. We didn’t earn that right last year. Everyone was committed to getting back and having the opportunity to get a bowl. To have the chance to go to Tampa is fantastic.”

LSU poses a great challenge for the Hawkeyes. The Tigers are the only team to defeat Auburn this year, a squad that will play undefeated Florida State in this year’s BCS National Championship Game.

Both teams finished strong, Iowa with three-straight wins and LSU with two. Ferentz and LSU head coach Les Miles have never met on the football field before, but both teams and programs have pedigrees that neither can ignore.

“I know that Coach Kirk Ferentz has done a great job there,” Miles said in a release. “I think he has been there for 15 years. He has been one of the most successful coaches in the Big Ten for years. It is a meticulous organization. As you see, they are very talented and capable. I can remember a bowl game when we were preparing for Penn State. We watched how they played. They will be prepared and a very quality team.”

Outback Bowl Fun Facts

• Sponsored by Outback Steakhouse, the Outback Bowl is played at Raymond James Stadium, the home field of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
• The stadium has a listed capacity of 66,657, but it hit 70,774 when it hosted the Super Bowl in 2009.
• Iowa owns two of the top five attendance records in Outback history, with slightly more than 65,000 fans filling the stands for both of Iowa’s contests against Florida in 2006 and 2004. The highest attended Outback Bowl was in 1990 when Auburn and Ohio State faced each other.
• Iowa running back Shonn Greene was named the MVP of the Outback Bowl for his performance against South Carolina in 2009.
• The Big Ten is 10-14 all time in the Outback Bowl.

Big Ten

The Big Ten will send six other teams to compete in Bowl Games:

Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO, Jan. 1: Michigan State vs. Stanford
Discover Orange Bowl, Jan. 3: Ohio State vs. Clemson
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28: Michigan vs. Kansas State
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska vs. Georgia
Texas Bowl, Dec. 27: Minnesota vs. Syracuse

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