First screening report: British football vs Iowa at Citrus Bowl

A look at how Kentucky’s No.22 appeared in the VRBO Citrus Bowl vs.Iowa’s No.15:

The adversary

The Kentucky No.22 (9-3, 5-3 SEC) will face the Iowa No.15 (10-3, 7-3 Big Ten) at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

The Citrus Bowl will begin at 1 p.m. on January 1, 2022 and will be broadcast by ABC.

Iowa was beaten 42-3 by No. 2 Michigan in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship game.

Some of the Hawkeyes’ wins under coach Kirk Ferentz in 2021 include wins over ranked enemies (at game time) No.17 Indiana (34-6), No.9 Iowa State. (27-17) and No. 4 Penn State (23-20).

In addition to the loss to Michigan, Iowa’s losses came at home to Purdue (24-7) and Wisconsin (27-7) in back-to-back games on October 16 and 30.

Series history

The teams never played.

Bowls stories

Kentucky is 11-9 all-time in bowl games and will make an academic record, a sixth straight playoff appearance.

The UK will also be looking for their fourth straight bowl victory, having beaten No.12 Penn State 27-24 in the Citrus Bowl following the 2018 season; Virginia Tech 37-30 in 2019 Belk Bowl; and North Carolina State No.23 23-21 in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl that followed the 2020 season.

Last season AJ Rose ran for 148 yards; Christopher Rodriguez ran for 84 yards and two touchdowns; and the British defense intercepted three assists as the Cats outlasted NC State.

Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops is 3-2 in bowl games and has won three straight games.

Iowa has 17-15-1 all-time in the bowls and also won three straight playoff games. The Hawkeyes’ most recent bowl appearance came in the 2019 Holiday Bowl, a 49-24 win over USC.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is 9-8 in boules.

Know your enemy

1. Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops runs into his old school. Following in the footsteps of older brothers Bob and Mike, Stoops played the defensive back for Coach Hayden Fry in Iowa from 1986 to 1988.

According to, Mark Stoops made 69 tackles and three interceptions during his career, which derailed in 1988 with a serious knee injury.

From 1989 to 1991, Stoops was a graduate assistant coach at Iowa.

Mark Stoops made 69 tackles with three interceptions during his career (1986-88) as a defensive back for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

2. On paper, a Kentucky-Iowa clash looks likely to be decided by turnovers. Hawkeyes tied for third in nation in sales margin at plus-13.

Iowa intercepted 24 passes and recovered five fumbles as they lost eight fumbles and threw eight picks.

Conversely, the UK is tied for 128th (out of 130 FBS teams) in the country in terms of revenue margin at minus-13.

Kentucky threw 12 interceptions and lost 10 fumbles while intercepting just six shots and recovering just three fumbles.

3. British quarterback Will Levis, a transfer from Penn State, made one of his two career debuts for the Nittany Lions on November 20 – against Iowa.

Levis completed 13 of 16 passes for 106 yards and ran 15 times for 34 rushing yards in the first half.

However, PSU was trailing Iowa 24-7 at halftime, and Penn State coach James Franklin reinserted regular starter Sean Clifford in the third quarter in what became a 41-21 road victory for the Hawkeyes.

This story was originally published 5 December 2021 3:38 pm.

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Mark Story has worked in the sports department of the Lexington Herald-Leader since August 27, 1990 and has been the Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK- basketball. U of L. match but three since 1996-97 and each Kentucky Derby since 1994.
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Amanda J. Marsh