Iowa Hawkeyes Football Bowl Destination is Now Official
The speculation about where the 2022 Iowa Hawkeyes football team will play its bowl game is behind us. Iowa will play an SEC team later this month.
The 7-5 Hawkeyes will be in one of two bowl games that aren't part of the College Football Playoff on New Year's Eve Day. Before #3 TCU plays #2 Michigan, followed by #4 Ohio State against #1 Georgia, there will be a pair of other games during the day.
At 11 am, #5 Alabama will play #9 Kansas State on ESPN. At that same time, the Hawkeyes will appear on ABC in the Music City Bowl in Nashville. It will be Iowa's 20th appearance in a bowl game under head coach Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa, who has never appeared in the Music City Bowl previously, was supposed to play Missouri in that game in 2020. However, a COVID-19 outbreak in the Tigers program forced that game's cancellation.
In 2022, Iowa will be taking on the Kentucky Wildcats (7-5) from the Southeastern Conference. Yes, that's the same team that beat Iowa 20-17 in the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2022. The Hawks will get a rematch 364 days later, against the team coached by former Hawkeye Mark Stoops.
The Hawkeyes have lost quarterback Alex Padilla, running back Gavin Williams, and wide receivers Arland Bruce IV and Keagan Johnson to the transfer portal since losing to Nebraska inside Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City nine days ago.
Quarterback Spencer Petras was injured in the game against the Cornhuskers and didn't return. Ferentz announced today that Petras' injury required surgery and that he will not be able to play in the bowl game. That means one of two freshmen quarterbacks, Joe Labas or Carson May, will get the start. Neither has taken a snap as a Hawkeye.
Ferentz indicated he doesn't believe injuries will keep anyone else out. That apparently means Iowa's top tight end Sam LaPorta, will be ready for the bowl game. Still, it could be the Kaleb Johnson (#2 in photo above) show. Iowa's stout defense will need to have another great day for Iowa to have a chance.