Outback Bowl: Football Game Watch, Iowa vs. Florida

Outback Bowl

Iowa vs. Florida, 2017 Outback Bowl, Monday, January 2, 2017, 10:00 a.m. Pacific time

Iowa Hawkeye Outback Bowl official game watch locations are Barney’s Beanery (Santa Monica and Redondo Beach ONLY).  Please note, Barney’s Beanery Pasadena will not be an official game watch location for the Outback Bowl, due to Rose Bowl activities.  Santa Monica and Redondo Beach will honor 40% off food and drink purchases for anyone who wears Iowa gear during the Outback Bowl only.

Barney’s Beanery Santa Monica

1351 3rd St. Promenade

Santa Monica, CA

310.656.5777
 

Barney’s Beanery Redondo Beach

100 Fisherman’s Wharf, Suite H

Redondo Beach, CA

424.275.4820

 
In the words of Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, 2016 Hawkeye Football was a classic example of the ebbs and flows of college football.  On September 17th, Hawk Nation was stunned when North Dakota State pulled off the upset on #11 ranked Iowa.  After a tough stretch which included a one sided affair against Big 10 foe Penn State, many fans accepted that Iowa would be home for the holidays.  And just like that, Hawkeye fans were stunned once more; turning the College Football Playoffs upside down after a 33-yard field goal eliminated the Michigan Wolverines and turned Kinnick Stadium into the largest outdoor party.
Rebounding from adversity earned the Hawkeyes the right to represent the Big 10 in the Outback Bowl against SEC’s Florida Gators.  So much history between these programs and maybe no one wants the opportunity of redemption more than Iowa Linebacker Chad Greenway, who tweeted “#IWasNotOffsides”.  Hovering over the Hawkeyes program is the reminder they haven’t won a bowl game since 2010.  The incentive for the team is there but they’ll be met with one of college football’s toughest test.  The Gator Defense is ranked in the top 10 nationally and has been lights out all season.  If LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley are to be the workhorses, the O-Line will have to win the battle upfront and this will be a test like no other.  CJ Beathard has struggled staying upright all year and now he’ll face a defense with 30 sacks on the year and over 70 tackles for loss.  You want to talk about speed?  There’s no denying they possess speed on the edges.  We all know Iowa better than anyone, so we know there’s no changing the philosophy; Ferentz will run right at them.  However, In order to combat the pressure, Iowa will most likely need to get Wadley in open space with screens to counter-balance their speed and let him make his own path.  Beathard is likely to focus on short throws since he may not have a lot of time to sit in the pocket and go through his rotations.  Winning 1st and 2nd down battles will be key for Iowa to put points on the board.  3rd down must be manageable, and it will also make play-calling less predictable if the defense has to consider Iowa could run or pass.
With the offensive struggles Iowa has seen this season; Florida has felt their share of pains as well.  Plagued with turnovers, Quarterback Austin Appleby should plan to steer completely clear of Cornerback Desmond King.  Tis the season for giving, so Iowa’s D needs to capitalize on any gifts Florida’s offense is handing out.  Jaleel Johnson’s safety against the Wolverines completely flipped momentum, and without it; the comeback most likely doesn’t happen.  Coach Parker may find sending blitz’s more often will provide the secondary with better opportunities to make plays on the ball.
On paper, the similarities between these two programs make for an interesting matchup; and expect them to live up to every bit of it.  There’s no love lost anytime the Big 10 meets the SEC, and the Hawkeyes have plenty to be playing for.  The New Year is upon us, but the past is what will make this another classic rivalry showdown.  We’ll see if we can add Alligator to the Barney’s Beanery menu for one day only.  Time to send the SEC back to the swamp.  Chomp on that!  Let’s Go Hawks!
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