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DAWGS PREVIEW: CHEEZ-IT CITRUS BOWL IOWA VS TENNESSEE





The Iowa Hawkeyes (10-3) and the Tennessee Volunteers (8-4) travel to Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL to meet in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl. This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams. Tennessee holds a 2-1 advantage over the Hawkeyes with the last game being a Tennessee win on January 2, 2015, in the Tax Slayer Bowl.

 

Tennessee -6.5 O/U 36.5



 BROADCAST INFORMATION:

 

- Monday, January 1, 2024, 1:00 PM Eastern Time Kickoff on ABC

- Dave Flemming and Brock Osweiler will be on the call for ABC and Kayla Burton will be on the sideline.

- On the Iowa side the radio broadcast will be on FM 100.7 and AM 800. On the Tennessee side, the radio broadcast will be on FM 107.7 and 99.1.

 

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

 

If Iowa wins it will give the Hawkeyes 11 wins in a season for the first time since 2015. If Tennessee wins it will be the third time in the last ten seasons that the Volunteers end the season with nine wins.

 

KEY PLAYERS

 

Iowa

 


P Tory Taylor – 4,119 punting yards which led the country by 536 yards, he was also third in the nation with a punting average of 47.90 yards per punt. Taylor has been one of the most important players for the Iowa defense!

 

LB Jay Higgins – Higgins is third in the country with 155 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 INT, 1 sack 4 passes defended, 3 quarterback hurries, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries.

 

Six Iowa players have entered the transfer portal since the end of the regular season.

 

Tennessee



QB Nico Iamaleava – It’s Nico time in Tennessee! The five-star freshman will get his first collegiate start as Joe Milton announced on December 27, 2023, that he will opt out of the Citrus Bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft. Iamaleava is a dual-threat quarterback with a strong arm and has seen limited action during the regular season.

 

RB Dylan Sampson – 471 rushing yards and led the team with 7 rushing TD. With Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small both opting out of the bowl game Sampson will be the feature back for Tennessee’s potent rushing attack.

 

11 Tennessee players have entered the transfer portal since the end of the regular season.

 

KEY MATCHUPS

 

Iowa’s pass defense against the Tennessee true freshman quarterback, Nico Iamaleava. Iowa only gives up 172.2 passing yards per game, which is ninth in the country. While Tennessee averages 250.9 passing yards per game very little of that has come from Iamaleava. The Hawkeyes are tied with Tennessee for 55th in the nation with 10 interceptions. The veteran Iowa defense will look to confuse the freshman which could lead to a few turnovers.

 

Tennessee’s run game against a strong Iowa defense. The Volunteers average 202.6 rushing yards per game, 12th in the nation. Iowa’s run defense ranks 13th giving up only 102.5 rushing yards per game. Tennessee’s top two rushers, Jaylen Wright and Jabarri Small have opted out of the Citrus Bowl so the bulk of the carries will fall to sophomore Dylan Sampson, who was third in rushing but led in touchdowns.

 

PREDICTION - Citrus Bowl

 

Iowa will look to turn this game into a Big Ten West, ground-and-pound style of game. Tennessee, even with Iamaleava making his first career start, will run head coach Josh Heupel’s up-tempo offense. If the Volunteers can score early and often while creating stops on the defensive side, it may force Iowa out of their comfort zone, which will play into Tennessee’s hands. Nico starts his collegiate career off with a win, give me Tennessee winning 23-10. Take the Vols to cover and, as is the case with all Iowa games, take that under!

 

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