Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | 24 Hawkeyes to Watch 2016-17 | KinnickEdge.org | Hawk Talk Monthly — Dec. 2016 | Outback Bowl Tickets | Outback Bowl Central | Outback Bowl Merchandise | Outback Bowl Tours | 2017 Outback Bowl Media Guide | VIDEO — Iowa’s Outback Bowl History | Photo Gallery | VIDEO — The Hawkeyes Have Landed
By DARREN MILLER
TAMPA, Fla. — The state-of-the-art Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center allowed the No. 21 University of Iowa football team to stay home and prepare for the Outback Bowl a few days longer than normal.
Now it’s time for the Hawkeyes to acclimate to western Florida weather and game plan for No. 20 Florida.
The Hawkeyes touched down at Tampa International Airport at 6:12 p.m. (ET) on Monday after a 2-hour, 27-minute flight from Cedar Rapids on Omni Air 628. Iowa went through a practice in the morning before taking off from Cedar Rapids at 2:45 p.m. (CT).
Senior running back LeShun Daniels, Jr., who rushed for 1,013 yards in the regular season, is impressed by what the Hawkeyes accomplished in pre-bowl practices in Iowa City.
“There was a lot if intensity and focus because we set a goal and everybody wants to achieve that goal,” Daniels said from a meeting room at The Westin Tampa Harbour Island Hotel. “We were competing hard and that’s something we’re going to have to carry through to the bowl game.”
Daniels enjoyed the longer stay in Iowa City, where the Hawkeyes completed their more strenuous practices.
“It will be a big advantage for us,” junior linebacker Bo Bower said.
There was a 50 degree difference in temperature from Iowa City and Tampa on Monday. The Hawkeyes are eying a 180-degree turnaround in recent postseason outings. In the last four bowl games — losses to Oklahoma, LSU, Tennessee, and Stanford — Iowa has been outscored by a combined 115-17 through three quarters.
“We’re excited to be down here,” Daniels said. “Obviously we’re going to enjoy ourselves, but we’re down here for one reason and that’s to win the ball game.”
Both the Hawkeyes and Gators are 8-4. Iowa will practice for the first time at the University of Tampa on Tuesday morning. The 2017 Outback Bowl is Jan. 2 at Raymond James Stadium with kickoff set for noon (CT).