TAMPA, Fla. — Two teams who have executed in similar fashion will face off in the 31st Outback Bowl (1 p.m. ET, ABC) at Raymond James Stadium.
Iowa (8-4) won its final three games and beat ranked opponents Michigan and Nebraska in the process. Florida (8-4) dropped its last two games to top-10 opponents Florida State and Alabama.
The Hawkeyes have lost their last four bowl games dating to the 2010 season. None of the team’s current players have won a bowl game. That’s been a motivation for the team throughout the season. Iowa has faced the Gators three times previously in bowl games. Florida won 14-6 in the 1983 Gator Bowl and 31-24 in the 2006 Outback Bowl. The Hawkeyes beat the Gators 37-17 in the 2004 Outback Bowl.
Iowa vs. Florida game time, details
Time: 1 p.m. (ET) / Noon (CT) kickoff
Date: Monday, Jan. 2
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
Weather: 81 degrees and partly sunny at kickoff
The line: Florida is a 3-point favorite
What TV channel broadcasts Iowa vs. Florida?
ABC will televise the fourth meeting between the teams.
How can I watch Iowa vs. Florida online?
WatchESPN will provide live streaming of the game. Click here for more information.
How can I listen to Iowa vs. Florida on the radio?
You can listen nationally on the TunedIn app here. Neither ESPN radio nor Sirius/XM plan to broadcast the game. In Iowa, 600 AM (WMT-Cedar Rapids), 1040 AM (WHO-Des Moines) and 800 AM (KXIC-Iowa City) are the flagship radio stations. Gary Dolphin is the play-by-play broadcaster with Ed Podolak as the color analyst and Rob Brooks on the sidelines. Click here for other Iowa radio affiliates. In Florida, 850 AM and 103.7 (WRUF-Gainesville) and 620 AM (WDAE-Tampa) are among the primary outlets. Click here for other Florida affiliates.
Who is calling the game for ABC?
Mike Patrick handles the play-by-play, Ed Cunningham provides the color and Dr. Jerry Punch adds flavor as the sideline reporter.
— Hawkeye FB Video (@hawkeyeFBvideo) December 30, 2016
Iowa vs. Florida keys to the game
Generate something in the passing game
There’s not a more unbalanced matchup during bowl season than Florida’s passing defense against Iowa’s passing offense. The Hawkeyes rank 114th through the air with 161.3 yards per game. The Gators are third nationally in allowing just 156.3 a game. Florida cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson are likely first-round draft picks. Riley McCarron is the only Hawkeye receiver to catch more than 23 passes this year. But Iowa can’t just give up through the air; it’s going to take some alterations, like isolating Akrum Wadley on linebackers, to advance the ball.
Contain Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway
Florida’s passing game didn’t exactly shake up the world this year, either. The Gators ranked 84th and passed for 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. But receiver Antonio Callaway is a weapon that Iowa must contain, especially when he’s lined up against inexperienced cornerback Josh Jackson. Calloway finished eighth in the SEC in catches (43), ninth in yards per game (60.5) and was a serious threat on special teams (a kick return for a score against Missouri, 7.4 yards per punt return).
Run the football, even when it’s unexpected
If Wadley can rush for 34 yards, the Hawkeyes will have two running backs surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a season for the first time in school history. Both Wadley (966 yards) and LeShun Daniels (1,013) ran for 10 touchdowns. They’re equally effective but in different ways. Florida enters the game with one of the better run defenses nationally, ranking 36th at 142.3 yards per game. But the Gators are shredded by injuries with their top three linebackers out, plus a top safety. Iowa can take advantage of the Gators’ issues and run the football, even if it’s third-and-5.
RELATED: A two-part Q&A with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. Here is Part 1, which deals with following Hayden Fry, son Brian Ferentz’s future and almost quitting Iowa. Here is Part 2, which deals with recruiting and against who Iowa measures itself.
— Hawkeye FB Video (@hawkeyeFBvideo) December 22, 2016