Iowa Football

A look at Iowa football's Outback Bowl history

Hawkeyes make sixth trip to Tampa to face Mississippi State

Iowa will appear in the Outback Bowl for the sixth time when it faces No. 18 Mississippi State on New Year’s Day.

The Hawkeyes are 2-3 in Outback Bowls, all under head coach Kirk Ferentz since 2004, but have never faced the Bulldogs in this or any other game.

Here’s a look at Iowa’s Outback Bowl history.

2004: Iowa 37, Florida 17

Coming off a Big Ten championship in 2002, the 2003 Hawkeyes started 4-0 before a loss to Michigan State. Iowa also fell to Ohio State and Purdue that season, but beat rivals Minnesota and Wisconsin to end the regular season and earn an Outback berth against No. 17 Florida.

Iowa built a 20-7 halftime lead, and while the Gators kept the trash talk coming, the Hawkeyes rolled to a 37-17 victory to finish the season 10-3 and ranked No. 8 in the coaches poll.

MVP: Iowa running back Fred Russell rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown in his final game as a Hawkeye.

Read Marc Morehouse’s game story


2006: Florida 31, Iowa 24

The 2006 version is an infamous one in Hawkeye history. A YouTuber was motivated to call that Conference USA crew’s performance “the worst officiating in college football history.”

Iowa fell behind 31-7 in the third quarter, only to rally in the fourth and cut the lead to 31-24. But what’s remembered most is an incorrect offside call against Chad Greenway on an onside kick with 1:24 left. Iowa had recovered, but the penalty meant it didn’t get a chance to tie the game.

The Hawkeyes finished the season 7-5, their last three losses (Michigan, Northwestern, Florida) coming by a combined 11 points.

MVP: It was Florida wide receiver Dallas Baker, who caught 10 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

Read Marc Morehouse’s game story

2009: Iowa 31, South Carolina 10

After an Orange Bowl appearance the previous season, the 2008 Iowa team entered the season with high expectations, only to suffer four regular-season losses.

But the season ended triumphently. The 2008 Hawkeyes beat then-No. 3 Penn State at home to start a four-game winning streak.


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After wins over Purdue and Minnesota to end the regular season, the Hawkeyes blasted South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl, leading 31-0 at one point before landing on a 31-10 win after a couple of garbage-time Gamecock scores.

MVP: Iowa running back Shonn Greene’s Doak Walker award-winning season was capped with a 132-yard, three-TD performance. He declared for the NFL Draft afterward, following a breakout season in which he ran for 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Read Marc Morehouse’s game story

2014: LSU 21, Iowa 14

A 21-14 defeat to LSU wasn’t as close as the score suggests.

Iowa’s two scoring drives totaled 5 yards, taking advantage of interception and kickoff returns. A desparate last-chance play went nowhere after a series of laterals and the Tigers hung on to finish 10-3 and ranked 14th in the country.

MVP: Jeremy Hill ran over Iowa’s defense, totaling 216 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. It was the first individual 200-yard rushing performance against the Hawkeyes since 2000.


Read Marc Morehouse’s game story

2017: Florida 30, Iowa 3

Iowa’s bowl losing skid reached five in a 2017 Outback Bowl thumping before the Hawkeyes beat Boston College in the next season’s Pinstripe Bowl.

Quarterback C.J. Beathard limped through the final game of his Iowa career with his worst numbers. He pulled a hamstring and completed just 7 of 23 passes for 55 yards and three interceptions against swarming Florida pressure.

Iowa’s 221 yards of total offense was the lowest output in Outback Bowl history.

MVP: Florida safety Chauncey Gardner picked off two passes and returned them 88 yards, including one for a 56-yard touchdown.

Read Marc Morehouse’s game story

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