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College Football: Iowa defeats Kentucky in Music City Bowl, 21-0

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - Iowa avoided losing to Kentucky in a bowl game twice in a year as the Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 21-0 in the Music City Bowl today.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Iowa avoided losing to Kentucky in a bowl game twice in a year as the Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 21-0 in the Music City Bowl today.

Iowa was able to return two interceptions for touchdowns, making the game appear more lopsided than it was.

The victory is head coach Kirk Ferentz’s 10th bowl win (eighth different bowls, Outback three times), tying Joe Paterno for the most bowl wins as a member of the Big Ten Conference.  Ferentz has a 10-9 career bowl record.

Ferentz is the 19th coach to win 10 or more bowl games in his career.


  • DB Cooper DeJean was named the TransPerfect Music City Bowl MVP after tallying seven tackles, one TFL, one pass breakup and returning a 14-yard interception for a pick six.  He also made numerous plays on special teams.
    • DeJean’s 14-yard pick six in the second quarter gave Iowa a 21-0 lead.  It was his third pick six this season.
    • The three interception returns for touchdowns sets a single season program record.
    • The three pick 6s also tie a career school record along with Tom Knight, Desmond King and Riley Moss.  
  • DB Xavier Nwankpa had a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter to give Iowa a 14-0 lead.  It is his first career interception and first career touchdown.  
    • Nwankpa also had a career-high eight tackles and one pass breakup.
  • They were Iowa’s third and fourth career pick six all-time in a bowl game along with Micah Hyde (72 yards vs. Missouri in 2010 Insight Bowl) and Nick Niemann (25 vs. USC in 2019 Holiday Bowl).
  • LB Jack Campbell finished with a game high 10 tackles, including one sack and two TFL.  It is Campbell’s eighth game this season with 10 or more stops.
    • Campbell finished the season with 128 tackles, the 23rd-most in a single season in program history.
    • He closes out his career with 305 tackles to rank 19th all-time in the record books.
  • P Tory Taylor tied an Iowa bowl record with eight punts for 386 yards (48.3 avg.). Four of his punts pinned the Wildcats inside the 10 and two at the 15.  
    • He tied Nick Gallery (1993 Alamo) and Jason Baker (1997 Sun).
    • Taylor finished the season with 82 punts for 3,766 yards – a school record yardage total.  It is the second straight year Taylor has broken the school record.
  • QB Joe Labas made his first career start and saw his first collegiate action.  He finished the game 14-of-24 for 139 yards and one touchdown – the first of his career.  He also rushed four times for 11 yards.
  • TE Luke Lachey had a 15-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter to give Iowa a 7-0 lead.  It is his fourth touchdown reception of the season (and his career).
  • TE Sam LaPorta had a team-best five receptions for 56 yards.  He finishes his career with 153 receptions for 1,786 yards, ranking first in school history in career receptions amongst tight ends and second in career receiving yards.
  • Nwankpa made his first career start at strong safety.  He is the first true freshman to start on defense since Dane Belton and Jack Campbell in 2019.  


  • Iowa posted the first shutout in TransPerfect Music City Bowl history in the 21-0 victory over Kentucky.
    • It is the team’s second shutout of the season (Nevada) – the most by the program since 2019.  
    • It is the first shutout of the 2022 bowl season and the first by a Big Ten team in a bowl game since Penn State in 1999.
    • It is the program’s second shutout all-time in a bowl game (1996 Alamo Bowl vs. Texas Tech – 26-0).
  • Iowa allowed 10 or fewer points in nine games during the 2022 season, the most for the program since 1903.
  • The Hawkeye defense allowed 185 yards against Kentucky.  It is the sixth game this season the defense has surrendered fewer than 200 yards.
  • Iowa’s defense forced its 22nd and 23rd turnovers in the game (8 fumbles, 15 interceptions).  The defense turned them into 14 points in the game.  Iowa scored 66 defensive points this season. 
  • Iowa won the toss and elected to defer; Kentucky will receive. The Hawkeyes have played 301 games under head coach Kirk Ferentz. Iowa has opened the game on offense 220 times (140-80). The Hawkeyes have opened the game on defense 81 times (46-35).


  1. Lachey touchdown reception (confirmed)


The Hawkeyes open the 2023 season, hosting Utah State on Sept. 2 at Kinnick Stadium.

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