Iowa football heading to Citrus Bowl for Hawkeyes' first trip to Orlando since 2005

Iowa football's last trip to Orlando for a bowl game produced one of the program's all-time great moments. A 56-yard touchdown pass from Drew Tate to Warren Holloway as time expired gave the Hawkeyes the win in the 2005 Capital One Bowl over a Nick Saban-coached LSU team.

Sixteen years later, the game's name has changed to the Vrbo Citrus Bowl and have invited Iowa back for another New Years Day showdown with an SEC opponent. Iowa will play Kentucky on Jan. 1, 2022. 

Iowa's season ended on a sour note Saturday night, losing 42-3 to Michigan in the Big Ten championship game but still get the Big Ten's second-highest bowl affiliation outside of the College Football Playoff (which included Michigan). At one point, the Hawkeyes were ranked No. 2 in the country, that momentum didn't carry through the entire season but the Hawkeyes recorded 10 regular season wins for only the fourth time in Kirk Ferentz's tenure. 

More:Iowa football is heading to the Citrus Bowl. Here's how to get there and what to do in Orlando

Mark Stoops' Kentucky will present a tough challenge for the Hawkeyes. Kentucky finished with a 9-3 regular season record, good enough for fourth in the conference. Stoops played for Hayden Fry at Iowa in the late 1980s. 

History hasn't been on Iowa's side against SEC opponents recently. The Hawkeyes have lost four of their five games against SEC foes, all in bowl games. They won their last SEC matchup, 27-22 over Mississippi State in the 2019 Outback Bowl. 

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Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at