Iowa headed to the Outback Bowl


Iowa tight end George Kittle celebrates a touchdown during the Iowa-Iowa State game at Kinnick on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Iowa head Iowa State to one field goal to defeated them, 45-3. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

By Jordan Hansen | [email protected]

The Iowa football team is headed to Tampa, Florida to play the Florida Gators on January 2nd in the 2017 Outback Bowl.

“We are thrilled to extend an invitation to the University of Florida and the University of Iowa to play in this year’s Outback Bowl,” Outback Bowl Chairman Steve Pratico said.  “These are two quality teams and a match-up that fans are really going to enjoy watching.    We look forward to hosting the Hawkeyes and Gator teams and their fans, and ensure them they will have a memorable experience in the Tampa Bay area.”

This will be the fifth time the Hawkeyes have played in the Outback Bowl under head coach Kirk Ferentz and the third time against the Gators. Iowa is 2-2 in the game, with wins against Florida and South Carolina. The last time the team played in the bowl was after the 2013 season, a narrow 21-14 loss to an LSU team with Odell Beckham playing wide receiver.

There had been rumors for a little over a week that the Outback Bowl desperately wanted the Hawkeyes, even as the team seem slated towards a berth in the Holiday Bowl. However, with the Big Ten putting four teams in New Year’s Six bowl games, it opened up a slot.

Iowa also beat Nebraska in the last game of the regular season, which seems to have offset the Cornhuskers having one more win.

Florida is coming off a loss in the SEC Championship to Alabama, a game in which it did not look the slightest bit competitive in the second half. There’s a whole lot to break down, but we have about a month to do that, so we’ll keep this post short.

Kirk Ferentz and the rest of the Iowa football team have media availability this evening, so stay tuned for their reactions to the news.

One last thing — this game is being played on Jan. 2 because Jan. 1 is on a Sunday. It’s a rule that I believe has been in place for quite some time, but even so it just gives the teams an extra day to prepare.

(Updated with Outback Bowl representative quotes)




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