Iowa headed to Florida



IOWA CITY — Iowa is headed back to Florida for the bowl season, as the 17th-ranked Hawkeyes will face No. 21 Tennessee in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl.

Kickoff from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida is set for Monday, Jan. 1 at noon. The game will air live on ABC.

This marks the 36th bowl appearance for the Hawkeyes (10-3 overall) and third in the Citrus Bowl. They topped LSU in 2005 on an improbable Drew Tate-to-Warren Holloway touchdown pass as time expired, falling to Kentucky two years ago, 20-17.

Iowa has won four of its last five bowl games overall, including a 21-0 shutout to avenge the Kentucky loss last year in the Music City Bowl. They are 18-16-1 all-time in the postseason.

“First of all we’re just excited to be playing another game,” Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Really proud of our team. They worked hard all year. Disappointing loss last night but they certainly earned the right to play an outstanding Bowl like the Citrus Bowl. We are first and foremost, excited to be playing.

“Secondly, very excited to be going back to Orlando. A lot of the guys on our team had that experience two years ago. For a lot of guys, it’s going to be a new experience. And whether they have been there two years ago or the new guys this year, the one thing about is just it’s a really tremendous Bowl game. First class experience on and off the field.”

Iowa and Tennessee (8-4) have met three times, with the Volunteers winning twice. The last meeting was in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, as Tennessee won, 45-28. The Hawks won the 1982 Peach Bowl and Tennessee claimed a victory in 1987.

This past weekend, Iowa lost to top-ranked Michigan for the Big Ten title after going 4-0 in the month of November.

Deacon Hill has taken over at quarterback following a season-ending injury to Cade McNamara, throwing for almost 1,100 yards with five TDs. LeShon Williams has a team-high 804 yards rushing with Kaleb Johnson adding 429 and three scores.

Joe Milton III, a former Michigan quarterback like McNamara, has thrown for over 2,800 yards to lead the Vols, who closed the year losing two of three. Jaylen Wright has 1,013 yards rushing and Squirrel White leads the way with 764 yards receiving.

“It’s going to be a great challenge on the field,” Ferentz said. “We realize that. It was that way two years ago; it will be against Tennessee, as well. We’re just executed to be playing and even better that we’re playing on the 1st. In the Citrus Bowl.”