No. 20 Florida faces No. 21 Iowa in the Outback Bowl
No. 20 Florida (8-4, SEC) vs. No. 21 Iowa (8-4, Big Ten) 1 p.m. EST (ABC).
Line: Florida by 3+.
Series Record: Florida leads 2-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Florida looks to finish this season on a winning note after ending its first season under coach Jim McElwain with a 41-7 loss to Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. Iowa has lost four consecutive bowl games, and coach Kirk Ferentz says Monday’s matchup of four-loss teams is very much about finishing strong, not building momentum for 2017. The Hawkeyes were beaten by Stanford 45-16 in last year’s Rose Bowl.
Florida WR Antonio Callaway (47 receptions, 666 yards, 3 touchdowns) is excited about the challenge of competing against Iowa star CB Desmond King, the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back. It will be equally intriguing to see how Iowa, which ranks next to last in the Big Ten in passing offense at 161.3 yards per game, fares against a Gators secondary featuring two potential first-round NFL draft picks in CBs Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Florida: QB Austin Appleby has completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,225 yards, eight TDs and five interceptions. RB Jordan Scarlett leads the Gators in rushing with 795 yards on 165 attempts and six TDs, while Tabor, Wilson and DL Caleb Brantley are key performers on one of the nation’s stingiest defenses.
Iowa: RB Akrum Wadley, who scored 10 touchdowns, is 34 yards shy of joining RB LeShun Daniels as the only pair of Iowa runners to top 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. Daniels, who has gained 1,013, also has 10 TDs. QB C.J. Beathard, meanwhile, has completed nearly 59 percent of his passes for 1,874 yards and 17 TDs vs. seven interceptions; however, he doesn’t have a receiver with more than 41 catches, 506 yards and four TDs (Riley McCarron).
FACTS & FIGURES
The Gators are making their fifth appearance in the Outback Bowl, splitting the previous four games. It’s the third time (2004, 2006) the opponent has been Iowa, who also faced the Gators in the 1983 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. … Florida is one of 10 teams in the country to play in a bowl game in 15 of the last 16 seasons. … Florida’s 2016 schedule included 10 bowl-eligible teams. … The Gators have just two players who have started every game this season: LT David Sharpe and CB Quincy Wilson. … Iowa’s defense was especially stout late in the season, limiting Michigan, Illinois and Nebraska to a combined 23 points in the Hawkeyes’ last three games. … Beathard is 21-6 as Iowa’s starting QB. He is 4-0 when he’s thrown for less than 100 yards, including wins over Michigan and Illinois this season.
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- Akrum Wadley
- Antonio Callaway
- Austin Appleby
- C.J. Beathard
- Caleb Brantley
- David Sharpe
- Desmond King
- Illinois Fighting Illini
- Jordan Scarlett
- Michigan Wolverines
- Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Quincy Wilson
- Riley McCarron
- Stanford Cardinal