Iowa Records First Music City Bowl Shoutout Over Kentucky – The Chattanoogan

photo by Chris Bumpus
photo by Chris Bumpus
photo by Chris Bumpus
photo by Chris Bumpus
The Iowa Hawkeyes accomplished something Saturday never done in the 25-year history of the TransPerfect Music City Bowl – record a shutout.
Their 21-0 rout of the Kentucky Wildcats avenged a narrow loss to the same opponent in last year’s Citrus Bowl and improved their record to 8-5. Kentucky finishes the year at 7-6.
Iowa’s defense smothered Kentucky all day and accounted for two interception returns for touchdowns.
“We’ve ridden our defense all season long,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said afterwards.
“Obviously, I’m happy for our team. They did a great job.”
Both teams were led by freshmen quarterbacks making their first career starts.
Iowa’s Joe Labas completed 14 of 24 passes for 139 yards. Kentucky freshman Destin Wade finished 16-of-30 for 98 yards and two interceptions. Wade started in the absence of veteran leader Will Levis, who opted out to await the NFL draft.
“Destin was put in a tough situation today,” stated Kentucky coach Mark Stoops. “A lot of armchair quarterbacks will want to critique this guy, but I’ll tell you right now, let them play against that defense and see how easy it is.”
Hawkeyes punter Tory Taylor pinned the Wildcats inside their 10-yard-line on multiple kicks. His efforts were instrumental in keeping Kentucky bottled up in its end of the field all day.
“He’s been outstanding. I don’t know if I’ve seen him sharper than he was today,” Ferentz noted.
A Taylor punt early in the second quarter forced Kentucky to begin play at its own 2. From there, the Wildcats went three-and-out.
That gave Iowa starting field possession at the Kentucky 43. In just two plays, Labas hit Sam LaPorta on a 28-yard pass over the middle, and Luke Lachey for a 15-yard touchdown along the left sideline.
Lachey caught the ball at about the five, shrugged off a Kentucky defender, then dove airborne across the goal line.
Eight seconds of game clock later, Iowa true freshman safety Xavier Nwankpa returned a Wade interception 52 yards for another score.
Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean made another pick-six just before halftime to provide the final points of the game.
Vegas odds maker had set an over/under of 31 points before the game, making it the lowest such line in bowl history.
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