Nate Stanley threw three touchdown passes Tuesday and Jake Gervase came up with a key interception as Iowa upset No. 18 Mississippi State 27-22 in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Stanley, who completed 21 of 31 attempts for 214 yards with an interception, was the Hawkeyes’ entire offense. Their running game was completely shut down, going backwards for minus-15 yards on 20 carries. Iowa (9-4) managed just 199 total yards and went 1 of 11 on third-down conversions.
But it was enough to subdue the Bulldogs (8-5), who at times were their worst enemy as they made a barrage of mistakes. Mississippi State was penalized eight times for 90 yards — the Hawkeyes weren’t flagged all day — and also committed three turnovers.
The biggest turnover came with just under nine minutes left remaining. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald hit Stephen Guidry right in the hands on a post pattern about 3 yards deep in the end zone for a potential go-ahead score.
But Guidry bobbled the ball right into the arms of Gervase, whose 28-yard return set the stage for a drive that led to a 40-yard field goal by Miguel Recinos with 5:51 left.
The Bulldogs’ last drive ended with 25 seconds remaining as a fourth-and-5 pass from Fitzgerald over the middle was knocked away from Farrod Green by Gervase.
Fitzgerald hit just 14 of 32 passes for 152 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, but rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Iowa led 17-6 at halftime after a 17-point second quarter. Stanley hit Nick Easley, who caught eight passes for 104 yards and two scores, on a 75-yard scoring strike, and found Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a 15-yard touchdown two plays after a turnover.
Mississippi State took a 19-17 edge with two touchdowns in 18 seconds early in the third quarter. Fitzgerald lobbed a 1-yard scoring strike to Kylin Hill, then ran 33 yards on the first play after the Hawkeyes fumbled on the kickoff.
Stanley and Easley hooked up for an 8-yard touchdown with 1:55 left in the third to give the Hawkeyes the lead for good.
–Field Level Media