For the third time in six years and sixth overall, Iowa will play in the Outback Bowl.
The Hawkeyes (8-4) will meet No. 18 Mississippi State (8-4) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., in the 2019 Outback Bowl, it was announced Sunday. Kickoff is 11 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Jan. 1 and the game is televised on ESPN2.
The Citrus Bowl had top priority for non-New Year’s Six Big Ten bowls and, as expected, selected No. 12 Penn State (9-3) after No. 6 Ohio State (12-1) and No. 7 Michigan (10-2) qualified for New Year’s Six games, the Rose and Peach, respectively.
The Outback picked Iowa, despite No. 22 Northwestern (8-5) being the West Division champion and beating Iowa 14-10 this season. Iowa fans’ track record of bowl travel undoubtedly played a role. The Wildcats went to the Holiday Bowl.
Iowa’s last Outback Bowl appearance was one to forget on the field. Florida crushed the Hawkeyes 30-3 in the 2017 edition. Iowa also met the Gators in the 2004 (37-13 win) and 2006 (31-24 loss) Outback Bowls. Its other appearances came in 2009 (31-10 win over South Carolina) and 2014 (21-14 loss to LSU).
Iowa snapped a five-game losing streak in bowls with a 27-20 win over Boston College in last year’s Pinstripe Bowl.
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Mississippi State finished fourth in the SEC West with a 4-4 conference record. The Bulldogs, led by first-year head coach and former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, lost only to ranked SEC teams. Their offense struggled mightily in defeats to No. 14 Kentucky (28-7), No. 10 Florida (13-6), No. 11 LSU (19-3) and No. 1 Alabama (24-0).
Both the Hawkeyes and Bulldogs are powered by strong defenses. Mississippi State has the top scoring defense in the country (12.0), while Iowa ranks 11th. The Bulldogs are third nationally in total defense (268.4), just ahead of the Hawkeyes at No. 7 (289.6).
This will be the first ever meeting between Iowa and Mississippi State.