December 30, 2013

Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. LSU

Outback Bowl Matchup: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. LSU Tigers

Date/Time: January 1st, 1:00 ET

Television: ESPN

Outback Bowl Odds from Bookmaker

Point Spread: LSU -7

Total: 49

The Iowa Hawkeyes surprised most by winning eight games this season. They can cap off their successful campaign in a big time way on New Year’s Day if they can bust the LSU Tigers in the 2014 Outback Bowl in Tampa Bay.

The Hawkeyes are a tough team to watch at times, as they aren’t the prettiest offensive side in the world. They averaged just 27.3 points per game this season and 389.2 yards per game to boot, and they run the ball right up the gut a ton. QB Jake Rudock, who is dealing with a minor knee problem which he is expected to play through, didn’t have a single receiver with more than 389 yards this season, but he did have three backs which might end up with 2,000 yards this year when this one is said and done with. Though there were surely some ugly games (the 28-9 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers and 26-14 loss to the Michigan State Spartans both come to mind), this was a team which also went on the road and won four times this season. The one loss was only by 10 against the Ohio State Buckeyes, who were clearly the best team in the Big Ten all season long until the Big Ten Championship Game.

LSU is still looked upon as one of the best teams in the SEC this year, and we think that a 9-3 record isn’t necessarily indicative of what it was really all about. The team was beaten on the road three times this year, and two of the three losses were by the narrowest of margins. QB Zach Mettenberger really took some major strides in the right direction, and he ended up throwing for over 3,000 yards. WR Jarvis Landry had 1,172 of those yards. The issue? Mettenberger broke his ankle in the last regular season game of the year, and that takes away the catalyst of an offense which improved drastically this year. Though the Bayou Bengals didn’t put up those major defensive numbers we are used to seeing, this unit was back on its heels just a bit because teams had to keep up with an offense which averaged 37.0 points per game, 21st best in the land. QB Anthony Jennings will be taking over as the starter for this offense for the Outback Bowl, and he has had the whole month of December to prep as the starter.

These two teams met at the Capital One Bowl in 2005, a game which ended with a miracle touchdown on the last play of the game for the Hawkeyes to pull off the upset. Iowa has a great bowl record since 1995 at 8-5, and that includes a 4-1 record against SEC teams in either the Outback Bowl or the Capital One Bowl. LSU has been beaten in consecutive bowl games in dismal offensive performances, though Head Coach Les Miles does have a history of coming up big in games like these.

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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