Iowa Football

Iowa football vs. USC: Holiday Bowl score, stats, highlights and more

Iowa gave USC an old-fashioned rump kicking — as Hayden Fry might have called it — Friday night in the Holiday Bowl to finish the season with 10 wins.

Final score: No. 16 Iowa (10-3) 49, No. 22 USC (8-5) 24

» Box score

» Recap: Hawkeyes put Trojans in a corner and this bowl MVP debate can rage into the offseason

» Reaction: Dominating performance lifts Iowa to sixth 10-win season under Kirk Ferentz

» Iowa Hawkeyes pay tribute to Hayden Fry with Hokey Pokey after Holiday Bowl


Scoring summary

4th Q: Iowa 49, USC 24

IOWA — Tyrone Tracy 23 run; Keith Duncan kick (7-0 IOWA, 8:25 1st) [Video]


USC — Drake London 4 pass from Kedon Slovis; Chase McGrath kick (7-7, 4:37 1st) [Video]

IOWA — Ihmir Smith-Marsette 6 run; Duncan kick (14-7 IOWA, 11:22 1st)

USC — Vavae Malepeai 16 pass from Slovis; McGrath kick (14-14, 6:03 2nd) [Video]

IOWA — Smith-Marsette 98 kick return; Duncan kick (21-14 IOWA, 5:48 2nd) [Video]

IOWA — Smith-Marsette 12 pass from Nate Stanley; Duncan kick (28-14 IOWA, 1:18 2nd) [Video]

USC — McGrath 32 field goal (28-17 IOWA, 0:00 2nd)

USC — Stephen Carr 3 run; McGrath field goal (28-24 IOWA, 13:29 3rd)

IOWA — Tyler Goodson 1 run; Duncan kick (35-24 IOWA, 2:54 3rd)

IOWA — Brandon Smith 6 pass from Stanley; Duncan kick (42-24 IOWA, 12:52 4th) [Video]

IOWA — Nick Niemann 25 interception return; Duncan kick (49-24 IOWA, 1:43 4th) [Video]

4th Quarter thread

1:43 4th: Iowa 49, USC 24

There's the exclamation point. Nick Niemann returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown, Iowa's first pick-6 of the season.

1:52 4th: Iowa punted but it's pretty safe to say USC doesn't have time for a comeback here.


5:12 4th: USC reached the red zone but Chase McGrath missed a 39-yard field goal wide left after A.J. Epenesa and Chauncey Golston teamed up for a sack that led to an 8-yard loss.

8:11 4th: Nate Stanley was brought down for a 14-yard loss by Greg Johnson on third down to bring out the punt team. USC took over at the Iowa 43.

10:19 4th: False start and delay of game penalties backed up USC and this game is getting away from the Trojans after another punt.

12:52 4th: Iowa 42, USC 24

It took Iowa three plays, but it found the end zone from the 6. Nate Stanley barely stayed behind the line of scrimmage while scrambling and hit Brandon Smith for a TD.

13:46 4th: Another USC turnover. This time, the snap went over Matt Fink's head and Kristian Welch beat him to the ball to recover at the USC 6.

14:44 4th: Nate Stanley had Ihmir Smith-Marsette open on third-and-5 but misfired and the Hawkeyes punted again.

3rd Quarter thread

0:15 3rd: Iowa's defense responded with a three-and-out of its own. A.J. Epenesa and Chauncey Golston had the pressure on third-and-9 to force a throwaway. 

1:20 3rd: Iowa quickly went three-and-out, unable to take advantage of the turnover. That resulted in the Hawkeyes' first punt of the game. 


2:20 3rd: Iowa gets a turnover. As Michael Pittman was fighting for extra yards after a catch, Geno Stone popped the ball out and Michael Ojemudia recovered at the Iowa 43.

2:54 3rd: Iowa 35, USC 24

So, about that USC onside kick ...

After Iowa got a stop, the Hawkeyes drove 90 yards on 14 plays in 7:19 to go up 11. A Nate Stanley QB sneak went 8 yards and Tyler Goodson punched it in with a 1-yard TD on third-and-goal. The Hawkeyes converted three third downs on the drive, including tight end Sam LaPorta stretching for a 13-yard catch on third-and-11 from the Iowa 35.

11:13 3rd: USC caught Iowa with a surprise onside kick, but Iowa's defense stepped up. A.J. Epenesa stripped Kedon Slovis; the Trojans recovered but Slovis left the game with an injury. Matt Fink entered and was sacked by Nick Niemann on third down.

13:29 3rd: Iowa 28, USC 24

USC immediately threw the first punch of the second half. Kedon Slovis dropped a 57-yard bomb to Amon-Ra St. Brown and Stephen Carr scored from the 3 on the next play. 

2nd Quarter thread

0:00 2nd: Iowa 28, USC 17

USC drove 61 yards in 11 plays to get a 32-yard Chase McGrath field goal before the half. Kedon Slovis ended the half 19-of-27 passing for 184 yards and two TDs.

1:18 2nd: Iowa 28, USC 14

Ihmir Smith-Marsette has a first-half hat trick. After scoring via a rush and a kick return earlier, he took a quick pass from Nate Stanley 12 yards to the end zone to put the Hawkeyes up two scores just before the half. That was a six-play, 52-yard drive. Stanley is 11 of 12 for 130 yards in the first half.

4:25 2nd: Iowa got the first stop of the game, and it almost came with a big play. Nick Niemann blitzed on third down and knocked the ball out of Kedon Slovis' hand. Kristian Welch recovered what was called a fumble but it was ruled incomplete after review. Still, the Hawkeyes took over at their 48 after a 27-yard punt.

5:48 2nd: Iowa 21, USC 14

Iowa's first two scoring drives lasted 6:35 and 8:09. This one took a matter of seconds and zero plays from scrimmage. Ihmir Smith-Marsette took the kickoff 98 yards to the house to put the Hawkeyes back in front.

6:03 2nd: Iowa 14, USC 14


Another drive, another TD. A.J. Epenesa forced second-and-19 with a 9-yard sack, but the Trojans recovered and found the end zone four plays later.

Kedon Slovis hit Vavae Malepeai for a 16-yard score to complete an 11-play, 77-yard drive. Slovis was 7 of 8 for 69 yards.

11:22 2nd: Iowa 14, USC 7

Another Iowa receiver is in the end zone via the ground. Ihmir Smith-Marsette went untouched on a jet sweep for a 6-yard run to restore Iowa's lead. The Hawkeyes drove 72 yards in 15 plays.

Smith-Marsette nearly had a TD pass earlier in the drive, but his toss to a wide-open Brandon Smith was just a few inches overthrown.

1st Quarter thread

4:37 1st: Iowa 7, USC 7

USC carved up Iowa through the air to tie it up. Kedon Slovis completed 6 of 7 passes on the Trojans' opening drive, including a 4-yard touchdown strike to Drake London. Three different USC receivers caught passes on the drive and the Trojans also drew a holding penalty in the secondary.

8:25 1st: Iowa 7, USC 0

Hayden Fry would have loved this one. Tyrone Tracy took a reverse 23 yards to the house to give the Hawkeyes an early lead.

USC looked to have Iowa's first drive derailed when Talano Hufanga stripped Nate Stanley in the backfield. But Nate Wieting recovered the fumble and Stanley found Nico Ragaini for a 30-yard gain to the USC 23 on the next play.

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