Updated: Jan 2
The destination for Kentucky's bowl game match up has been determined. The Wildcats will face the (10 - 3) Iowa Hawkeyes in the VRBO Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida at Camping World Stadium. This is the second time the Wildcats will be playing in the Citrus Bowl under Head Coach, Mark Stoops. The last time the Wildcats played in the Citrus Bowl in 2019 they faced another Big Ten team, the Penn State Nittany Lions and won that game with the final score of 27-24.
The Citrus Bowl will be televised on ABC at 1:00 p.m. EST on New Years Day.
The Citrus Bowl is a Big Ten/SEC match up that has been going since it's inauguration in 1947, thus this year will be the 75th anniversary of the bowl game.
The Iowa Hawkeyes will definitely be a challenge for the Wildcats. The Hawkeyes are lead by seasoned Head Coach, Kirk Ferentz, who is in his 23rd year coaching the Hawkeyes and has a 178 - 108 record (62 %) and a 9 - 8 bowl game record (52%). Iowa has some pretty impressive victories this season with wins over teams such as, Iowa State, Penn State, and Nebraska. I understand that there is a huge difference in two teams strength of schedules, however, they are arguments to be made that both teams have been challenged this year. Give the Hawkeyes credit, they started the season 6 - 0 and made it all the way up to No. 2 in the AP rankings.
A couple of key Iowa players I would suggest Kentucky fans keep their eye on are:
Tyler Goodson (RB) - The Hawkeye's leading rusher has 1,151 yard rushing on 256 attempts which averages out to be 4.5 yards/rush. He has 6 rushing touchdowns on the year.
Sam LaPorta (TE) - The Hawkeye's leading receiver has 46 receptions for over 548 yards which equals out to be about 12 yards/reception. He has 2 touchdowns on the year.
The Hawkeyes, as a team, score about 24 points per game and have about 297 yards of offense per game. One thing that stood out to me in Iowa's disappointing 42 - 3 loss in the Big Ten Championship game last night against the Michigan Wolverines was their lack of an offensive line. They have given up 31 sacks on the year with 207 yards lost that's an average of 6.5 yards per sack. This opens the doors for players such as J.J. Weaver, DeAndre Square, and Josh Paschal (if he's cleared to play) to wreak havoc on Iowa's quarterback, Spencer Petras. If you need a reminder of what happened the last time Kentucky was in the Citrus Bowl let me refresh your memory.