Florida Football: Gators Dominate Hawkeyes 30-3 In Outback Bowl

Jan 2, 2017; Tampa , FL, USA; Florida Gators head coachJim McElwain gets dunked with gatorade after defeating Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via USA TODAY Network
Jan 2, 2017; Tampa , FL, USA; Florida Gators head coachJim McElwain gets dunked with gatorade after defeating Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via USA TODAY Network /

Florida came into this game hoping for a win for the school, the fans, and themselves. It delivered just that in a 30-3 whooping against Iowa in the Outback Bowl.

In the beginning, both Florida and Iowa started off sluggish offensively, which is what we all expected, with both these highly-rated defenses matching up against these poorly rated offenses.

The key points of the first half, though, were missed opportunities for both offenses.

Iowa picked off Austin Appleby on Florida’s first two drives and was only able to get a field goal out of it. Iowa then got down to the one yard line and got stuffed by the Gator defense. This is what hurt Iowa the most in the second half.

Florida was also victim to missed chances. After starting from their own three yard line, the Gators were able to get into field goal range, only for Appleby to get sacked, taking them out of Eddy Pineiro’s range and forcing a punt.

Late in the first half, Florida got the ball with less than a minute remaining. Despite being on Iowa’s side of the 50, Appleby was sacked to end any chance for some later points to increase the lead.

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However, the Gators also took advantage of a lot of Iowa mistakes late in the first half, and propelled them all the way to the end of the game.

Appleby, with 1:46 left in the half and the game tied 3-3, dumped a screen pass to Mark Thompson, who made five or six Hawkeyes miss tackles on his way to the only touchdown of the half. That gave Florida a late 10-3 lead. It was all the scoring Florida needed for the day, but they weren’t done yet.

After a missed field goal by Iowa opened the second half, Appleby worked the Florida offense down the field for an 80-yard drive capped off by DeAndre Goolsby catching a six-yard strike from Appleby to extend Florida’s lead to 14 points heading into the final quarter.

16 seconds into the fourth quarter, C.J. Beathard threw an interception to freshman safety Chauncey Gardner, who took it 58 yards to house, which widened the gap to 24-3. Later in the fourth, Beathard was picked off again by Gardner, which later led to a Florida field goal.

The final nail in the coffin for the Iowa offense was once again Beathard getting pressured, and again throwing an interception. This time, it was senior linebacker Daniel McMillan. This led to Florida’s final points via Pineiro kicking his third field goal of the game.

After that, both teams exchanged possessions, and ran out the clock with the Florida Gators winning 30-3 over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl.

For Florida, this wasn’t easy early on. The offense turned it over twice, which could have ended much worse, if not for a reliable defense, and nearly turned it over a third time on a Calloway fumble that was recovered out of bounds.

The play calling was questionable and the execution was worse. It wasn’t until the end of the half that Florida was able to get something going on offense. It was able to string some drives together in the second half that led to points.

Defensively, the Gators were spectacular despite not having some key players, including their top three tacklers: linebackers Jarrad Davis, Alex Anzalone, and safety Marcus Maye. They held the Hawkeyes to only three points after two early turnovers.

Then, later in the half, when the game was still tied, Florida had one of their patented goal line stands rejecting Iowa any points.

The pass rush was phenomenal all game, as Beathard had no time to make any accurate passes. Star corners Teez Tabor, and Quincy Wilson were barely mentioned in the game outside how high they might go in this years draft, which shows they had a pretty good day.

And the Florida defense didn’t allow Akrum Wadley, and LeShun Daniels Jr. to have big days. Despite a 100-yard performance from Wadley, he didn’t get in the end zone and the Gators’ run defense made timely plays to make sure he didn’t burn them.

This win was an important one for the Gators and Jim McElwain. As I have stated before, Florida needed to win this game for recruiting, to keep the fans from questioning the direction of the program.

That’s what they got.

Florida can go into the recruiting season with their minds at ease, but still have plenty of work to get done. First fill in the defensive coordinator position.

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Then, getting out and flipping prospects, as well as finishing the job on their own targets—all of which is helped by this dominating win over a credible opponent.