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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014

Outback Bowl notes: Iowa safety learns painful lesson


TAMPA — The play of the day in Wednesday’s Outback Bowl belonged to Iowa S John Lowdermilk and is one he would like to forget.

Lowdermilk ended a third-quarter LSU drive by intercepting Anthony Jennings’ pass at the Tigers’ 28-yard line and returning it 72 yards for a touchdown, Iowa’s first of the game.

At least it was a touchdown until the replay official took another look at the play.

Lowdermilk, who made his first career interception, dropped the ball before crossing the goal line, a move that set Iowa up with a first-and-goal at the LSU 1 and left Lowdermilk a tad embarrassed.

“It was a bonehead play on my part,” Lowdermilk said. “It was dumb.”

Trailing 14-0 at the time, Iowa scored on Mark Weisman’s 2-yard run on third down.

Lowdermilk, who found himself standing alone on the Iowa sideline when Weisman lost a yard on first down and Jake Rudock threw incomplete on second down, was congratulated by his teammates when Weisman finally scored.

“It was just a sickening feeling all around,” Lowdermilk said. “I was just so happy Mark scored.”

Still fighting

Jeremy Hill’s second touchdown run of the afternoon, a 37-yard run, gave LSU a 21-7 lead with 3 minutes, 2 seconds remaining and seemed to secure the victory.

But Iowa’s Jordan Cotton returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards, and backup QB C.J. Beathard found Kevonta Martin-Manley on a 4-yard touchdown pass to make it a seven-point game with 1:42 to play.

“The game was not over yet,” Cotton said. “We’ve been down, and we’ve been at this point before. That’s the way Iowa football is — we keep fighting until the clock says zeros.”

Iowa tried an onside kick, but LSU recovered.

The Hawkeyes proved Cotton’s point about playing until the clock reads zero when they attempted several laterals after LSU punted on the final play of the game.

Defense, defense

Iowa kept LSU’s wide receiving duo of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry in check, holding the pair of 1,000-yard receivers to 35 and 21 yards, respectively.

Some of that was due to LSU’s game plan that called for 51 running plays. The rest belonged to Iowa’s seventh-ranked defense.

“It was a good defensive game,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Overall, both teams were playing tough defense and sometimes that’s what happens when good teams get together.”

Rushing forward

Hill’s career-high 216 rushing yards were the third-most in LSU bowl history.

Kevin Faulk rushed for 234 yards against Michigan State in the 1995 Independence Bowl, and Rondell Mealey had 222 in 1997 against Notre Dame in the Independence Bowl.

Hill became the first running back to gain 200 yards during Les Miles’ coaching tenure at LSU.

Wisconsin’s Terrell Fletcher holds the Outback Bowl record with 241 rushing yards in 1995.


Rudock left the game in the fourth quarter after spraining his right knee. He expects to be healthy in time for spring football. ... Iowa was shut out in the first half of a bowl game for the first time since the 1963 Bluebonnet Bowl. ... Beckham extended his streak of games with at least one catch to 27. ... Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz extended his streak of games with at least one catch to 31, second-longest in the nation among tight ends. ... Iowa is 2-2 all-time in the Outback Bowl. LSU is 1-1.

Roger Mooney