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Iowa Football: Hawkeyes Set to Face Kentucky Wildcats in Citrus Bowl

The Hawkeyes are playing on New Year’s Day for their 34th bowl appearance.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Football Championship-Iowa vs Michigan
The Hawkeyes are headed back to Orlando for their second appearance in the Citrus Bowl.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a season for Iowa fans. The Hawkeyes were riding high halfway through the year when Iowa climbed as high as #2 in the AP poll after starting 6-0 and taking down a top-5 Penn State team in Kinnick. Then Iowa dropped back-to-back games to Purdue and Wisconsin and the season seemed destined for failure.

But the Hawkeyes strung together four straight wins to close out the regular season and win the Big Ten West. Just as fan pessimism began to wane, the #13 Hawkeyes were absolutely pummeled by #2 Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday night 42-3.

Now, the Wolverines are headed to the College Football Playoffs to take on #3 Georgia. The winner of that game will take on the winner of #1 Alabama and #4 Cincinnati.

For the Hawkeyes, the rollercoaster ride is set to take Iowa fans on one more loop. The now #15 Iowa Hawkeyes are set to take on the #22 Kentucky Wildcats in the VRBO Citrus Bowl in Orlando on New Year’s Day.

This marks Iowa’s 34th ever bowl appearance and their second trip to what is now the Citrus Bowl. The bowl was formerly known as the Capital One Bowl. Hawkeye fans will recall Iowa’s only other appearance in the game back in 2005 when Drew Tate found Warren Holloway for a 56-yard touchdown to defeat #11 LSU 30-25 as time expired.

Iowa enters as winners of their last three bowl games after the 2020 Music City Bowl was canceled. That marks the second time in program history. The Hawkeyes hold a 17-15-1 all-time record in bowl games.

Iowa will be facing Kentucky for the first time in program history on January 1st. The Hawkeyes are 6-5 all-time against SEC opponents.

The Wildcats, coached by former Hawkeye Mark Stoops, come in to the matchup winners of their last three contests. Kentucky ranks 30th nationally in scoring offense at 33.3 points per game and 32nd in scoring defense at 22.1 points per game allowed. They rank 127th in turnover margin on the season at -13.

For Hawkeye fans looking to make the trip to Orlando, the Iowa Ticket Office is accepting ticket requests beginning Monday, December 6th through 12pm CT on Friday, December 10th for season ticket holders and I-Club members. Any tickets still available after the priority process for season ticket holders and I-Club members will be made available for the pubic on Tuesday, December 14th.

If you’re looking to purchase tickets on the secondary market, note that the Hawkeyes will be on the west sidelines as they are the visiting team in Camping World Stadium.

Kickoff between #15 Iowa and #22 Kentucky is set for 12pm CT on Saturday, January 1st. The game will be broadcast on ABC.