`Let's Go Outback Tonight'

Dec. 8, 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa — How is this for a story line?

The University of Iowa and Louisiana State University (LSU) will hold a rematch in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla., nine seasons after the greatest final play in Hawkeye football history.

Iowa (8-4 overall, 5-3 Big Ten Conference) will face the Tigers (9-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) for a second time in history. The Hawkeyes won the first meeting, 30-25, in the 2005 Capital One Bowl in Orlando. That game ended when quarterback Drew Tate connected with receiver Warren Holloway for a 56-yard touchdown pass as time expired.

You can link to the 2005 game recap on hawkeyesports.com by clicking HERE.

LSU is 1-0 in neutral-site games this season, but 1-3 on the road with losses at Georgia (44-41), Mississippi (27-24) and Alabama (38-17). Iowa thrived on the road, winning 4-of-5 away from Kinnick Stadium. The only setback away from home came at Ohio State, where the Buckeyes needed to score 10 fourth-quarter points to win 34-24.

There will be at least one obvious similarity between the 2005 and 2014 meetings. In 2005, LSU used JaMarcus Russell, a backup quarterback, to bring the Tigers from a 24-12 deficit to take a 25-24 lead with 46 seconds remaining. LSU will rely on a backup signal-caller this season as well. Zach Mettenberger suffered a torn ACL and an MCL sprain during the Tigers’ 31-27 victory Nov. 29 over Arkansas. Mettenberger completed 64.9-percent of his passes for 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns. He will be replaced by Anthony Jennings who has completed 6-of-10 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Offensive weapons for LSU include running backs Jeremy Hill (1,206 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Terrence Magee (614 yards, eight touchdowns), and two 1,000-yard receivers in Jarvis Landry (75 catches, 1,1172 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Odell Beckham (57 catches, 1,117 yards, eight touchdowns). Kicker Colby Delahoussaye has scored a team-high 92 points on 53-of-54 PATs and 13-of-14 field goals.

While the Tiger offense averages 37 points a game, the defense surrenders an average of two touchdowns fewer.

Iowa will bring an offense to Florida that seeks balance but leans on the running game. The Hawkeyes have called 864 plays on offense with 519 of those being running plays and 345 resulting in a pass attempt. Head coach Kirk Ferentz’s squad has scored 18 touchdowns via the air, 17 on the ground.

Iowa will enter its fourth Outback Bowl as one of the nation’s best on defense. The Hawkeyes are particularly skilled at shutting down a running game and they have limited their 12 opponents of the 2013 season to just 4.6 yards per play and only 3.5 yard per rush.

In previous Outback Bowl appearances, Iowa defeated South Carolina (31-10) following the 2008 season and Florida (37-17) after the 2003 campaign. The Hawkeyes lost to Florida following the 2005 season (31-24).

Iowa has posted a 14-11-1 record in 26 previous bowl appearances, including winning three of its last four bowl games.