The defense is the heart and soul of this year’s Iowa Hawkeyes team that doubled their win total from last year’s 4-8 season. Iowa will try to use their defensive strength to knock off the 16th ranked LSU Tigers and pick up their 9th win in the Outback Bowl.
Iowa has an underrated defense. They have been extremely sound defensively year this season and received little attention for doing so. The Hawkeyes have allowed an average of 18.8 points per game this year, 11th best in the country. Opposing offenses have trouble getting anything going. Iowa only gave up an average of 303.2 yards a game, the seventh best total in the nation.
The Iowa defense is led by their elite group of linebackers Anthony Hitchens, James Morris and Christian Kirksey are all ranked in the top ten for tackle leaders in the Big Ten. Hitchens leads the conference with 124 tackles and Morris is third with 113.
Iowa’s defense will try to take advantage of playing an inexperienced quarterback in Anthony Jennings who will be starting in place of an injured Zach Mettenberger.
LSU is favored by a touchdown in the game, so Iowa’s best chance to pull off the upset is to pressure Jennings into poor decisions and hurried throws.
Their defense has been stout for much of the year, but can they stand up to the challenge that the LSU offense presents?