No. 18 Mississippi State falls in Outback Bowl to Iowa

By  | 

TAMPA, Fla. -- Despite outgaining Iowa by over 140 yards, Mississippi State couldn't overcome costly turnovers in its 27-22 loss in the 2019 Outback Bowl.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over three times on Tuesday, all three resulting in points for the Hawkeyes on the ensuing drive. Nick Fitzgerald threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball once in his final game at Mississippi State. He finished with 252 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.

Mississippi State's "D-Block" front seven held the Iowa rushing attack in check all day, holding the Hawkeyes to negative rushing yards on 10 carries. Only one Iowa player ran for positive yardage.

This story will be updated.

====

(AP)

COSTLY INFRACTIONS

The Bulldogs had 90 yards in penalties while Iowa had none. Targeting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Mississippi State jump-started the Hawkeyes' offense and led to a field goal for their first score. A 51-yard completion for the Bulldogs was negated by a holding penalty.

IOWA'S QUICK STRIKES

The Bulldogs, who allowed only 12 touchdowns in the regular season, gave up two in quick succession in the second quarter.

First Easley slipped several yards behind the secondary to catch Stanley's long throw in stride. The touchdown pass was the 50th of Stanley's career -- and his longest. It was the longest play allowed by the Bulldogs this season.

Two snaps later, A.J. Epenesa's strip sack of Fitzgerald gave the Hawkeyes the ball at the 13, and they scored on Ihmir Smith-Marsette's touchdown catch for a 17-6 lead. The fumble lost was Fitzgerald's first in 511 carries.

TAKEAWAYS

Iowa will likely finish in the Top 25 for only the second time in the past nine seasons. Coach Kirk Ferentz concluded his 20th season at Iowa and improved to 152-101, including 8-8 in bowl games.

The down-to-the-wire finish was a rarity for the Bulldogs, who had only one other game decided by fewer than 14 points.

UP NEXT

Stanley will be a third-year starter returning to lead the 2019 Hawkeyes, who also will have their top three rushers back. They open the season Aug. 31 at home against Miami (Ohio).

With fifth-year senior Fitzgerald departing, the Bulldogs will have a new starting quarterback -- possibly Thompson -- when they open the 2019 season Aug. 31 in New Orleans against Louisiana.