Nashville – The Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5) will return to the soccer field for the first time in 36 days as they face Kentucky (7-5) in the Music City Bowl game (11 a.m. ABC) on Saturday.
But the team they run into is very different from the one they spent most of the regular season on.
This is after nine players have moved on, including starters Arland Bruce IV, Keegan Johnson and Justin Jacobs.
In addition to these departures, Star Safety’s Kavon Merriweather announced his decision to declare the 2023 NFL Draft, after which he opted out of bowl games.
Losing so many familiar players can be daunting, but it has allowed some younger players to get more reps.
A prime example is redshirt freshman Joe Lavas, who starts his first career at quarterback. His 2021 Recruit for the Hawkeyes A member of his class, Lavas is his three-star recruit from Ohio, where his high school team will reach the state playoffs in his junior and senior season. helped
Freshman safety Xavier Nwankupa and defensive lineman Aaron Graves are also expected to be key personnel.
Check back regularly as we will be updating and analyzing here before, during and after the game.
3:44/Q2 – Jack Campbell wreaks havoc
Their excitement was short-lived after Kentucky picked up the first first down of the quarter, after star linebacker Jack Campbell hawked down Destin Wade for the first sack of the night.
The Wildcats eventually punted, and after a kick-catch interference by them, Iowa would start the next drive at their own 42-yard line.
7:30/Q2 – Tory Taylor back out
Iowa’s latest 3-and-out sees Tory Taylor make his third punt of the night.
9:08/Q2 – Kentucky offense can’t handle
A score was needed to get out of the 14-0 hole, but the Wildcats fell short and were forced to punt for the fifth time tonight.
Iowa starts at its own 19-yard line.
11:57/Q2 – Hello Xavier Nwampa!
Getting off to a young career start, true freshman safety Xavier Nwankpa takes pick 6 on the first play of Kentucky’s latest drive.
A 52-yard return from Drew Stevens and the subsequent kick after the point gave Iowa their second touchdown in 11 seconds.
12:08/Q2 – Iowa finds the end zone for the first time tonight
Taking full advantage of their excellent field position from a Kentucky punt, Iowa needed just two plays to score their first points of the night.
Both were passes from Lavas who first hit Sam Laporta for a 27-yard gain and then followed up with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Luke Lachey.
The Hawkeyes are leading 7-0.
End of first quarter
Both defenses show slightly bent, but not broken, so the score remains 0-0.
Safety Sebastian Castro is having a good game, already making two tackles and two pass breakups.
With Joey Lavas back, the rest of the offense face 3rd and 7th at Kentucky’s 45-yard line.
0:44/Q1 – Kentucky three-and-out
On the bright side, the Wildcats avoided giving up safety, but had to punt the ball after just three plays.
2:59/Q1 – Iowa punts for the first time tonight
Despite starting in great field position, the Hawkeyes went three-and-out, leading to a punt from Tory Taylor.
But Taylor’s big leg sends the ball inside Kentucky’s 5-yard line before Dejan can bring it down at the 2-yard line.
The Hawkeyes defense has a chance to secure the first safety of the game.
5:14/Q1 – Iowa defense still stingy
After allowing a first down, the Hawkeyes defense strengthened again, forcing Kentucky to make another punt.
Castro got off to a great start breaking a deep pass from Wade for the second time that night.
Iowa’s special teams also made a big play after repeater Cooper Dejan took the ball to their own 40-yard line on a 34-yard return.
8:48/Q1 – Joey Lavas shows promise on first drive
Early earnings for Labas are good after an initial strong display. He completed his 3-4 passes for his 37 yards and delivered the ball to his catcher on three different passes. He also rushed 3 yards.
His big pass and a 6-yard run from Nico Ragaini took the Hawkeyes all the way to the Wildcats’ 33-yard line.
Facing 4 and 2, Kentucky’s defense stepped up, splitting passes to force turnovers on downs.
12:38/Q1 – Iowa defense forces punt
Kentucky punts on his first offensive drive of the day despite some early advances from Wade. We made two big defensive plays from the defense.
The first was lost with a key tackle by John Wagoner, then on the next play Sebastian Castro broke a pass.
Hawkeye’s defense team goes out on the field first
Iowa won the coin toss and postponed until the second half. Kentucky’s offense, led by freshman quarterback Destin Wade, gets the ball first today. After the touchback, start at his 25-yard line in his own half.
Captain of Iowa
Predicted Iowa Offensive Line Combinations Before Game
For pre-match insights, check out Hawk Central’s Chad Leistikow and Kennington Smith stories.