Following their lopsided defeat at the hands of top-ranked Alabama, the Florida Gators find themselves looking at a matchup in the Outback Bowl against Iowa.
A 24-point underdog against the Crimson Tide, the Gators marched the length of the field on their opening possession, the first touchdowngiven up by Alabama in more than 17 quarters.
Unfortuantely the three interceptions thrown by Florida QB Austin Appleby played a big role in Alabama leading 33-16 at halftime.
The Tide went on to score 21 unanswered points in the second half to cap the 54-16 romp.
After the game, Florida coach Jim McElwain said developing a quarterback would be a top priority. Appleby, a graduate transfer from Purdue, completes his eligibility this season, and the search for his replacement could begin with bowl practice.
“That’s something we’ve got to do and we’ve got to make sure it happens sooner than later,” McElwain said. “That’s my responsibility, and it will get done.”
It was the second straight lopsided loss for Florida, following a 31-13 loss to Florida State to close the regular season. McElwain said it will be crucial to end that streak in the bowl game.
“One thing I do know, we’ve got to go to win this bowl game,” he said. “We’re going to put a plan together and get the players out there to go play that and go win a game.”
No. 17 Florida (8-4, SEC) vs. Iowa (8-4, Big Ten), Jan. 2, 1 p.m.
LOCATION, Tampa. Fla.
Florida: RB Jordan Scarlett, 795 rushing yards, six touchdowns.
Iowa: RBs LeShun Daniels Jr. and Akrum Wadley, combined 1,979 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns.
Florida: The Gators were 6-1 in September and October, and after injuries started piling up finished 2-3 but still reached the SEC title game.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes give up 353 yards per game, but allow only 17.92 points per game — the same scoring average given up by Florida this season.
Florida 31, Iowa 24 (Jan. 2, 2006)
Florida: Fifth time in the Outback Bowl, 43rd bowl game overall.
Iowa: Fifth time in the Outback Bowl, 30th bowl game overall.