Outback Bowl: Florida 30, Iowa 3, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?

Outback Bowl: Florida 30, Iowa 3, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?

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Outback Bowl: Florida 30, Iowa 3, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?


Outback Bowl: Florida 30, Iowa 3, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?

Florida destroyed Iowa 30-3 in the Outback Bowl. What are the five things that matter, and what’s next for 2017?

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Iowa actually ran okay, but …

That’s the only thing that went well.

Akrum Wadley ran for 115 yards, and LeShun Daniels ran 15 times for an okay 45 yards, but that’s it. The Hawkeyes were able to keep the game from getting out of hand early thanks to Wadley, but then bad things happened when C.J. Beathard had to try throwing against the Florida secondary. He’s got NFL size, the arm, and the mobility, but he doesn’t have the receivers, completing just 7-of-23 passes for 55 yards and three picks.

The Florida defense was the real deal all season long

The offense was almost always an issue, but the defense fought through injuries, along with the lack of support from the mediocre attack, to at least get to the SEC title game. And now the Gators won nine games and an Outback Bowl, mostly because the D never let Iowa breathe.

Chauncey Gardner got the two picks, but this was a brilliant all-around Gator defensive effort in the secondary. There wasn’t anywhere for the mediocre Iowa receivers to go, and there weren’t any easy plays for Beathard to make. The line generated just enough pressure to help, but this was a win for the entire D.

The Florida offense did just enough

Austin Appleby gave up two picks, but he threw for 222 yards and overcame a rough day from the line. The Iowa defensive front was able to do enough to keep the team in the game – as expected – allowing just one big run from Jordan Scarlett, and nothing else. Florida got the 85-yard catch-and-run from Mark Thompson, Iowa didn’t get anything offensively at any point to counter, and what really was a tight defensive battle will forever be known as a brutally ugly 30-3 blowout. Soon, though, under Jim McElwain, Florida has to start winning because of the offense.

What’s next for Florida in 2017?

Is Luke Del Rio really going to be the starting quarterback, or is this Feleipe Franks’ time? Or, could Kyle Trask step up and find his way into the role? The Gator running game should be fantastic with the entire backfield returning, while Antonio Callaway and the receiving corps will at least be experienced, even if it needs to come up with more playmakers. The line should be dominant with four starters back, and potentially all five if left tackle David Sharpe returns.

The defense might lose more stars to the NFL – Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson are too good not to start in the big leagues – middle linebacker Jarrad Davis and nose tackle Joey Ivey are gone, but almost all of the other parts are back. The secondary needs the most early help, but any issues on D should be made up for with a stronger O.

What’s next for Iowa in 2017?

QB C.J. Beathard is done, with Nate Stanley and Tyler Wiegers likely battling for the job this spring. They need more explosiveness out of the receivers, but the experience will be there. Akrum Wadley will handle the rushing work behind a strong line returning four starters and only losing Cole Croston at right tackle.

The defense should be fine, even with Jaleel Johnson gone from the interior along with Faith Ekakitie gone. Star corner Desmond King is done along with safety Anthony Gair, but the linebacking corps should be fantastic starting Josey Jewell on the inside and Ben Niemann outside. The ends Matt Nelson and Parker Hesse are a good place to start up front, but the tackle rotation is the early concern.


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