That was hard to watch.
For the fifth straight season, Iowa was embarrassed in a bowl game. This year, Florida supplied the whooping, prevailing 30-3. C.J. Beathard was injured early but still played nearly the entire game, and his stat line reflected it: 7-for-23 passing for 55 yards and three interceptions. Akrum Wadley rushed for a game-high 115 yards on 22 carries; he was the lone bright spot for the Iowa offense.
Beathard's injury turned out to be the turning point in the game. On 3rd and goal, he scrambled for the end zone, but was hit and twisted at the 3, injuring his hamstring. Officials ruled Beathard down short of the goal line (it was a good call), and LeShun Daniels was crushed on the utterly predictable 4th and goal run. Beathard came up favoring his leg, and received treatment on the sidelines immediately afterward and during halftime. He spent most of the second half waving off trainers.
We've seen a lot of bad Iowa football over the years. The second half might rival it all. Iowa was utterly crushed by the Gators, who weren't even playing all that well. The defense did the best it could, but the offense was an active disaster. Beathard was immobile and had no business staying in the game; Kirk Ferentz left him in until three minutes were left.
Iowa started the third quarter with a sustained drive to the red zone, but went super-conservative on its last series and ended up missing a chip shot field goal. Florida responded with an 80-yard touchdown drive, and the floodgates were open. From there, Iowa's second half went as such:
- Pick-Six (17 yards)
- Punt (-1 yard)
- Interception (10 yards)
- Interception (26 yards)
- Punt (0 yards)
- Punt (7 yards)
That is flat-out terrible, and it's what you'd expect from a quarterback with an injured hamstring and the conference's worst receiving corps to throw to.
This is Iowa's fifth straight bowl loss, and by and large they haven't been close. When teams get a full month to prepare for a Greg Davis offense, it's basically unfair; it's like giving an architect six hours to complete a Duplo house.
Not only is Iowa 0-4 in bowls with Greg Davis, but his offense hasn't broken 7 points in the first three quarters of all four of them.— Vladimir Pattin' (@PV_GIA) January 2, 2017
People will be talking about the decision to leave Beathard in for the 4th quarter for a long time. They should. It was inexcusable. Even if Beathard wants to stay out there, it has to be obvious that the game wasn't competitive and that Beathard wasn't capable of playing his position any longer. Nathan Stanley would have benefited from taking on some high-level competition; instead he just got three plays in the shadow of his own goalposts, plus an awesome view from the sideline of Beathard's three second-half interceptions.
That was bad. That was bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Kudos to the seniors for an eight-win season; they played their guts out. But Iowa clearly needs to get a lot better before it's ready to sit at the big kids' table again.