Hawkeyes Selected for FedEx Orange Bowl

Dec. 6, 2009

Travel with the Hawkeyes

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Miami, one of the most prestigious areas in South Florida, will soon play host to the University of Iowa, with one of the most prestigious football programs in the nation.

The Hawkeyes finished a 10-2 regular season 15 days ago, and although rumors ran rampant during those two-plus weeks, the news became official Sunday evening — the Hawkeyes will travel to Miami to play in the FedEx Orange Bowl in Land Shark Stadium on Jan. 5. The game will be televised by FOX with a 7 p.m. start (Iowa time).

It is the eighth time Iowa has gone to a bowl game in Kirk Ferentz’s 11 seasons as UI head coach. This is the second Bowl Championship Series event the Hawkeyes have attended — and their second trip to the FedEx Orange Bowl. Iowa played in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 2003, losing to Southern California, 38-17.

The opponent for the Hawkeyes will be Atlantic Coast Conference champion Georgia Tech, a team that is 11-2 following a 39-34 win against Clemson yesterday in Tampa. The Yellow Jackets, ranked No. 9 by the Associated Press and No. 10 by USA Today, suffered losses to Miami (33-17 on Sept. 17) and Georgia (30-24 on Nov. 28).

“The big thing now is we’ll have a mindset and a game plan as far as when and where we’re going,” UI senior linebacker A.J. Edds said. “We’re playing a great team and it will be a great experience for us if we handle it the right way.”

This is the 21st January bowl game for Georgia Tech and its first since the 2007 Gator Bowl. The Yellow Jackets, who have been to a bowl for 13 consecutive seasons, have come up short in their last four postseason appearances, including a 38-3 loss to LSU in last season’s Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

Paul Johnson is in his second season as head coach at Georgia Tech, where he has compiled a record of 20-6. Johnson previously coached at Georgia Southern and Navy.

Iowa owns a 3-1 record against teams that are currently in the AP and USA Today top 25 polls. The Hawkeyes boast victories against Penn State (21-10 on Sept. 26), Arizona (27-17 on Sept. 19) and Wisconsin (20-10 on Oct. 17). They lost at Big Ten Conference champion Ohio State in overtime, 27-24, on Nov. 14. According to the NCAA, the Hawkeyes played the 17th-toughest schedule in the nation this fall.

This will be the first meeting between Iowa and Georgia Tech in football. The Yellow Jackets are 11th in the nation in total offense (442.69 yards per game) and 54th in total defense (375.00).

Georgia Tech averages 307.2 rushing yards per game and control 34 minutes, 18 seconds of clock per outing. The Yellow Jackets are led offensively by quarterback Josh Nesbitt, who has thrown for 1,689 yards and 10 touchdowns and run for 991 yards and a team-high 18 scores. The leading rushing for Georgia Tech is Jonathan Dwyer with 1,346 yards and 14 touchdowns. Anthony Allen has gained 597 yards on the ground with five touchdowns.

Nesbitt has a preferred target when he goes to the air. Demaryius Thomas has 46 receptions for 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns — an average of 25.1 yards per catch. Nesbitt completes passes at a 47.7 percentage, but he has been intercepted just four times.

Linebacker Brad Jefferson leads the Georgia Tech defense with 90 tackles (8.0 for a loss). Safety Morgan Burnett has 77 stops and a team-high four interceptions and defensive end Derrick Morgan has 18 tackles for loss and 12 ½ quarterback sacks.

This will be Iowa’s sixth trip to a Florida bowl since the last Orange Bowl in Miami. The Hawkeyes are 3-2 in their first five Florida bowl games.

Last season, Virginia Tech defeated Cincinnati, 20-7, in the Orange Bowl. A week later, Florida defeated Oklahoma, 24-14, in the BCS National Championship game, also played at Dolphin Stadium.

Land Shark Stadium, formerly Dolphin Stadium, is a world-class sports and entertainment facility that is home to the Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins, University of Miami football, FedEx Orange Bowl and other world-class events. The stadium has been home to four NFL Super Bowls, three BCS college national championships and two World Series.

UNIVERSITY OF IOWA BOWL HISTORY (Overall record: 12-10-1)

Year Bowl Result
2009 Outback Iowa 31, South Carolina 10
2006 Alamo Texas 26, Iowa 24
2006 Outback Florida 31, Iowa 24
2005 Capital One Iowa 30, LSU 25
2004 Outback Iowa 37, Florida 17
2003 Orange Southern Cal 38, Iowa 17
2001 Alamo Iowa 19, Texas Tech 16
1997 Sun Arizona State 17, Iowa 7
1996 Alamo Iowa 27, Texas Tech 0
1995 Sun Iowa 38, Washington 18
1993 Alamo California 37, Iowa 3
1991 Holiday Iowa 13, Brigham Young 13
1991 Rose Washington 46, Iowa 34
1988 Peach N.C. State 28, Iowa 23
1987 Holiday Iowa 20, Wyoming 19
1986 Holiday Iowa 39, San Diego State 38
1986 Rose UCLA 45, Iowa 28
1984 Freedom Iowa 55, Texas 17
1983 Gator Florida 14, Iowa 6
1982 Peach Iowa 28, Tennessee 22
1982 Rose Washington 28, Iowa 0
1959 Rose Iowa 38, California 12
1957 Rose Iowa 35, Oregon State 19