The Outback Bowl ended the way it started -- with LSU handing the ball to Jeremy Hill.
Hill carried the ball five times for 60 yards on the Tigers’ opening drive against a stingy Iowa defense, setting up a two-yard touchdown plunge by freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings. And when the Tigers needed to run the clock out to win the game in the fourth, Hill took four carries 87 yards, including the game-sealing 37-yard touchdown run that clinched an eventual 21-14 win.
Hill, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound sophomore, ended the day with a whopping 216 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, accounting for more than 70 percent of LSU’s total offense.
After Jennings’ touchdown opened up the scoring, both offenses were cold through most of the first half. Neither quarterback, Jennings, who made his first career start, or Iowa’s Jake Rudock, could get in a rhythm.
Early in the second quarter, Iowa finally had some success moving the ball. Rudock moved the offense to midfield and took a shot down the field, but was picked off by LSU’s Tre-Davious White at the 7-yard line. The Hawkeyes defense forced a three-and-out following the interception, but the ensuing punt was fumbled by Kevonte Martin-Manley, setting LSU up with fantastic field position inside the Iowa 40.
Seven plays later, Hill took a handoff 14 yards to put the Tigers up 14-0, a lead they held going into half time.
Things picked up a bit once the third quarter rolled around. Iowa’s first drive resulted in a missed 35-yard field goal by Mike Meyer. LSU took over and Jennings found star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. down the right sideline, who made a fantastic one-handed grab.
Beckham’s grab wouldn’t provide the spark Jennings needed however, as three plays later Jennings was intercepted by Iowa’s John Lowdermilk for a presumed Iowa touchdown – except it wasn’t. As Lowdermilk scampered into the end zone, he pulled a Desean Jackson and dropped the ball before crossing the goal line. The ball rolled into the end zone, but nobody bothered to jump on the loose ball.
Since no one from either team hopped on the live ball, Iowa was given the ball at the one-yard line. The Hawkeyes capitalized with a one-yard touchdown run from Mark Weisman to cut the deficit to 14-7.
In the fourth quarter Iowa was stopped on two fourth down attempts inside LSU territory with the chance to potentially tie the game. First, Weisman was stuffed on a fake punt on fourth-and-three from the LSU 46. On the next drive, Iowa faced a fourth-and-one from the LSU 16 and C.J. Beathard, filling in for an injured Rudock, was intercepted by Craig Loston.
The interception set the stage for Hill to run out the clock, but he went beyond that, scoring from 37 yards out on a third-and-five to seal the win.
Iowa added a late touchdown after a long kickoff return, but an onside kick attempt failed and the Tigers were able to run out the clock.
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