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Outback Bowl: Gators leave Iowa banged up, frustrated

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard is hit by by defensive back Marcell Harris short of the end zone, suffering a pulled hamstring on the scramble.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard is hit by by defensive back Marcell Harris short of the end zone, suffering a pulled hamstring on the scramble.

TAMPA — This wasn't the way Iowa QB C.J. Beathard envisioned the curtains falling on his college career.

"I think frustrating is a good word to say how the day went," the fifth-year senior said.

Severely limited after pulling his hamstring during a first-quarter scramble that wound up a yard short of the end zone, Beathard watched from the sideline as backup Nathan Stanley entered late and the final three minutes ticked down on Iowa's 30-3 defeat to Florida in Monday's Outback Bowl.

Beathard, the third-winningest quarterback in Iowa history, was rocked by the Gators (9-4) for most of the afternoon. He finished just 7-of-23 passing for a season-worst 55 yards and three interceptions, with a quarterback rating lower than Florida's points (24.4 percent).

But for the team captain, who last season helped bring the Hawkeyes (8-5) within a victory of reaching the College Football Playoff, there was never a thought of exiting because of injury.

"The guys needed me in there. I'm a leader of the team," Beathard said. "At the end of the first quarter, I wasn't going to pull myself out. If I felt like I could go, then I was going to go with everything that I had."

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz commended Beathard, who was cheered by fans as he exited the home tunnel at Raymond James Stadium after the game.

"He's always going to say he's going to play," Ferentz said. "If he has a broken leg, that would be his answer. We've had a lot of tough guys come through … in my 27 years, and he's right up there at the top."

SHANNON SPARK: With defensive coordinator Geoff Collins bolting three weeks ago to become head coach at Temple, the Gators shined under Randy Shannon in the interim. The injury-riddled unit held Iowa to 226 total yards and set a program record for fewest points allowed in a bowl game.

"Nothing really changed," said S Chauncy Gardner, named the game's MVP with two interceptions. "I want to thank Coach Shannon because he preached in our ear from the jump … go out there and have fun."

NEXT MAN UP: Before Monday, Iowa CB Josh Jackson hadn't started a game since high school. But due to a pair of crippling injuries in the secondary toward the end of the regular season, the sophomore was thrust into the rotation on the national stage.

Jackson, who entered with seven tackles and four pass deflections in seven games, finished with three tackles.

"As a defense, we wanted to execute a lot better than we did," he said. "We obviously wanted to come out with the win. But other than that, I think overall, I did pretty well."

STEAK BITES: Iowa has now lost five straight bowl games with its last win coming in the 2010 Insight Bowl. … Announced attendance was 51,119, down from 53,202 for Tennessee-Northwestern last year.

Outback Bowl: Gators leave Iowa banged up, frustrated 01/02/17 [Last modified: Monday, January 2, 2017 7:28pm]
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