Jan. 1, 2009
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Shonn Greene, the Big Ten’s most valuable player, rushed for 121 yards and three touchdowns Thursday, helping the Hawkeyes trounce South Carolina 31-10 in the Outback Bowl.
Greene ran for more than 100 yards in all 13 of Iowa’s games and scored in all but one. He finished with school single-season records of 1,850 yards and 20 TDs.
Iowa (9-4) won for the sixth time in seven games since losing three straight to fall to 3-3. South Carolina (7-6) lost three straight down the stretch while being outscored 118-30.
Greene scored on a pair of 1-yard runs to help Iowa build a 21-0 halftime lead, then added an 11-yarder to make it 31-0 late in the third quarter. South Carolina scored on Chris Smelley’s 10-yard TD pass to Jared Cook and Ryan Succop’s 48-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
After struggling offensively in lopsided losses to Florida and Clemson, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier decided to start quarterback Stephen Garcia, a highly regarded redshirt freshman from Tampa who was the centerpiece of his recruiting class in 2007.
But Garcia turned the ball over four times in the first half and was replaced by Smelley after going 9-for-18 for 79 yards and three interceptions.
The 20-year-old’s homecoming turned sour in a hurry. His first pass was intercepted and returned 29 yards set up an Iowa touchdown, then the dual-threat quarterback fumbled on his first run to give the Gamecocks turnovers on two of their first four offensive plays.
The next two South Carolina possessions ended with interceptions. After Bradley Fletcher picked off Garcia in the end zone, Iowa drove 80 yards to take a 21-0 lead on Greene’s second touchdown.
Ricky Stanzi was intercepted twice before halftime, but neither mistake really hurt the Hawkeyes. Iowa was trying to turn’s Garcia’s third interception into a quick TD when South Carolina’s Chris Culliver made a leaping pick in the end zone.
Smelley, who started nine games for South Carolina this season, replaced Garcia at the start of the second half. Moe Brown fumbled on the quarterback’s first completion to set up an Iowa field goal, but the Gamecocks did have some success moving the ball the rest of the game.
Stanzi was 13-for-19 for 148 yards, including a 6-yard TD throw to Trey Stross on the first drive of the game. Smelley finished 16-of-31 for 174 yards and no interceptions.