2021-22 BOWL LINEUP ANNOUNCED
The 2021-22 bowl lineup is set! Orlando will host the No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten) and the No. 22 Kentucky Wildcats (9-3, 5-3 SEC) in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl on January 1, while the No. 19 Clemson Tigers (9-3, 6-2 ACC) and the Iowa State Cyclones (7-5, 5-4 Big 12) square off in the Cheez-It Bowl on December 29.
Vrbo Citrus Bowl
The No. 22 Kentucky Wildcats (9-3, 5-3 SEC) and the No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten) will meet in the 2022 Vrbo Citrus Bowl. Florida Citrus Sports chairman Ken Robinson and CEO Steve Hogan announced the matchup today on behalf of the organization.
The game will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 1, at Camping World Stadium and will be televised nationally by ABC. The contest will be the first-ever meeting between the Wildcats and Hawkeyes and will also mark 75 years since the inaugural edition of the game, played on Jan. 1, 1947 on the same site.
This season’s Vrbo Citrus Bowl will be Iowa’s second appearance in the game and its first appearance since the Hawkeyes defeated LSU in 2005. The Hawkeyes victory over the Tigers came courtesy of a 56-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play that gave Iowa an incredible 30-25 win over LSU in the 59th edition of the game. The winning score was Holloway’s only touchdown during his four-year career at Iowa.
Iowa, champions of the Big Ten West Division, ranks 14th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 19.15 points per game, with a run defense that has held opponents to 113.8 rushing yards per game, good for 15th nationally. Linebackers Jack Campbell and Seth Benson lead the Hawkeyes defense with 126 and 95 total tackles, respectively, while Dane Belton anchors the secondary and is tied for second in the nation in interceptions with five.
Offensively, the Hawkeyes are paced by quarterback Spencer Petras, who threw for 1,669 yards and nine touchdowns this year while also adding five rushing touchdowns. Junior running back Tyler Goodson (1,151 yards and six touchdowns) leads the Hawkeyes rushing attack, while tight end Sam LaPorta (548 yards and two touchdowns) and wide receiver Keagan Johnson (352 yards and two touchdowns) pace the Hawkeyes receiving corps.
The Kentucky offense is led by quarterback Will Levis, who ranks in the top 50 nationally and top five in the SEC in passing yards (2,593 yards) and has 32 total touchdowns (23 passing, nine rushing) this season. Junior Chris Rodriguez is Kentucky’s top-producing running back with 1,272 yards and eight rushing scores, while Wan’Dale Robinson (1,164 yards and seven touchdowns) and Josh Ali (601 yards and three touchdowns) lead the Wildcats wideouts.
The Wildcats enter this matchup allowing an average of 22.08 points and 336.4 total yards per game on the season and have held opposing offenses to just 117.2 rushing yards per game (17th in the nation). Linebacker Jacquez Jones leads the team with 82 tackles, while fellow linebackers J.J. Weaver (34 tackles, 6.5 sacks) and DeAndre Square (75 tackles and three sacks) have also had strong seasons.
The No. 19 Clemson Tigers (9-3, 6-2 ACC) will meet the Iowa State Cyclones (7-5, 5-4 Big 12) in 2021 Cheez-It Bowl. Florida Citrus Sports chairman Ken Robinson and CEO Steve Hogan announced the matchup Sunday on behalf of the organization’s Team Selection Committee.
The 32nd edition of the game will take place at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at Camping World Stadium and will be televised nationally by ESPN.
This year’s Cheez-It Bowl will be the first meeting between the Cyclones and Tigers and just the second Orlando bowl trip for Iowa State, which returns after facing Notre Dame in the game in December 2019.
Clemson will be making its fourth appearance in the Cheez-It Bowl and its first since 2014, when the Tigers defeated Oklahoma in what was then known as the Russell Athletic Bowl. Clemson has also appeared in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl three times (1988, 1989, and 1992) and won the 2016 ACC Championship Game over Virginia Tech in Orlando.
The Tigers boast a strong defense that comes in ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 15 points per game. The Tigers’ D also leads the ACC and ranks ninth nationally in total defense, allowing just 308.4 yards of offense per game.
The Tigers defense will be tested by Iowa State senior quarterback Brock Purdy, who ranks Top 25 in the nation in passing yards (2,984), with his 153.55 passing efficiency good for 35th nationally. The Cyclones offense is also paced by its rushing attack led by Breece Hall, who leads the team with 1,472 rushing yards on the season and is tied for first in the nation with 20 rushing touchdowns. Hall also enters the game with a rushing touchdown in an NCAA record 24 straight games.
Iowa State’s defense has also been one of the nation’s stingiest, allowing just 20.6 points per game (23rd in the nation) and ranks 10th nationally in total defense, allowing just 310.3 yards of offense per game.