Dec. 7, 2008
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — It’s finally official and it’s back to the Outback for the University of Iowa football team.
The Hawkeyes — winners of eight games overall and five in Big Ten Conference play — are the only team to beat league champion Penn State. Iowa won three straight games and five of its final six. The Hawkeyes will face South Carolina (7-5, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009, in the 2009 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Iowa also participated in the Outback Bowl following the 2003 and 2005 seasons against the University of Florida.
The invitation marks the fifth time in the past seven seasons that Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes have played in a January bowl game. The string began on Jan. 2, 2003 in the Orange Bowl (38-17 loss to Southern California) and continued with a 37-17 win over Florida in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2004, a 30-25 win over Louisiana State in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2005 and a 31-24 loss to Florida on Jan. 2, 2006, in the Outback Bowl.
This will be the first meeting between Iowa and the Gamecocks. After starting the season 5-2, South Carolina dropped three of its final five games, including the last two on the road at Florida (56-6) and Clemson (31-14).
Steve Spurrier is in his fourth season as head coach of the Gamecocks after 12 seasons at Florida and three at Duke. Spurrier has the reputation as an offensive-minded coach and his 2008 team averages 218.5 yards through the air and 98.3 on the ground. South Carolina quarterbacks have combined to throw 24 interceptions this season — a total that probably has the Hawkeye secondary licking its lips. Iowa picked off 20 passes in 12 regular-season games, tying for fourth nationally with Boise State.
The 2008 college football season is the eighth consecutive season Iowa has been bowl eligible and its seventh bowl trip under Ferentz, who has a 3-3 record as a head coach in postseason play.
Orders for bowl game tickets will be accepted by mail or in person by the UI Athletics Ticket Office, online at hawkeyesports.com or by phone at 1-800-424-2957 (1-800 IA HAWKS). The deadline to place an order and have it filled based on the customer’s UI football ticket priority is 5 p.m. (Iowa time), Friday, Dec. 12. Orders for bowl game tickets will be filled and seats assigned based on the customer’s UI football ticket priority. Fans of the Hawkeyes are reminded that tickets purchased through the UI Athletics Ticket Office helps the UI Athletics Department meet its financial obligation to the bowl game and are guaranteed seats within the University of Iowa section inside Raymond James Stadium.
Return to hawkeyesports.com later this evening to read a summary of Ferentz’s bowl media conference that is scheduled for 6 p.m. inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex.