IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa football team accepted an invitation to the SDCCU Holiday Bowl on Sunday before holding a news conference inside the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center.
University of Iowa Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie director of athletics chair Gary Barta and head football coach Kirk Ferentz were not available Sunday…for good reason.
A member of the College Football Playoff committee, Barta was in Dallas finalizing those seeds; Ferentz was in Foxboro, Massachusetts, where his son, James, was starting at center for the New England Patriots in their game against Kansas City.
Sunny San Diego…
University of Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker, who filled in for Ferentz at the podium, is excited to travel to the Holiday Bowl for the first time in his Hawkeye tenure. As far as his routine, Iowa could be playing in Tampa, San Diego, Nashville, or Detroit.
“We’re going to go, we’re going to find the place where we practice, and we’ve got a system that we have,” said Parker. “It’s going to be very similar to here. We’re going to go into meetings, have practice, go watch the tape, and everybody that goes there is probably going to — just watching our fans they’re going to have a great opportunity to explore, so it might be different for them.
“The coaches, we’re usually in the hotel room, in the meeting room, and on the practice field, and then we get to the game when the game tells us to get there. It doesn’t change for us.”
High-Volume Trojan Passing Attack
USC averages 335.9 yards passing yards per game, fifth-best among NCAA FBS teams. Quarterback Kedon Slovis has thrown for 3,242 yards and 28 touchdowns; three Trojan receivers have at least 68 catches for yardage totals ranging from 858 to 1,222 yards.
The first question to Parker was his take on the USC offense.
“Did you have to bring that up, the first one?” Parker said. “It is a definite challenge.”
Junior offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs and junior defensive end A.J. Epenesa will have an NFL decision at the conclusion of the 2019 season. They said there was no decision as to whether they would suit up as Hawkeyes in the 2019 Holiday Bowl.
“I would feel like I was letting my teammates down,” said Wirfs. “I made a commitment to them for 12 weeks plus camp. It feels like you’re kind of bailing on them. So there’s no way I wouldn’t.”
“You make it through the whole season with your teammates, with your brothers,” said Epenesa. “I haven’t decided if i’m staying or leaving. I’m just going, and playing for the guys with me.”
Honoring a Great Hawkeye
The University of Iowa will have a moment of silence prior to Monday’s men’s basketball game against Minnesota in honor of former director of athletics Chalmers “Bump” Elliott, who passed away Saturday. A video honoring Elliott will be played at halftime of the Minnesota-Iowa game.
“A great man. Without question, Bump will always be remembered as a great Hawkeye,” deputy director of athletics Barbara Burke said. “We are very, very sad and our condolences from President (Bruce) Herrald and (Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie director of athletics chair Gary) Barta go out to the Elliott family today.”
Holiday Bowl Central
It has been 28 years since Iowa has participated in the Holiday Bowl. The Hawkeyes are undefeated (with one tie) in three previous Holiday Bowl appearances. Iowa defeated San Diego State, 39-38, in 1986 and Wyoming, 20-19, in 1987. The Hawkeyes and Brigham Young tied, 13-13, in 1991.
Click HERE for Iowa’s 2019 Holiday Bowl Central page.