Unlike some predictions, Iowa were able to hang in there with LSU for most of the Outback Bowl. However, their defense couldn’t grab a hold of Jeremy Hill, running for two touchdowns and 216 yards, leading the Tigers to the 21-14 win.
The Hawkeyes had quite a rebound year after missing out on a bowl game in 2012, but it still wasn’t enough against LSU who finish the season at 10-3, two of those losses (to Georgia and Ole Miss) coming by three points, making them wonder of what could have been.
Playing without Mettenberger, Les Miles didn’t ask too much of freshman Anthony Jennings, who completed only 7-of-19 on his first start in college football. Iowa did a good job in hunting him down, as he finished with 5 carries for a negative 31 yards, but he did run in one for a touchdown, while Hill did most of the work as he averaged 7.7 yards a carry. It was his 7th 100 rushing yard game this season, finishing with 1401 rushing yards.
There wasn’t much offense from Iowa, as expected. Their defense was good enough against an unimpressive LSU side for the most part, but up to a point. Jake Rudock threw an interception and completed only 9-of-22 passes. C.J. Beathard came on for him in the fourth quarter and finished with 4-of-7 with a touchdown and an interception. The running game gained only 76 yards on 37 carries. Despite LSU not being a great offensive team, Iowa didn’t have enough to offer most of the game.
Our team wanted to create a legacy, and the seniors wanted to be the first group to win 10 games four years in a row. They wanted to win a bowl championship and they wanted to commit to playing as a team.
The hard work that each and every guy has went through, there was no question they were going to play hard together. It was a gutsy performance by Iowa. We had a great amount of respect for them coming in and they showed that respect was well earned.
Iowa were hoping that the Bowl victory from the 2004 season over LSU might happen again, but no magical pass in the final seconds happened. Kirk Ferentz did a good job under a lot of scrutiny this season in bringing back Iowa to respectable form, although it’s hard to say if this team has a 10-win season in them next year, and maybe evne challenging for a title in the Big Ten.
For LSU, getting used to life with Alabama being so strong hasn’t been easy, but maybe things will change next season with A.J. McCarron leaving and the Crimson Tide looking vulnerable for the first time in a couple of seasons. Les Miles needs to hope that there’s a bit more to his team than just a very strong defense and he can bring a new offense up to speed quickly, becaue expectations at LSU are always high, and being out of the contention for the SEC and a national title for a thrid consecutive season might become a bit too much for some people.