Music City gives Iowa chance for payback against Kentucky

Music City Bowl: Iowa (7-5) vs. Kentucky (7-5), December 31 at noon EST (ABC)


Series record: Kentucky leads 1-0.

what is at stake

Iowa coach Kirk Ferencz is one bowl win away from trailing the late Joe Paterno for most bowl wins by a Big Ten coach (10). Even better, the Hawkeyes could get some payoff for losing the Citrus Bowl, 20-17, to Kentucky to close out last season, which Iowa State Music’s First trip to City he Bowl. The Kentucky Wildcats can break the school record with five consecutive bowl wins. The Wildcats are also looking for his eighth win, his fourth in five seasons. The win would be the 16th season in Kentucky’s history to finish with at least eight wins.

key matchup

Iowa offense versus Kentucky defense. The Wildcats have just 19.1 per game, which ranks him 11th in the nation. That includes holding top-ranked Georgia to just 16 points last month. Overall, the Wildcats allow him 320.2 yards a game (17th on FBS) and 146.8 yards per run (59th). Iowa is next last in total offense (255.4 yards) and will have a hard time moving the ball against Kentucky in any phase, especially with a new quarterback who hasn’t yet taken a snap in a college game. Starter Spencer Petras was injured and Alex Padilla hit a transfer his portal.

Player to watch

Iowa: All-American LB Jack Campbell. Hawkeye, who won the Buttocks Award first, led Iowa with his 118 tackles. He’s been a big support on defense, holding opponents down to his 277.9 yards and his 14.4 points per game.

Kentucky: Senior DB Keadron Smith. The transfer of Ole Miss helped bolster the secondary and he ranked eighth with 43 tackles. He also tied the team lead with two interceptions and returned one for a 65-yard touchdown in Florida. He has seven career picks. His sister Kayron is a senior forward for Vanderbilt.

facts and figures

This is Iowa’s 35th bowl game appearance and first appearance at the Music City Bowl. Iowa accepted a bid against Missouri to play in this bowl in 2020 before the bowl was canceled due to the pandemic. In his bowl games with the team, he’s always 6-6. …Iowa is his 21st bowl qualification in his 22nd season under Ferenc. … Kentucky leads the nation with his 20-game win streak in non-conference games. … Kentucky can record its 13th bowl victory in Music City Bowl history and its third bowl victory. … a win would extend coach Mark Stoops’ program record to 67 career wins. …Iowa’s All-American DB, his Kaevon Merriweather, opted out of this bowl in preparation for the NFL Draft. So did his Kentucky QB Will Levis and RB Chris Rodriguez.


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