Penalty-Free Hawkeyes Win Outback Bowl
After just a few snaps of Tuesday's Outback Bowl in Tampa Bay, Florida you could see that Iowa was up against a talent filled team from the SEC. But the Hawkeyes stayed the course and played smart, sound football to earn a hard-fought 27-22 win over Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl.
Mississippi State had talent, but man were they undisciplined. The Bulldogs had 90 yards in penalties. They were hit with multiple unsportsmanlike conduct calls, and a targeting penalty cost them a defensive starter for the remainder of the game. A 51-yard completion down to the Iowa 2 was wiped out by a holding penalty. They shot themselves in the foot all day.
Meanwhile, Iowa was steady if not unspectacular. The Hawkeyes totaled only 199 yards of total offense. 75 of that came on one play, a long play-action pass play to wide receiver Nick Easley, who was the game's MVP with 2 scores and over 100 yards receiving. The running game for Iowa was non-existent netting a total of -15 yards for the day. But three takeaways, including an end zone interception by senior safety Jake Gervase proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
Iowa will no doubt end the year ranked in the top 25. The program has great momentum heading into 2019. Fans now will watch for a decision by tight end T.J. Hockenson. The Mackey Award-winning tight end says he'll make his NFL future known in a couple of weeks.