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Iowa vs Tennessee: Cheez-It Citrus Bowl Game Thread

The Hawkeyes look to close the book on the 2023 football season.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Iowa
One. Last. Time.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes are poised to take the field one last time as they hope to cap off their 2023 season with a second straight bowl win over an SEC opponent. After falling short in the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan, the Hawkeyes now look for redemption against a top-25 team from Tennessee.

But as with a season ago, this Volunteer team is not the same one that won eight games in the regular season. While the Hawkeyes enter the day with only WR Diante Vines exiting the lineup and entering the portal, Tennessee has a slew of players either opting out of today’s game or hitting the portal for greener pastures.

That includes starting QB Joe Milton, as well as top two RBs Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small. Making matters worse for Josh Heuppel’s offense, starting LT John Campbell is qustionable and while starting RG Javontez Spraggins is out due to injury. On the other side of the ball, the Volunteers are without four starters, including three from the secondary, which has six players in the portal.

Key Tennessee Opt-Outs, Transfers, Injuries

  • QB Joe Milton
  • RB Jaylen Wright
  • RB Jabari Small
  • DE Tyler Baron (Transfer)
  • Nickel Tamarion McDonald (Transfer)
  • S Wesley Walker (Transfer)
  • CB Doneiko Slaughter (Transfer)
  • CB Brandon Turnage (Transfer)
  • OL Addison Nichols (Transfer)
  • OL Javontez Spraggins (Injury)
  • LB Keenan Pili (Injury)
  • LB Arion Carter (Injury)
  • WR Bru McCoy (Injury)
  • WR Dont’e Thornton (Injury)
  • CB Kamal Hadden (Injury)
  • OL John Campbell (QUESTIONABLE — Injury)

Can Iowa take advantage of the missing personnel for the Volunteers to move to 11-3 on the season and build some momentum on the offensive side of the ball for 2024? Or will the struggles on that side of the ball continue, costing the elite-level defense yet another chance at victory against a ranked opponent?

We’ll find out soon enough as Iowa and Tennessee face off in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl from Orlando.

Here’s a quick reminder on the details for today’s matchup:

Date: Monday, January 1st
Time: 12:00 pm CT
Matchup: #17 Iowa Hawkeyes (10-3, 7-2) vs #21 Tennessee Volunteers (8-4, 4-4)
Location: Camping World Stadium - Orlando, FL
TV: ABC
DraftKings Sportsbook Line: Tennessee -5.5, O/U 36

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

The usual rules apply again today. Play nice in the comments. No personal attacks, no politics, keep the language somewhat in check and please, report any spam bots that may happen to show their digital faces.

Go Hawks!