Iowa capped off its 2016 season and welcomed the New Year with a demoralizing defeat to Florida in the Outback Bowl, 30-3.
The Hawkeyes busted out with some momentum early, intercepting two Austin Appleby passes off of deflections on each of the Gators’ first two drives. The offense, however, only managed to put up three points off of those turnovers.
Missed opportunities by Iowa would be a theme throughout; midway through the second quarter, the Hawkeyes managed to put together a surprisingly effective drive of 10 plays, 62 yards, but were unable to convert on a crucial 4th and goal from inside the 1-yard line and came up empty.
After an exchanging of empty possessions, Florida fielded the ball at its own 15 with about 2 minutes left in the first half. In a true momentum-shifting play, the Gators hit on a screen and broke something like a million tackles en route to an 85-yard touchdown right before the half, resulting in a 10-3 score at intermission.
Iowa (or, more accurately, Akrum Wadley) came out with a little punch in the second half, converting a 3rd and 15 on its opening drive to set up a drive resulting in a 30-yard field goal attempt, which … Keith Duncan missed.
That seemed to be the failed opportunity that broke the Hawkeyes’ back, as the defense followed that up by yielding a 12-play, 80-yard drive resulting in a 17-3 Florida lead. Iowa wouldn’t legitimately challenge the Gators after that point.
Desperation time resulted in a few interceptions on the part of a banged up CJ Beathard, but the Hawks really lost this game in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
Ultimately, Florida outgained Iowa 331 to 226 and ended up +1 in turnover margin. The Hawkeyes, who had been in the top-10 in redzone offense, were unable to convert a single opportunity inside the Gator 20-yard line.
It’s a dour ending to an up-and-down season which saw the Hawkeyes largely underachieve based on preseason expectations. Stay tuned to The Pants throughout your upcoming drinking binge for move coverage of and analysis on Iowa’s defeat in the Outback Bowl.