TAMPA, Fla. — The Hawkeye football team hung in the game, but fell short in a 21-14 loss to LSU in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday.
Playing in rainy conditions, the Hawkeye offense was nowhere to be found in the first half. Iowa gained just 73 first-half yards and trailed LSU, 14-0.
The Tigers started with the ball and quickly set the tone for the rest of the half. Running back Jeremy Hill burst for 42 yards on the first play from scrimmage. LSU ran the ball eight consecutive times to open the game, gaining 72 yards and a touchdown on quarterback Anthony Jennings’ 2-yard scramble.
LSU’s other scoring drive came after Iowa punt returner Kevonte Martin-Manley dropped a kick in Hawkeye territory. That led to a 14-yard touchdown rumble by Hill, who finished the first half with 102 yards.
Iowa found more success after halftime. The Hawkeyes went on a 58-yard drive to open the second half, but kicker Mike Meyer pushed a field goal attempt wide right. On the ensuing LSU possession, safety John Lowdermilk intercepted a pass and returned it 72 yards. A replay showed Lowdermilk dropped the ball just before crossing the goal line, but Iowa would retain possession and score their first points of the game on a Mark Weisman touchdown plunge.
From that point, the Hawkeye defense repeatedly came up huge. LSU came up empty on four straight possessions, as Iowa sent several blitzes and pressured Jennings.
Hawkeye quarterback Jake Rudock left the game at the end of the third quarter with an apparent leg injury. Backup C.J. Beathard took over, and Iowa’s offense threatened to tie the game twice with 8-play drives. But the first ended in a turnover on downs in the red zone,
and the second in a Tiger interception on fourth-and-1.
Hill broke through for a 37-yard touchdown run with 2:02 remaining that provided the winning points for LSU. A 96-yard return by Iowa’s Jordan Cotton on the ensuing kickoff set up a touchdown throw from Beathard to Martin-Manley, but Iowa failed to recover an onside kick and the game ended.
Iowa finishes the season 8-5.