TAMPA, Fla. — Iowa and Florida have become quite familiar with one another in bowl action over the years, but their experiences are more varied than their locations.
Twice previously (after the 2003, 2005 seasons) the Hawkeyes and Gators have faced off in the Outback Bowl. In 1983, the teams played in the Gator Bowl.
Here’s a look at their previous three meetings as the teams approach their fourth bowl matchup — and third in the Outback Bowl — on Monday (1 p.m. ET, ABC).
1983 Gator Bowl: Florida 14, Iowa 6
Iowa took one of Hayden Fry’s most underrated teams to the Gator Bowl, poised to win 10 games in a season for the first time in program history. The No. 10-ranked Hawkeyes were 9-2 overall and featured a burgeoning offense with quarterback Chuck Long and one of the nation’s best defenses. Florida was 8-2-1 and ranked No. 11. It had the makings of a great matchup — until the weather factored in.
On one of the coldest nights in Jacksonville history, the temperatures dipped into the 20s and the wind whipped throughout the stadium. It was the culmination of brutal weather all week, which kept Iowa to only one practice in five days in northern Florida.
The weather paralyzed the offenses. Long threw four interceptions that night, and Florida’s offense mounted just 250 yards. The game’s most pivotal play took place shortly before halftime, when Iowa punter Tommy Nichol dropped the snap, and Florida’s Doug Drew recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. The 14-6 score held up, and the Gators earned their first top-10 finish in school history.
2004 Outback Bowl: Iowa 37, Florida 17
The Hawkeyes won their first January bowl game since the 1959 Rose Bowl with a 37-17 pounding of the Gators. Iowa outrushed Florida 328-57 — a record low for the Outback Bowl — and dominated the game from the mid-first quarter through the game’s conclusion.
The week’s tone was shaped by Florida coach Ron Zook, who was asked in a press conference about Iowa kicker Nate Kaeding. Zook mistook Kaeding for a running back, which fueled a tone of disrespect among the Hawkeyes.
“Well, I mean he’s a little like our situation in that all three of our running backs are a little different in the way that they run, the way they attack, their power and that kind of thing,” Zook told reporters. “When you look at what they’ve done running the football, you have to feel that they’ve done something right.”
Kaeding made three field goals in the game. He was a third-round draft pick in 2004, kicked for nine years in the NFL and ranks sixth all-time in field goal percentage.
“I made 20 of 21 field goals this year, so that’s all I’m going to say about it,” Kaeding said afterward.
2006 Outback Bowl: Florida 31, Iowa 24
The game that sticks out for Iowa fans remains the 2006 Outback Bowl, a 31-24 loss to Urban Meyer and the Gators. Florida led 31-7 entering the fourth quarter before the Hawkeyes started rolling. Iowa scored 17 straight points in the final period and cut its deficit to seven points on a field goal with 1:24 left in the game.
With all the momentum, Iowa’s Scott Chandler recovered the ensuing onside kick and appeared to have a chance at tying the game. But Iowa’s Chad Greenway was whistled for an offsides penalty, which wiped out the recovery. Greenway clearly was behind the line when the ball was kicked. Iowa’s protest fell short, and the head of Conference USA officiating admitted his crew made a huge blunder. Florida ran out the clock for the win.
Even now, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz fumes about that penalty. On a trip to Tampa earlier this month, Ferentz told SEC Country, “I got over that a long time ago. But we got screwed — only on that call.”
“I’ll share this with you,” Ferentz added. “There’s a reason that call was made, because I crossed the line earlier in the game with that same official and that was his way of saying goodbye to me. Because he got on a plane and went back somewhere. So I learned a lesson there — shut up. I thought I was a smart young guy, right? I should have kept my mouth shut.”