Iowa football's Keagan Johnson misses Citrus Bowl vs. Kentucky due to illness: 'Just unfortunate'

Adam Hensley
Hawk Central

Iowa football was without one of its top offensive playmakers for Saturday's 20-17 Citrus Bowl loss to Kentucky.

Wideout Keagan Johnson was not out on the field during pregame warmups. Shortly after, the IowaFBLive Twitter account confirmed the freshman would not play against the Wildcats.

Johnson's absence was a tough blow for a Hawkeye offense. Iowa struggled to find any sort of consistency in the passing game, and ultimately, the offense couldn't string together a scoring drive when it needed one down late.

After the game, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz explained what caused Johnson to miss the Citrus Bowl.

"Trainers got a call about 3:30 in the morning, and I have not heard a report what it is — could be kidney stones, might be an appendix, but he had a tough early morning, if you will," Ferentz said. "And as far as I know, he is doing fine, but I have not heard a final diagnosis. (Johnson is) a tremendous young guy. Just unfortunate he couldn't be here for his first bowl."

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Johnson, a true freshman out of Bellevue, Nebraska, burst onto the scene for the Hawkeyes in 2021. Johnson caught 18 passes for 352 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 19.6 yards per catch rank first among all Hawkeyes with at least six catches this season.

Read more about Iowa vs. Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl

Adam Hensley is a digital producer with the USA Today Network. You can follow him on Twitter @A_Hens83 or reach him at