Iowa loses to LSU in Outback Bowl
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — At least Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz had some positive news about injured quarterback Jake Rudock.
C.J. Beathard replaced Rudock on the first play of the fourth quarter of the Hawkeyes’ 21-14 loss to No. 14 LSU in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday. Ferentz said Rudock reinjured his knee that was hurt earlier this season.
“He’s going to be fine,” Ferentz said. “Nothing to be alarmed about. I think having an out of season will really get him healthy.”
Beathard’s fourth-down interception stopped one promising drive, but he also tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley that trimmed Iowa’s deficit to 21-14 with 1:42 remaining.
Jeremy Hill rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns for LSU.
Craig Loston’s fourth-quarter interception gave Hill a chance to put the game out of reach, and he carried four times for 87 yards on a six-play, 92-yard march that gave LSU (10-3) a 21-7 lead.
Iowa (8-5) pulled within a touchdown after Jordan Cotton returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tigers 4.
Safety John Lowdermilk set up Iowa’s other TD — Mark Weisman’s 2-yard run in the third quarter — with an interception and 71-yard return to the LSU 1.
Lowdermilk was untouched on the return, and officials initially ruled that he scored. But the TD was reversed when a replay review determined that he dropped the ball before crossing the goal line.
“It was just an embarrassing play, and that’s not Iowa Hawkeye football. ... I really regret it and I apologize,” Lowdermilk said. “It was just a sickening feeling all around. I was just so happy Mark scored. It was a bonehead play on my part.”
Iowa had won three in a row.
Hill carried 28 times, averaging 7.7 yards per carry. On the clinching drive, he delivered runs of 2, 28, 20 and finally 37 yards for his second touchdown. He also scored on a 14-yard run in the second quarter.
Iowa was back in a bowl after staying at home with a 4-8 record in 2012. The Hawkeyes’ four regular-season losses came to nationally ranked Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, teams that took a combined record of 45-6 into the Rose, Orange, Capital One and Poinsettia Bowls.
“This group, especially our older guys, they’ve shown the younger guys how to do things,” Ferentz said. “How to work. How to act. How to think. I just hope everybody’s paying attention. I think we’ve got a group right underneath them that will impose their will, too.”
LSU’s first trip to Tampa since 1989, when the Outback was known as the Hall of Fame Bowl, capped another successful season under Les Miles, but one that fell short of expectations for a program accustomed to contending for national titles.
Besides a three-touchdown loss to Alabama, the Tigers dropped three-point decisions to SEC rivals Georgia and Mississippi, while also displaying their potential by being the only team to defeat No. 2 Auburn during the regular season.
Hill broke a 42-yard run on his first carry, setting the tone against an Iowa defense that entered yielding just under 121 yards rushing per game and a little more than 303 overall, third in the Big Ten and seventh nationally. Seven plays later, Anthony Jennings finished a 77-yard, game-opening drive with his TD run.
Jennings made his start in place of the injured Zach Mettenberger.
An Iowa fumble on a punt led to Hill’s 14-yard burst that made it 14-0 midway through the second quarter.
But the Hawkeyes were not discouraged, even after Mike Meyer’s 35-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right, leaving Iowa down by 14 in the third quarter.
Lowdermilk’s first career interception and long return bolstered hope for a comeback. But without Rudock, who was 9 of 22 for 102 yards and one interception before being injured late in the third quarter, the Hawkeyes came up short.
“We didn’t execute to the best of our ability,” Iowa tackle Brett Van Sloten said. “Hats off to LSU.”