Hawkeyes Fall to Volunteers in Citrus Bowl

ORLANDO, Fla. – The No. 17 ranked University of Iowa football team was defeated, 35-0, by No. 21 Tennessee on Monday afternoon at Camping World Stadium in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl.

The Iowa defense recorded six sacks and were led by Joe Evans with four. Jay Higgins tallied a team high 16 tackles (14 solo). Nick Jackson had 11 tackles (nine solo) and Sebastian Castro had six solo tackles.

Deacon Hill was 7-for-18 on passing attempts for 56 yards. Marco Lainez was 2-for-7 and 4 yards in relief. Lainez led the team with 51 yards rushing in his first collegiate action.

Kaleb Johnson had 34 yards on seven rushing attempts. Kaleb Brown led the team with 39 yards receiving on three receptions.

The Hawkeyes were outgained 383 to 173 yards and committed three turnovers to the Volunteer’s zero.


“Well, certainly disappointing end to a really special season and a really special group of people. Our players, our staff, just thought they did a phenomenal job all year long. I am just really proud of their efforts, going back to January, but certainly, since we got going in August.

Their offense, they are really well-coached, and they really present some unique challenges for our defensive football team. I thought we gave up a couple drives there, but settled in and were doing a lot of good things there. They are a tough challenge. There’ is no question about that.

My thoughts are really with these players and the stories that they are, especially our senior class. It has been a great, great group of guys, and Joe is representative of that, stayed for his sixth year. Just hard-working guys that really care about the right things. They have been great teammates, and then these guys have been great, great leaders.

I have to encourage everybody to step back. It is a ten-win season, Big Ten West champs and a lot of really good moments, and these guys have really overcome a lot of adversity and a lot of unique challenges. Those are things that will really serve them well moving forward as they go into their adult lives. For the guys coming back, we will build off this, but just really proud of everybody.”


  • The teams were scoreless in the first 15 minutes of play.
  • Tennessee broke through with a quarterback keeper on the first play of the second quarter. Nico Iamaleava rushed for 19-yard touchdown to cap a seven play, 73-yard drive.
  • Iamaleava scored the Volunteers second touchdown with 8:12 remaining in the second half with a three-yard rush. The score ended an 11 play, 68-yard drive.
  • After an Iowa turnover at its own two-yard line Iamaleava recorded his third rushing touchdown of the afternoon with 1:43 remaining in the third quarter.
  • Tennessee took advantage of another Iowa turnover with 14:50 left in the game as James Pearce Jr. returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown.
  • With 4:48 remaining in the game Iamaleava connected with McCallan Castles for an 18-yard touchdown reception to end an eight play, 78 yard drive.
  • P Tory Taylor had seven punts for 360 yards, averaging 51.4 yards per attempt. Four punts went 50+ yards and two were downed inside the 20.
  • With his 62-yard punt in the first quarter, Taylor broke Michigan State’s Johnny Pingel’s 85-year single-season yardage record that was set in 1938. The Australian finished his career with 93 punts for 4,479 yards.
  • Taylor’s 48.2 punting average on 93 punts in 2023 is an NCAA record (minimum 75 punts), breaking Idaho’s Austin Rehkow’s 47.8 average that was set in 2018.
  • Taylor also finishes his Hawkeye career with a 46.3 career average on 295 career punts (13,657 yards), breaking Baylor’s Daniel Sepulveda’s record of 42.5 yards.
  •  For his career, Taylor averaged 40 or more yards per punt in 43 career games – an NCAA record.
  •  DE Joe Evans had an Iowa bowl record and a career-high four sacks in the game, moving into fourth place in program history with 28 career sacks.
  •  LB Jay Higgins had 16 tackles – his 10th game this season with 10 or more tackles (11th of his career).
  •  Higgins has led or tied for the team lead in tackles in 12 of Iowa’s 14 games.
  •  Higgins finished with 171 tackles this season – tying Andre Jackson for the most in a single season in program history.
  •  LB Nick Jackson had 11 tackles – his third game with 10 or more tackles this season and the 23rd such game in his career.
  •  QB Marco Lainez made his Hawkeye debut, rushing for a team-high 51 yards on six attempts.
  •  WR Kaleb Brown had a team-high three receptions for 39 yards. It was his fourth straight game with at least three receptions.
  • Iowa’s defense tied a bowl game record with six sacks. The Hawkeyes also had six sacks during the 2022 Citrus Bowl against Kentucky.
  • It is the 28th consecutive game Iowa’s defense has allowed fewer than 400 yards — the longest active streak nationally.