CEDAR RAPIDS - As playoff primers go, this one looked textbook.
Top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier will charge into the Class 3A playoffs with a full head of steam after scoring 41 first-quarter points and thrashing South Tama, 62-7, in the reg ... »
The numbers don’t lie. Iowa’s last three bowl games — against two teams from the SEC and one from the Pac-12 — were one-sided losses.
The Hawkeyes have dropped five straight bowls and have been outscored in the first halves of those games by a total of 108-10.
Something in how they cross the bridges from Black Fridays to bowl dates that turn much darker is amiss.
After two drives that ended in punts and a 9-yard drive that produced a field goal, Iowa finally got something going midway through the second quarter.
The Hawkeyes drove to Florida’s 10 after quarterback C.J. Beathard hit tight end George Kittle for an 18-yard game. Yes, they completed a pass of more than 10 yards. Going off what the passing game has done this season, that was big.
On 3rd-and-goal from the 7, Beathard scrambled over the goal line. The play was ruled down at the 1 on the field and that call held up after review. There wasn’t a lot to overturn it.
So, 4th-and-1. Iowa is in super-heavy personnel with three tight ends and a fullback. The running back is 225-pounder LeShun Daniels.
This play blew up from the snap and pieces of Iowa flew all over the field.
Florida went to a cover zero with every defender on the line of scrimmage. Safety Marcell Harris made the play. He read handoff, blew past fullback Brady Ross and was into Daniels’ legs 1.5 seconds after the snap. Defensive tackle Taven Bryan penetrated and bubbled the play. Linebackers Rayshad Jackson and Daniel McMillian cleaned up.
This was Iowa’s power against a defense that entered the game missing five of its top seven tacklers and it was a brutal result. The Gators changed the line of scrimmage and Daniels never had a chance.
It happened in 1.5 seconds. If felt like everything Florida did against Iowa took 1.5 seconds and was a success.
The game remain tied and Iowa got zero out of the first of its two drives all day that reached double digits for plays. (The other was a missed field goal.)
Beathard suffered a pulled hamstring on the run to the 1-yard line. Iowa forced a punt, but Florida got loose on its next drive for an 85-yard TD on a screen pass, giving the Gators a 10-3 halftime lead.
This play was Florida putting Iowa in its place.
F — Another ragtag Iowa team gets lit up against top competition in a bowl. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. —Marc Morehouse
D-minus — Akrum Wadley and Desmond King made some great plays, as usual. The rest of it was a 3-day-old Bloomin’ Onion. —Mike Hlas
1 — Iowa wide receivers had one catch. The Hawkeyes had just seven overall.
3 — Hawkeye quarterback C.J. Beathard had three interceptions for the first time in his career.
4 — The Hawkeyes are the only team in the nation to lose a bowl in each of the last four seasons.
20 — Florida running back Mark Thompson had 20 career receiving yards before his 85-yard touchdown off a short pass in the second quarter.
121 — Iowa ranks 121st out of the 128 FCS teams in total offense with 325.0 yards per game.
136 — Iowa running back Akrum Wadley had 136 (115 rushing, 21 receiving) of his team’s 226 yards.
1,000 — For the first time, two Hawkeye running backs topped 1,000 rushing yards. Wadley had 1,081, LeShun Daniels 1,058.
Maybe its pregame timing was good when Iowa announced season tickets for the 2017 season will remain the same as in 2016. General public season tickets for the seven home games will be $405, with faculty/staff season tickets remaining at $335. UI student season tickets are $150.
Iowa is launching the season ticket renewal process via email on Tuesday. The renewal deadline for public and faculty/staff season tickets is March 31.
Even with Florida playing in this game, the attendance was just 51,119, with the vast majority of upper deck seats empty as well as many in the lower bowl.
The seating capacity at Raymond James Stadium is 65,657. The Iowa-Florida games here in 2004 and 2006 drew 65,372 and 65,881, respectively.
Iowa fans — and we’re not under oath here — accounted for exactly one-third of the fans.
Florida’s folks spent money to go to Atlanta in December for the SEC championship game, and the Gators’ dismal showing in that game and the one before that against Florida State surely dampened enthusiasm.
Locally, perhaps some Tampa consumers saved their college football cash for the Jan. 9 College Football Playoff title game here. Presumably, that will be a better show than this Outback Bowl.
Ted and Deb Pacha of Iowa City have committed $5 million to the Kinnick Edge Campaign, a $25 million fundraising effort to help with renovations to Kinnick Stadium’s north end zone.
The $89 million project is expected to be completed before the 2019 football season.
Iowa begins its 2017 season at home against Wyoming on Sept. 2, with the time to be determined sometime between now and National Dog Day (Aug. 26). Wyoming went 8-6 in 2016 after four straight losing seasons that included a 2-10 mark in 2015. Returning quarterback Josh Allen passed for 3,203 yards and 28 touchdowns this season.